Poker and Data Mining Software

I use Poker Tracker, and I love it. The main reason why I love it, is because I can keep track of my wins and losses, right down to each session, starting hand, and so much more. It’s a useful tool for learning what mistakes I might be making and how to improve my game. Every once in a while I’ll look deep into the statistics and see where I can plug a hole or two in my game.

The other major advantage of using Poker Tracker is the HUD. For those unfamiliar with this, it basically overlays vital information about your opponents onto the table. The basic stats are; hands played, voluntary $ put into pot (not including blinds), preflop raise percentage, and overall aggression factor. Some people argue that such software is cheating or is unfair as in the real world of poker (live casino play) you have to find this information through observation, and so should be the case for online poker. However my main argument against this is that many online poker players will just be there to grind away on multiple tables, playing virtually nothing other than premium hands, and while it’s their right to do so, it wouldn’t happen in live play (people would notice and they’d get no action). Without a HUD it would be very hard to notice the players who play in this way, and they’d probably end up winning my money.

While I think a HUD is fair game, I don’t think it’s right that people’s data can be bought. There are many sites that will sell hand histories, and you can import this data into your software. I think this is wrong and is cheating. It’s not right and is bad for online poker in general. I also think sites like Sharkscope, which mines data from the sites and displays it publicly is also wrong. It’s a matter of privacy and if a player wants to win or lose then it should be their right to do so in private. I know many online poker rooms are very much against this type of data mining, and Poker Stars has banned the use of Sharkscope on their site. I think this is the right thing to do, but they are probably facing a losing battle, as there are now so many data mining sites. My fear is that one day online poker will just turn into a battle of who has the best software.

Oh and before I go, just to update on my previous post. Unfortunately I’ve not won a WSOP seat just yet. I’ll keep trying though – you just never know!

3 thoughts on “Poker and Data Mining Software

  1. tc in dc

    I’m not sure why sharkscope gets such a bad rap, but officialpokerrankings.com gets a pass–in fact all the sites advertise at the latter, while complaining about the former. Is it the fact that sharkscope has a paid search feature and officialpokerrankings is completely free?

    In any case anyone can opt to have their stats hidden on sharkscope. Apparently, it’s that particular feature that caused them to be banned at pokerstars. Go figure.

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  2. Timmy

    I think it’s probably that SharkScope is more well known and I know someone who works for Poker Stars support and he says they get so many complaints about it.

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  3. tc in dc

    Hmm, looks like someone at FTP read my comment and decided I was right, since they apparently told OfficialPokerRankings.com sometime in the last few days to start hiding their results (something I just noticed this evening).

    I actually used OPR to keep track of my own stats, more than anything else. Now I have to go buy something. Man that FTP is just costing me more and more money.

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