If you understand only one thing about poker strategy software, understand that knowing how to use these specialized programs gives you an enormous edge over your opponents.
These programs will enable you to analyze your game in greater depth and detail than ever possible. And as tools, they are almost instantly edge-producing.
But looking at poker strategy software purely as a tool would be missing the point. When you understand how to use these programs, you understand poker on a deeper level than most. Another way to put it: To varying degrees, a prerequisite to using these programs is a deep understanding of poker strategy. If you don’t understand poker strategy, you won’t know how or why to use these applications.
So, by using poker strategy software to your advantage, you are demonstrating a certain depth of knowledge. Simply being a user of these poker analysis programs distinguishes your thought process at the table. Your decisions will be faster and more accurate, and you will “see” spots for plays that you were previously blind to. These skills don’t come magically via the application, but rather through the deeper understanding of strategy that you develop using it.
Editor’s Note: This list is constantly being updated with new applications. Leave a comment below if you have one to suggest. Last update: 1/17/2017.
GTO Solvers & Range Visualizers
Just as your player conversations help develop a strategic intuition, poker software will help you develop mathematic intuition. Sure, they are great analytical tools for the math-inclined. At the same time, non-math players can easily use them to comprehend mathematical concepts that might have otherwise eluded them in the abstract.
Our coaches’ favorite poker analysis software is listed below. It is not an exhaustive list — there are dozens of applications out there for you to try. These are simply the ones our coaches have used and can recommend. If you know of a great poker strategy application, please let us know.
Flopzilla is essential software for the serious poker player. Our coaches use it with great frequency as a teaching tool in coaching sessions and poker strategy videos. The function of Flopzilla is simple: Quickly and simply figure out how a range hits a board. This is accomplished with a utilitarian graphic user interface that allows the quick selection on preflop combinations and ranges to dynamically calculate odds of making all possible hands. If that sounds like technobabble to you now, we assure you, 15 minutes with the program will have you plugging in ranges and calculating odds like a pro.
Math is a key part of any poker player’s pursuit. Flopzilla is possibly the most popular “poker calculator” around. Work off the table with Flopzilla and you will assuredly see your mathematical intuition improve on the table.
Flop Falcon was developed by Red Chip Poker co-founder, coach and author Doug Hull. It presents information about flop equity and how two ranges hit or miss any given flop. By controlling adjustable parameters like flop texture, range, and what constitutes a ‘hit’ and a ‘miss’, the strategic insights come fast with its easy-to-understand dashboard of visualized data. Flop Falcon helps you build a powerful intuition about how to make the most profitable decision on poker’s most complex street.
You will see PokerRanger used in many Red Chip Poker training videos, for both tournament and cash game analysis. Like Flopzilla, PokerRanger is built to calculate the equity of various range matchups. PokerRanger several enhanced features for calculating equity based on whether players react with a fold, call or raise, and a deep selection of graphs and other visual tools for hand analysis. There are tools for building and storing ranges, and even training tools to help build your equity evaluation skills. Those extra features make it a popular addition to many serious players’ application list.
Cost: varies ($19.99/month ‘Library Pass’ up to $679.99 GTO Pro Bundle)
Game theory optimal (GTO) play has been and will continue to be all the rage. That’s because advanced computer programs like GTORangeBuilder are calculating insanely complex decision trees and subsequent equities based on the principals of game theory, a field of mathematics used everywhere from economics to politics. The beauty of GTORangeBuilder is that you need only a rudimentary understanding of game theory and how it applies to poker to get value from this software. That’s because it makes learning how to apply GTO thinking to enhance your win rate so much easier than taking a semester at college to learn how this stuff works. It’s no surprise that GTORangeBuilder is widely regarded as standard for anyone who’s serious about enhancing their game with GTO decision making.
