In one of the first analyses of how board run-outs impact hand equities, Doyle Brunson sat on the back seat of an automobile with a deck of cards, dealing out flops, turns and rivers, as he and his colleagues traveled from town to town looking for poker action.
Such dedication undoubtedly gave Doyle and his crew an edge, but times have changed. These days a serious student of the game can gain a far greater edge by employing the vast array of poker software tools and apps. The real challenge now is to find the software that is right for the task you wish to undertake.
In what follows we have attempted to group software into similar tasks, moving from the most basic to the highly complex. For reasons that are perhaps obvious, this tends to correlate with pricing, with many free tools heading our list. If you’ve never used any poker software before, but want to add some tools to your arsenal, it would make sense to focus first on these free applications. If you’ve moved beyond hand versus hand equities already, you can safely skip to the later sections.
Note that we do not attempt to give reviews of the various products. Not only would this take up a lot of bandwidth, we have also discovered that personal preference is often driven by comfort with the user interface and other factors that cannot be objectively assessed. What we have done is summarize the tools and software used most commonly by our coaches in their training content, which appears in our CORE program and our PRO video library.
This list is continuously being updated with new programs and applications. Leave a comment below if you have one to suggest. Last update: July 2019.
Hand vs hand equity calculators
Also informally referred to as odds calculators, these mostly browser-based tools are the oldest and simplest aids to understanding some basic poker math. They calculate the probability of a hand winning against one or more other hands, just like the percentages that show up in televised poker graphics. The first generation of these tools could only handle Hold’em, but other variants are now commonly featured. Below we list which forms of poker are included in the calculators, along with a big friendly button to take you there.
Cardplayer Odds Calculator ($FREE)
Simple point-and-click graphical interface. Supports Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha-8, Razz, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Eight-Or-Better and Deuce-To-Seven Single Draw.
Cardschat Odds Calculator ($FREE)
Simple point-and-click graphical interface for both PC and mobile devices. Large card icons ideal for mobile use. The iOS version can be downloaded here, whereas Android users should click this link. Supports Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha-8, Razz, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Eight-Or-Better and Seven Card Stud High-Low No Qualifier.
Twodimes.net Odds Calculator ($FREE)
Plain text interface. Supports Hold’em, Hold’em-8 (yes, really), Omaha, Omaha-8, Razz, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Eight-Or-Better, Seven Card Stud High-Low No Qualifier and Deuce-To-Seven Single Draw.
ProPokerTools Simulator ($FREE)
Plain text interface. Supports Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha-8, 5-card Omaha, 5-card Omaha-8 (BigO), Razz, Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Eight-Or-Better. This site has been on the poker scene nearly as long as Chris Moneymaker and has additional features beyond hand vs hand equity calculation that we’ll return to below.
Even though the calculators in this section cover some disparate topics, we decided to lump them together for a couple of reasons. First, they share the common feature that they require the input of numbers rather than hands or ranges. As such, they are often used alongside equity calculators and other tools. Second, Red Chip Poker and our sister site Splitsuit.com have collectively produced a large number of these spreadsheets that we feel fit together logically as a suite of tools.
RCP Simple EV Calculator ($FREE)
Good poker decisions are based on maximizing expected value (EV). This simple calculator allows you to determine the EV of a play by inputting your expected profit when you win, your expected loss when you lose, and the frequency with which you win: EV = (W%*$W) – (L%*$L).
Preflop EV Spreadsheet ($FREE)
The purpose of this spreadsheet is to simplify the EV calculation in preflop all-in situations, as well as situations where a 3-bet or 4-bet is committing. The link below takes you to a full description of the tool, along with a couple of videos to deepen your understanding of poker EV.
RCP Fold Equity Calculator ($FREE)
One of the first steps to poker enlightenment is a recognition of the importance of fold equity. The fact we can win a pot without having the best hand is a central feature of the game. Knowing how often you need your opponent to fold is a key part of this process, hence we built a calculator to find that number. The relevant principles and applications are outlined in the video below, followed by the link to the calculator itself.
All Flop Textures Spreadsheet ($FREE)
Doug Hull’s All Flop Textures spreadsheet analyzes how our opponents’ limp-call ranges hit all flops. Using this spreadsheet, you can easily see at a glance which flops are best to bluff, the logic being that you should bluff more often on flops that the Villain’s limp-call range doesn’t hit very well.
