How To Use Poker Tracker to Help Shore Up Poker Leaks

Poker Tracker is a software application used to track your statistics, play tendencies, and opponent's play over your online poker career. It can be found at PokerTracker, and every serious professional player uses it to help monitor his play. It is also highly recommended that you download a Heads-Up Display, such as PokerAce, to project your Poker Tracker stats directly on your poker client window, allowing you access to pertinent information while you play.  You'll probably also want to check out Play Online Poker as a Business if you're serious about bringing money in from your online poker games.

One of Poker Tracker's most powerful features is its huge database of your play. By looking at statistics of your tendencies, you can identify leaks in your play that you need to shore up to become a better player. Remember that the more hands you play, the closer you will be to finding your "true" statistics. Most professionals recommend playing at least 20,000 hands before you take your statistics very seriously, as smaller databases will often reflect too much statistical variance.

  1. Examine your Voluntarily Put $ Into the Pot %. This statistic is how often you put money into the pot when you have nothing in the pot so far. In general, you only want to be playing hands when they'll make you money in the long term. Only some of the possible starting hands are profitable, so you'll be folding much more often than calling or raising. In general, a VP$IP% of 16-24% is considered reasonable, with 16% being incredibly tight, and 24% being somewhat loose.
  2. Examine how often you raise before the flop. Raising pre-flop gives you a few advantages. First, it gets opponents to fold. No matter what cards they fold, your odds of winning the hand increase. It may even force a better hand to fold, in which case you've made a major upset. Raising also usually clears out opponents in front of you, giving you superior position for the rest of the hand. In general, raising between 9% and 13% of the time is reasonable. A percentage below that is too meek, and a percentage above that is too reckless.
  3. Look at your aggression factor. Your aggression factor is calculated by (Raise % + Bet %) / (Call %), which means an aggression factor of 1.00 means you Raise or Bet as often as you Call. In general, an aggression level between 2.0 and 2.5 is considered quite aggressive. Being overly aggressive makes you too predictable, and you'll get check-raised a lot more often than you'd like. A low aggression factor means you are a passive player, and are probably not making the most out of every hand.
  4. Review your hands. Poker Tracker lets you replay all your hands in a small display, allowing you to check your hands for mistakes. Make sure that every time you called a bet, you had the correct odds. If you lost to a draw, see if there was any time you could've raised to force your opponent to call without favorable odds. If you won a hand, see if you could've extracted extra bets from a loose opponent.
  5. Export your database. Have another player review a session's worth of hands (utilities -> export hand histories). Often, another player will be able to find mistakes you don't notice, and you can immediately fix them by playing correctly during your next session. Remember, poker is a game about making the right decisions. Making small but constant mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars each year!


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