Cost: varies (free version up to $1,099.00 for PioSOLVER Edge)
PioSolver is new GTO software that runs on a normal high-end laptop or desktop, as opposed to other “state of the art” solvers that use thousands of computing cores to render complex GTO solutions. This technological feat means that within minutes you can have advanced GTO analysis of hands based on a wide range of variables. PioSolver simply produced a level of insight into the game theory aspects of specific poker situations at a depth and speed that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
Cost: varies ($79.99/yr. to $159.99/yr.)
One can only imagine how many hundreds of thousands of dollars have been chopped up according to ICMizer’s Poker ICM Calculator, a free tool players use to make fair deals to chop prize pools at the final table of a tournament. ICMizer now has a host of products, and ICMizer 2 is the crown jewel. See the features for yourself, this app is one of the most well-rounded and robust around when it comes to GTO calculations, and visualizing a wide range of equities in tournaments. You can calculate ICM in an MTT far before the final table, reveal optimal plays, calculate Nash Equilibrium ranges, and charts that help your correlate your push/fold decision with your opponent’s range. It’s the Swiss army knife of ICM calculation, no doubt.
Cost: free with one-time $45 payment to unlock advanced features
Combonator is a sleek piece of software from the folks at Pokerfuse. It features an impressive user interface that does a good job of organizing a dizzying array of options and statistics. The functionality is robust without feeling bloated, and you can tell the software was built for efficiency and speed.
Combonator allows you to calculate your range equity in seconds, and easily slice and dice your ranges into any imaginable selection. Play around with the software to develop a better intuition at the table, or use it as a serious study tool that offers instant feedback on the hands you load into it. The application includes reporting options with the ability to export data and customize your calculator. Combonator lives up to its claim of being “not your average equity calculator”, and has found its way onto the hard drives of many a serious poker studier/player over the years.
Cost: varies ($6.49/mo-$9.99/mo or $99.90 non-recurring)
Another tool out there for getting your Nash Equilibirum approximations with fully editable ranges is HoldemResources calculator. A few of our coaches find this tool particularly helpful for analyzing live and online MTT hands, as it includes the Malmuth-Harville ‘ICM’ and MTT/MTSNG ‘ICM’ equity models (as well as Future Game Simulation ‘FGS’ and ChipEV). You can import your hand histories directly from PokerTracker, Holdem Manager, or the poker site itself. It’s a sharp, Swiss-army knife analysis tool for the tournament player.
HUDs & Data Visualizers
Anyone who plays online poker seriously, knows HUDs are essential. Knowing how to read basic HUD stats, understanding sample size and learning how to exploit player tendencies is a necessary edge if you want to win the tough online games.
At the same time, you need to be able to analyze your vast database of online hands to find leaks and see exactly where your money is coming from. Many a winning player stands on the foundation of visualizing their past hands in advanced database/analytics software.
Cost: varies, $59.99-$159.99
Poker Tracker has been around for what seems like forever, and version 4 is packed with every feature you’d expect from and all-in-one HUD and Database Visualizer. The Vector HUD Engine powers customizable stats on every player. You can use sophisticated filtering and reporting tools to generate graphs of your play, where patterns can be picked out, (or you can just have a sick graph to brag about on the forums.)
Poker Tracker 4 boasts other bells and whistles, like TableTracker, which helps you with game selection, LeakTracker, which gives insight into areas of improvement, and NoteTracker, which takes poker notes to a new level. There are equity and ICM calculators, customizable themes, hand replayers (including an official SplitSuit replayer), and lots more. Highly recommended.
AI Simulation & Training
These interactive tools allow poker players to constantly improve in incremental and meaningful ways throughout the day on desktop and mobile devices.
The idea with these applications is to make poker training enjoyable and as much like playing the game as possible, while still be a deep learning experience.
Advanced Poker Training
If you appreciate interactivity and variety in your training, few sites that offer more than Advanced Poker Training.