How Long To Five Grand? ($FREE)
With all these free tools we hope you’re now a winning player, but how long will it take you to increase your bankroll by $5k? We’ve got a calculator that will provide a decent estimate of that, based on the limit you’re playing and how many hours you put in at the felt.
Squeeze Math Spreadsheet ($FREE)
The idea of squeezing in poker is another one in which we profit despite often having an inferior hand. If the concept is new to you, or you feel you need a refresher, this Red Chip page has a quick summary along with links to a couple of explanatory videos. If you’re ready to jump right in, grab the spreadsheet below.
The SplitSuit Suite ($FREE/DONATION)
The above ensemble of spreadsheets covers most aspects of EV calculations in poker, but SplitSuit has a couple more! He has also provided an excellent description of his spreadsheets, the motivation for creating them, and further examples of their use. We recommend you check out the page.
Red Chip Tools And Quizzes ($FREE)
One way of getting comfortable with these tools is to practice employing them through quizzes. This is one reason why we brought together all our calculators in one place, along with quizzes and other resources that will help you understand the tools and thus the mathematical foundations of poker.
Range vs range scenario analyzers
As NLHE theory developed into a full strategy-based game, practitioners soon realized the only sensible way to analyze it was as a confrontation between hand ranges. Poker software rapidly caught up with theory, so that now there are many tools that allow range vs range analysis. All of these tools can also handle hand vs range and hand vs hand equity calculations, since these are effectively subsets of the broader range vs range case. Again we emphasize our intent here is not to review nor to compare products, but simply to give the reader an overview of their functionality.
Based on our CORE lessons and material in the PRO video library, Flopzilla is the most frequently used software by our cash-game NLHE coaches. It’s primary function is to quantify how user-specified hand ranges hit flops; that is, how often does a range produce different made hands and draws on the flop. The nuts and bolts of using the program are explained by SplitSuit in the video below.
Flopzilla by itself most readily handles hand versus range situations, although with some ingenuity it can be compelled to do range versus range. Fortunately a free add-on, HoldEq, is designed specifically to easily incorporate range versus range work. Additional features include the ability to weight hands within ranges (maybe you figure an opponent 3-bets 99 50% of the time). Despite the name, the program can also calculate turn equities. Flopzilla has a free 7-day trial to allow you to experiment with the software before buying it.
(Power) Equilab ($FREE to various pricing plans for pro version)
Equilab from PokerStrategy.com initially appeared on the scene as a hand vs hand and hand vs range replacement to PokerStove, when the latter left the market. The free version was later extended to the more complex and versatile Power-Equilab, as well as the free Equilab Omaha. Current pricing for Power-Equilab includes a two-week free trial, with license plans ranging from $4.95/month to $41.95/year. Using the free version of the software is demonstrated in the video below, which will also give you a comparison of the interface to that of Flopzilla discussed above.
Flop Falcon ($40)
Flop Falcon was developed by Red Chip co-founder Doug Hull. Here’s the man himself with a quick intro to the software.
The key and novel feature of Flop Falcon is the philosophy of focusing on the four distinct possible outcomes of a range vs range confrontation: hit-hit, hit-miss, miss-hit and miss-miss. Analyzing hands in this way gives key insights into the critical topic of range advantage, as well as uncovering postflop lines that best exploit our opponents. You can access additional tutorial videos here.
Elypson PokerRanger ($79)
PokerRanger is a multi-tool piece of software that can carry out sophisticated range vs range analyses. You can listen to developer Michael Voelkel describe the motivation and functionality of the program on this episode of the Red Chip Poker podcast. For a visual introduction, check out the video below.
While this software has been around for a while, we note that Michael responds rapidly to any queries on the 2+2 support thread. With a 21-day trial period you have plenty of time to determine whether this software is right for you. Features include equity and EV calculations for different decision trees. Extensive tutorials and training materials are also available at the home site.
Oranges Holdem Ranges Explorer (From $15 to $50)
A range vs range analyzer with versions for both Windows and Mac, the most novel feature of this software is its ability to handle short-deck (sometimes called 6-plus) Hold’em. While that option is only available at the upper price point, the increasing popularity of short-deck suggests this software might give you a head start on the competition. 7-day trial period available.
