"If you are not getting better, you are getting left behind."
- Alan Armstrong
In order to improve your tournament poker game, you'll eventually need to invest in some software tools.
Finding the best tools to do exactly what you need can be expensive and time consuming.
Over the years I've tried almost all the available poker software specific to MTTs and I noticed I was spending a small fortune on some that I really didn't need at all.
Recently, I've reduced my toolkit to just a few essential pieces to keep my study, training and coaching both efficient and streamlined.
Here are 5 of my favourite tools, and how much they cost.
1. My tracking software: PokerTracker 4
I briefly flirted with the idea of using Holdem Manager a few years ago, but I eventually realised that I will always be a PokerTracker user.
I love how easy it is to analyse my stats and run filters and reports to home in on specific leaks and areas where I'm struggling.
I also like how straightforward it is to mark hands for later review and how much I can customise the HUD (Heads-Up Display).
Not all sites allow tracking software in real-time, i.e. using a HUD, but some do allow you to download hand histories after the fact. Here's how:
I make a habit of downloading my hand histories from these sites and importing them into PokerTracker every Monday morning.
Price: $64.99 for small stakes, $99.99 for all stakes.
In my Train & Play Like The Pros programme, I teach how to use your tracker to quickly identify your biggest leaks so you know exactly what to work on straightaway. I also show you how to filter for specific spots so you can focus on fixing those leaks.
2. My preflop solver: Holdem Resources Calculator
I hate pre-solved solutions.
I find them frustrating when the stack sizes and positions of those stacks aren't quite right or the player who opened has the wrong sized bounty, and that plays a big part in the responses and strategies for each player.
To that end I like to run my own preflop solutions whenever I have specific questions about a spot.
I love Holdem Resources Calculator (HRC) for this.
It helps me understand the ICM implications of different stages of the tournament and learn baseline strategies for lots of different preflop spots.
Learning and studying these equilibrium solutions is key regardless of which side of the GTO vs Exploit fence you sit on. By starting with a baseline, you can see where your less studied opponents are deviating and make adjustments.
I've also used Simple Preflop Holdem and MonkerSolver for preflop solutions, but I don't think either of them compare to HRC in ease of use.
Price: $14.99/month for HRC Classic, $39.99/month for HRC Pro. Annual subscriptions are also available.
Use this link for 10% off. Disclaimer: if you choose to my affiliate link, I do receive a little kickback.
3. My postflop solver: PIOSolver
I'm also not a huge fan of pre-solved postflop solutions, mainly because they have way too many bet sizes for any human to implement.
I like to run my own postflop sims with PIOSolver so I can choose the bet sizes and raise sizes I actually use in game.
Also, I like running the sims over multiple different flops (known as scripting) so that I can then train against the trainer, again, using the bet sizes I actually use in game.
However, recently I've been exploring GTO Wizard AI as it has a couple of features I really like:
It aims to give you a one bet size strategy to maximise EV, which is much easier for a human to implement, and seems to address my biggest bugbear with pre-solved postflop solutions
It's incredibly fast, much quicker than PIOSolver, and this helps keep my study sessions streamlined and incredibly efficient.
I've used Simple Postflop and MonkerSolver for postflop sims, but I always come back to PIOSolver.
With the new GTO Wizard AI, though, I might start using that more in the future. I'm not ready to recommend it yet, but I feel like it might make the list next year.
4. My poker trainer: DTO Poker Trainer
I love how easy it is to drill a specific preflop or postflop spot using DTO Poker Trainer and quickly improve my understanding and strategy.
Whenever I'm struggling in a specific spot, I can quickly pull up a drill and get to work.
There are aggregate reports to make learning the overarching strategies much easier and there is also an explorer function where you can look at the strategies for all players on every street. This includes 3 way spots, something I haven't seen in any other trainer.
Price: $9.99/month for the Grinder tier, $29.99/month for the High Roller tier, $99.99/month for the Super High Roller tier. Annual subscriptions are also available.
Use code "10COACHGAZ" for 10% off all DTO Poker products. Disclaimer: If you choose to use my affiliate code, I do receive a little kickback.
5. My in-game software: StarsCaption
When I play on PokerStars, I like to display more than just the available stats from my HUD from PokerTracker 4.
I like to quickly know things like:
how many players are left?
how many players are paid?
what is the minimum defence frequency against this bet size?
what are the geometric bet sizes for this spot?
This is all particularly helpful when multi-tabling. And I can do all of that with StarsCaption.
There are also many other features like betscripts, hotkeys and a table manager.
If you're looking to stay competitive and make sure you're not getting left behind, knowing about and investing in the right poker software can really help.
Here's a summary of what I regularly use and recommend:
Tracking software: PokerTracker 4
Preflop solver: Holdem Resources Calculator
Postflop solver: PIOSolver
Trainer: DTO Poker Trainer
In-game software: StarsCaption
Whenever you're ready, here's how I can help you:
The Final Table: Play your best poker when the most is at stake. Detailed analysis of over 100 hand examples at different stages of play. Learn how to make great decisions every time and set yourself up for daily progress.
Poker On The Mind: Listen to my podcast with Dr Tricia Cardner as we discuss peak poker performance and tournament poker strategy.
Train & Play Like The Pros: Join the next cohort of my flagship program that will take you from amateur to training and playing like the pros in the next 8 weeks. There are only 12 spots for each cohort, and when they're gone, they're gone and I close enrolment until the next one.
Purposeful Practice for Poker: Gain a clear theoretical understanding of the science of purposeful practice and how you can apply it to your poker study & training. Includes specific exercises designed to create an infallible plan for poker improvement.