APT is a whole bag of poker training tricks. There are “Beat the Pro” challenges where you take on top pros and get inside their thinking on every decision. There’s “Dynamic Analysis” that adapts to how you play and pushes you to make better decisions. You can practice any hand you want against 100 life-like opponents, all in a web-based application you can play without having to download anything. Advanced analytics on your performance help you take an objective look at your game and improve after each session.
Red Chip Poker are such big fans of Advanced Poker Training, several of our coaches are featured in their “Beat the Pros” challenge. Definitely check it out.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the rumblings: AI poker programs are challenging the minds of top players. Can you get your hands on that same technology to train yourself to become a better player? The answer is yes, and PokerSnowie is one of the most popular ways to access it.
PokerSnowie is interesting in that its educational arsenal is based on a balanced, non-exploitative approach. It aims to make players better in all regards and steeled against exploitation vs. any type of opponent. Based on artificial neural networks, this state-of-the-art training tool is always being updated to become a savvier opponent. The many modes of learning included keep the experience fresh, and many Red Chippers swear by PokerSnowie as a fun way to keep their skills sharp.
When you’re trying to figure out equity (essentially your chance of winning a pot in a given situation), crunching the math quickly becomes daunting as complexity rears its head. Factor in stacks, ranges, and position, and you have one heck of a calculation on your hands.
That’s why the best poker players use these equity calculators to evaluate their thinking behind certain actions and hands:
Equilab is a popular tool for checking your equity in any situation, against a specific hand or range of hands. It’s a simple but powerful visualizer that gives you eyes on the odds of any spot. The “Equity Trainer” is a nice build-in feature that helps you self-coach by asking questions to test your equity intuition, then presents you with the exact equity calculation.
Fold Equity Calculator by Red Chip Poker
We had to make an appearance in our own ‘best of’ list. We built this tool because we wanted access to a simple, free fold equity calculator. Judging by the traffic this page gets, you do too!
Our calculator answers the question, “If you shove, how often does Villain need to fold?” Simply fill in four values (pot size before shove, how much you have to call, how much you’re shoving, estimated equity when called) and get your break even percentage if Villain fold. That info is worth its weight in chips.
For the record, we also have a Super Simple EV Calculator for Poker that’s worth bookmarking. This can show you what the EV of your play is, just by inputting your expected profit and loss, and your estimated odds of winning the pot.
Results Tracking Mobile Apps
Another category of important software for poker players are apps to track your results. Think of these as a diagnostic tools for your game. We don’t want to encourage you to be too results-oriented, but you should be keeping a pulse on your game at all times. Are you on a heater? Don’t get cocky. On a downswing? Is it a leak or just variance? Answering these questions is the difference between winning and losing, and the right app will always give you invaluable data to help form an educated analysis.
Poker math apps are highly specialized and fairly rare. There are dozens of poker tracking apps out there. While we can’t review them all, here are a couple that our coaches and players swear by:
Poker Income Pro – Bankroll Tracker
Cost: free version, or $9.99 / available on Android, iOs & Windows Phone
The highest-rated poker tracking app of all-time, Poker Income Pro is unquestionably a popular choice among players. Its overall design is very basic and easy to interface with. Stats abound in various list views, and there are graphs to chart progress as well. What this app lacks in flashy bells and whistles, in more than makes up for in comprehensive analysis. Every view can be filtered by an advanced set of criteria to arrive at a depth of analysis you’ll be hard-press to find in many other apps. For bankroll tracking, this app is basically standard.
Cost: $29.99/year / Only available for iOS
A real Swiss army knife on an app, Poker Analytics is a fully customizable game tracker. And by fully customizable, I mean you can input a custom field to track how working out affects your win rate. It’s insane what this app can do. At the core is a user-friendly interface that makes the basic functions of inputting data and visualizing results a snap. You can also input hand histories for later off-table analysis. With frequent updates and features added, Poker Analytics strikes a nice balance between ease of use and under-the-hood customization power.