The product has a dedicated YouTube channel featuring brief videos of how to use the main features of the software.
PokerCruncher (From $3.99 to $49.99)
Poker playing Mac users breathed a sigh of relief when PokerCruncher arrived on the scene, since it put them on a level playing with their Windows counterparts. The product now features a plethora of purchasing options from a basic iPhone app at $3.99 to the full monty for a Mac desktop at $49.99, as well as an Android version. Apparently written for the poker player on the go, the YouTube presence consists of rapid fire demos, an example of which is given below. More detailed tutorials are provided on their website.
ProPokerTools Odds Oracle (From $19 to $89)
ProPokerTools were early pioneers of non-NLHE analysis software, and their Odds Oracle will run on Linux, Mac and Windows platforms. Audio-free video tutorials can be viewed on YouTube and are listed at the site, illustrating the use of the software for NLHE, PLO and Omaha-8.
Compared to the sophisticated graphical user interfaces that have come on the market over the last few years, all of ProPokerTools software is rather minimalist. A free 7-day trial can be requested by e-mail.
The first game theory optimal (GTO) solvers/calculators applied to NLHE were restricted to short-stack situations, the simplest case being the determination of preflop push-fold ranges. Because of this they were mostly used by tournament specialists. While this element of solvers is still important, extension to deeper-stacked, multi-street analysis has unlocked the GTO world for cash-game players too.
We begin this section with CardRunners EV (CREV), since in some ways it represents a transitional case between range vs range scenario analyzers and full GTO solvers. The original version of CREV was a tree builder. Briefly, one can think of the action in any poker hand as a tree, with each decision point creating branches (such as fold, call, raise). CREV calculates the EV down each of these branches, as constrained by user-specified input.
The current version of CREV includes GTO+, a full game theory optimal solver. Red Chip PRO members can watch Adam’ Jones video CREV 101. A briefer video by the developer is available on YouTube.
HoldemResources Calculator (From $5.55/month to $9.95/month)
HoldemResources Calculator (HRC) revolutionized short-stack analysis in online tournaments, aided by its ability to interface with hand histories from the major sites, as well as an effective leakfinder feature. Despite being on the market for over a decade, it is still the preferred analysis software for many MTT pros. It is used extensively, for example, in our MTT 3-bet shoves course. By providing GTO solutions for push-fold and 3-bet-shove situations, serious study with HRC would in principle allow you to play perfect tournament poker below about 20bb.
HRC offers a 14-day free trial. Pricing depends on the period of commitment with the cheapest corresponding to a total of $99.90 for 18 months. Runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Red Chip coach Ben Hayles gives an introduction to using the software below.
ICMIZER (From $FREE to $199.99/year)
Another preflop program that is used most naturally in short-stacked tournament and sit-n-go situations, ICMIZER can also handle committing 3-bet and 4-bet situations one might encounter in cash games. As the name suggests, a key feature of the software is to incorporate ICM in its Nash equilbria. This is accomplished by accounting for the tournament pay-out structure and stack distribution of the remaining players.
There are various pricing options for different time periods and bundles, including the Replayer and SNG coach add-ons. The free version allows for up to 3 calculations per day. In addition to the desktop version, there is an app for iOS and Android mobile devices. The developers’ ICMIZER 2 tutorial video is given below.
SitNGo Wizard ($99)
Another preflop Nash calculator most usefully applied to late-game, short-stacked tournaments and, of course, sit-n-goes. The website includes several tutorial videos, that explain what the software does and how to import online hand histories into it. The site FAQ page is comprehensive and includes links to SNG strategy articles.
A 30-day free trial is available.
GTO Range Builder (From $19.99/month to $739.99)
Developed by Alex Sutherland who we spoke to on this episode of the podcast. For user-specified flop scenarios, the program calculates GTO turn and river decisions. The home site includes a comprehensive and informative FAQ section. GTO Range Builder has a dedicated YouTube channel with around 40 videos including this tutorial.
InstaGTO (From $249 to $699 per 3 months)
InstaGTO advertises itself as a replayer, solver, trainer, and analyzer. Designed to be most useful in conjunction with online hands, which are easily imported, its other features are detailed on the home site. A 5-day free trial is available. The basic features of the program are explained in the video below.
