For those of you who don’t know what datamining is, it’s the practice of getting hand histories from games you haven’t played in. Basically, you go to a website, purchase text hand histories, and then import them into Poker Tracker 3 (PT3) or Hold’em Manager (HEM). To my knowledge, some of the top websites providing mined hand histories are:
(I’ve never purchased mined hand histories, so I can’t give any recommendations based off of personal experience if you’re looking to purchased minded hand histories)
Though I’ve never used mined histories, the advantages of using datamined hands is obvious: it’s possible to have statistics on your opponents as soon as you sit at a table. Unfortunately, datamining is just one more hurdle for inexperienced and uneducated players to overcome. Datamining is ultimately bad for online poker, and as expected, using datamined hand histories is against the terms and service of most online poker rooms.
Making a rule is one thing; enforcing it is an entirely different issue altogether. Not all serious cash game players use datamined hands; however, those who do use mined hands know that there’s no way of being detected short of them being stupid by posting something in a blog or a forum along the lines of, “my user name at PokerStars is XXXXX and I have 10,000,000 mined hand histories in my PT3 database,” and getting reported to customer service by a snitch.
Even if you were to play on a site that took screenshots, a HUD display consisting entirely of numbers (like mine), would make it impossible for an online poker room to know whether you’re using datamined hand histories in your database. But suppose you were really paranoid. You could download hands to a separate computer running a separate installation of PT3/HEM. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to use this data in your HUD. However, this information would still be extremely valuable. Suppose your mined hand histories contained 100,000 hands played from a top player (by top player, I mean someone who has a solid win rate of a large sample of hands…not some overrated, big-named poker celebrity). Do you think you could learn anything by having this player’s hands in your PT3/HEM database? Of course!
At Poker Table Ratings, you can purchase 2,000,000 hands of $2-$4 no-limit hold’em for $192 and 2,000,000 hands of $3-$6 no-limit hold’em for $272. Presumably, the 2,000,000 hands for each level would be the most recent played at that level. Suppose you were to purchase these 4,000,000 hands. How many of them would feature nanonoko? (If you don’t know who nanonoko is, he’s won about $1.5M over the approximately 3.5M hands of medium-high stakes 6-max no-limit hold’em cash game hands he’s played at PokerStars over the past 2ish years…he’s definitely one of today’s top 6-max no-limit hold’em cash game players)
Without having purchased the hand histories, I feel confident in saying that you’d have big enough chunk of hands from nanonoko to study (in addition to hands from other highly successful regulars, whom you can find simply by sorting your database of mined hand histories with respect to amount won and looking for players with winrates over 2PTBB/100 over a span of 50K+ hands). With a nice chunk of hands to study, you can start looking at things like raise first in percentage as a function of position. You can look at 3-betting tendencies from each position. You can look at flop continuation bet percentages. You can apply sophisticated filters and see how top players play as a function of various boards. Even though you won’t always have hole card data, just studying frequencies of actions in various situations can be extremely educational.
As long as you have the discipline and the knowledge required to perform detailed analysis on PT3/HEM statistics, the $464 you’d spend on 4,000,000 hand histories from 6-max $2-$4 and $3-$6 no-limit hold’em on PokerStars is probably the best money you could spend on your poker education if you’re serious about becoming a cash game player! This statement may make me a lightning rod of controversy, but so be it. I’m all about educating the masses, and I’m all about covering all possible angles. As controversial as this advice is, I honestly can’t think of a better way to study the game.
May Your EV Always Be Positive!