Best Poker Training Software Reviews
High quality poker training software is difficult to come by, but a good program can be incredibly helpful when trying to learn the game. A lot of poker instruction is focused on having the student watch others play the game, but at some point you have to get to work and play yourself. This is where it can be helpful to find a piece of poker training software that can run simulations for you. Often times it is best to try playing the game for free before you enter into the more challenging world of real money poker.
Why Software Instead of a Coach?
The answer to this is fairly simple. Think of it like a puzzle, where coaches are one piece of the puzzle and software is another. Poker training software can help you in areas where coaches cannot. For one thing, poker training software can offer you incredible real-time simulators in which to practice. This is a great free way to improve your understanding of the game. Also, a coach can’t carry out hundreds of complicated calculations in their head in a split second like poker programs can. Powerful computing software can tell you the exact Expected Value of specific situations, like being all-in preflop with any range of hands you choose versus your opponents’ hands in a second. A human cannot possibly do this. In areas where the human brain limits us, poker software can be incredibly useful.
Expected value calculations are an area where software has a clear edge over players. This can be simple, like a preflop all-in equity calculation. However, it can also be incredibly more complex and involve intricate decision trees. Think for a moment about why poker is so complicated. Once you make a preflop decision, your opponent or opponents have multiple options against you on each street. To have any sense about what the true expected value of a decision is versus your opponent, you need multiple branches on a decision tree with numerous assumptions. Unfortunately, this is not something that the human brain can comprehend very well. As a player, all you can do is estimate something like, “If I bet ½ pot on the flop, I think my opponent will fold 50% of the time, call 25%, and raise 25% of the time.” We need to figure out what our reaction is when facing a raise and what our equity is. Also, when we move past the flop, we need to play out turn and river scenarios with the other 25% of the time. This is incredibly complicated, but with certain programs we are able to make calculations like this easy.
Accountability and record keeping is another area where humans tend to be weak. If you want to play in a simulator versus a computer opponent, it will record all of the hands you play against it and allow you to analyze the results when you are finished. Coaches can’t do this. Most coaches are limited to some fairly simple training techniques like real-time session sweats, individual hand analysis, or general theoretical discussions.
Almost all of the best players in the world have put a tremendous amount of time into self-study. A big part of the reason for this is that it is actually one of the best ways to learn. A poker coach can be helpful in the early and intermediate stages of a poker player’s development, but later on there is no substitute for the one-on-one work with poker training software that many top online players do. Most of the best players that I know spend far more time studying the game by themselves than they do with other players. This brings me to a discussion about my current favorite poker tool on the market…
PokerSnowie Software Review
This is the clear leader in the field of poker training software. PokerSnowie is innovative and brings modern science to the poker tables. The software comes with a free ten-day trial, where you can test out the product for free. Its goal is to help you achieve a game theory optimal style of play. What is really cool about PokerSnowie is its ability to improve over time. Unlike other poker software on the market, PokerSnowie changes in real time as opponents play against it. In fact, PokerSnowie is actively learning from its competition, which ensures that it stays up to date with the most modern and innovative poker strategies.
Snowie is setup so that you can challenge the program. So far, the program has played over 4 million hands versus real poker players, and that number increases every day. The program has absolutely annihilated the competition for over 17 BB/100 hands during that stretch. As Snowie has played more hands, its winrate has actually been increasing, which is incredibly impressive. When you purchase the program it will provide you with tips for how to play in a wide variety of situations. This can be done in real time or after the fact. Both can be effective learning techniques.
If your goal is to learn 6-max NLHE, PokerSnowie has a great simulator for you. It will also play you at HU and full ring poker tables. Other programs on the market tend to be heads up specialists, and very few offer real time advice as you play against them. Snowie is perfectly designed for serious poker players who are looking to refine their ranges in a game theory optimal manner. While you may never achieve game theory optimal lines, if Snowie can help you get a little bit closer to them, it could help your winrate significantly. As far as poker tools go, I think this is the best one on the market currently and it would be my first recommendation.
Aside from the awesome real-time playing simulator, PokerSnowie also has an amazing scenario analyzing simulator. This allows you to create customized situations at HU, 6max, and full ring games and see what Snowie thinks. PokerSnowie will give you an expected value on every street for every decision. For example, if you want to know what to do in the SB versus a BB raise with AJ, Snowie has the answer. It also will tell you what to do when facing a cold 4-bet in the same situation. You can then modify the hand while running the scenario to see how PokerSnowie would think differently if you held AQ, 55, or some other hand. This is an incredible learning tool for players because it quantifies the expected value of small decisions for you in real time, which accelerates the learning process. Without a doubt, PokerSnowie is close to the top of any discussion about the best poker software available.
This is a free, downloadable piece of poker software which isn’t that great, but has a couple of neat features that are worth it for the price. For example, you can enter any hand like 22 and see the probabilities of making a wide range of hands on the flop. After downloading the software and creating a screename, simply click on the “Calculator Tool,” and add in your hole cards in the upper right box where it says “My Hand.” This can be helpful if you are wondering how many times you flop top pair or better with AK, or what the likelihood is of flopping a set or better? Not all of us who play poker are math geniuses, so it can be nice to have the nitty gritty calculations done for us.
There are four main segments to DDpoker. They are online, practice, analysis, and poker clock. Within the online segment, you are able to chat with other DD Poker users who are waiting to play a game. You can also click the “Host Online” button on the side and hold your own online poker tournament. This can be a fun way to play against friends or fellow poker fans. If you click the “Join Online” button on the side of the DDpoker client, you will be able to see who is playing online and join in. There are also DDpoker forums that you can participate in, although they do not have a large amount of traffic.
In the “Practice” segment of the DDpoker client, it allows you to hone your poker skills against computer opponents. This is a great way to learn the game when you first start and need to familiarize yourself with basic hand rankings and betting techniques. Over time you will find this to be relatively rudimentary. The poker clock is a useful tool if you are hosting a tournament at home and are unsure about how the blind structure should work. You can set the clock to be 30 min, 20 min, or whatever you prefer, and it will tell you when it is time to increase the blinds.
This isn’t a tool that will turn you into a great poker player, but there are a couple of useful features for beginners, and it is a good website to host games on. For more advanced poker players, I would suggest looking elsewhere to a program like PokerSnowie.
Poker training software is an essential part of any modern poker player’s tool kit. However, the software alone will not make you great. When you go to the store and buy a paint brush do you expect to arrive at home and see your room beautifully painted? Of course not! Now think about how ridiculous it is to expect poker training software to turn you into an amazing player without putting the work in. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be working with the programs, just as you would rather work with a paintbrush than without one. Best of luck studying and putting in the hard work with software that will help you succeed!