The Tsunami

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Software to Help Your Game

A few different types of software can help you with your game: hand simulators, player tracking software, and Nash jam/fold calculators.


Hand Simulators


A hand simulator takes hand match-ups as its inputs and spits out the winning percentages for each hand. Some hand simulators only work with match-ups between individual hands, but the best ones work with match-ups between hand distributions. Use hand simulators away from the tables to help you learn the numbers, and use them while you play online to make the most informed decisions possible. My hand simulator of choice is Poker Stove.



Nash Jam/Fold Calculators


Nash jam/fold calculators find optimal play assuming that everybody at the table is playing jam/fold poker preflop (i.e. players are either going all-in or folding). Knowing optimal jam/fold play is essential if you want to be successful at tournaments. Knowing optimal jam/fold play is also essential for cash games if you want to become a successful shortstacker or effectively combat shortstackers. Knowing optimal jam/fold play also helps in situations when action isn’t jam/fold. For example, the optimal calling range in response to a shove to 40 big blinds is probably close to the range of hands you should be willing to 4-bet jam.


My Nash jam/fold calculator of choice is the one at HoldemResources.net. Input blinds, antes, payouts, and stacks, and this calculator spits out jamming, calling, and overcalling ranges for every player. However, there are a few important points to be made:


1.) To perform pure chip EV (cEV) calculations, you should set the payout structure to 1


2.) When the payout structure is something other than 1, the calculator uses a mathematical model known as independent chip modeling (ICM). Though ICM-based calculations are useful for getting an initial idea of approximate ranges, ICM has a few flaws. In other words, don’t blindly play as the calculator suggests.


3.) When the payout structure is 1 and the calculator is performing pure cEV calculations, some adjustments are still necessary. If you’re interested in refining your jam/fold play to the point where it’s nearly perfect, your best resource is PokerPwnage.com. There, you can find my jam/fold cheat sheets along with videos explaining all the necessary refinements to the ranges suggested by the Nash jam/fold calculator at HoldemResources.net.



Player Tracking Software


Player tracking software logs data on your opponents, calculates mounds of useful statistics, and overlays your opponents’ statistics on your tables in real time. Additionally, player tracking software is useful for deeply analyzing your own game and plugging any leaks you might have. The two best player tracking software packages available are Poker Tracker 3 and Hold’em Manager. I prefer Poker Tracker 3, but both pieces of software are high quality. Use the trial versions of both to see which one you prefer.


The best online players use player tracking software, so you should as well. It’s essential if you want to multitable, and even if you only play one table at a time, it’s nice to have a backup in case you miss some important pieces of information.


Take Advantage of Every Edge You Can Get


Poker is a game that favors those with the best information. By not taking advantage of the software referenced in this article, you’re yielding an advantage to those who do. Deal yourself an edge, and begin using these pieces of software today. In fact, don’t just use them, but study them so you can maximize their effectiveness. And in the interest of staying ahead of the curve, be on the lookout for other types of software that may become available in the future.



  



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