PioSolver (From $FREE to $1099)
PioSolver seems to have established a reputation as the top end, state-of-the art GTO poker solver, but equally there are coaches who claim the only distinguishing top end feature is the pricing. The PioSolver home page describes the wide array of pricing and product options.
Their site also has links to a large number of YouTube videos. The one below is a basic introduction to the software.
MonkerSolver is a relative newcomer to the big beast poker software scene and can be run on Windows and Mac machines with at least 8GB of RAM. It calculates GTO solutions for both NLHE and PLO, with a free version offering limited features providing a convenient way to determine if you like the product. A tutorial is given below.
Advanced Poker Training (From $FREE to $499 lifetime)
If you miss Bob Wilson’s turbo Texas Holdem, you’ll love the simulated opponents provided by Advanced Poker Training. The software allows the user to set up a table against opponents with a range of profiles, so that in principle one can simulate game conditions comparable to your regular game. The weaker line-ups are a reasonable facsimile of entry-level casino NLHE, and because of this have been used by our coaches when working when their students. Red Chip PRO subscribers can watch an example in this video by Doug Hull.
APT offers various pricing tiers, each of which comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. There is also a free version with limited features that gives a good feel of the interface. More information is given in the video below.
Lumping APT and PioSolver together as bots does something of a disservice to the latter, insofar it is a far more sophisticated self-learning algorithm, more comparable to a multi-game bot like Alpha Zero. Snowie “learned” poker from the ground up by playing a large number of hands with itself before being made publicly available. How many hands? We had no idea, so we contacted support and a very helpful person named Scarlett informed us it was “trillions.” Whether this is impossible or merely incomprehensible, and whether the support person was really named Scarlett, we leave up to the reader.
PokerSnowie has seen a lot of use in determining preflop ranges and bet sizings, as in this RCP PRO video by Doug Hull and Ross Glover.
The dedicated YouTube homepage for Snowie includes some excellent information on what can be achieved with the software, as well as the video below on why preflop GTO solutions are so important. A 10-day free trial is available. Snowie can be run on Windows/Mac desktops and there is an app for both iOS and Android mobile devices.
huds and data management
The introduction of HUDs (heads-up displays) and data management software likely played a role in the divergence between the live and online games. When the two behemoths in this field, Hold’em Manager and PokerTracker, merged in 2014, it looked like the market was heading for a monopoly. However, not only have PT4 and HEM2 retained a distinct identity, as we outline below there are now viable alternatives to the big burritos.
If you’ve never used a HUD, this video explains why you should.
PokerTracker 4 (From $59.99 to $159.99)
PokerTracker 4 runs on Mac and Windows machines and offers a 30-day free trial. The base price is for small-stakes Hold’em, whereas the top end provides full features and adds on Omaha. The tutorial page is packed with written guides. Additionally there are plenty of videos available on YouTube. A video providing an overview of the software and the associated community is given below.
Hold’em Manager (From $59.99 to $159.99)
While the merger of PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager left the individual interfaces mostly intact, elements such as the pricing and trial period have been made identical. For Omaha players, here’s specialist JNandez showing how to set up a HEM2 HUD.
Jivaro (From $4.99/month)
Jivaro is a stripped down tournament and sit-n-go HUD designed specifically with PokerStars in mind. The limited features are reflected in the low pricing. For anyone whose online poker playing is restricted to PokerStars tournies, this might be an interesting and affordable option.
Assassinato HUD (From $99 to $159)
The Assassinato HUD mirrors the pricing of PT4/HEM2 and has comparable functionality. Alex “Assassinato” Fitzgerald describes in the video below the features of this HUD that he feels make it better than its better known counterparts.
Hold’em Indicator ($99.50)
One of the selling points of Hold’em Indicator is that it works with the Bovada client. It also runs on both Windows and Mac desktops. Below is the MicroGrinder review of the product.
Sharkscope Desktop & HUD (From $12/month to $99 lifetime)
While Sharkscope is best known for its database of online tournament results, the company also produces a HUD for tournaments and sit-n-goes. There are various pricing options, with a 7-day money back guarantee on all monthly plans.
Poker Copilot ($99)
Poker Copilot seems popular with Mac users and provides a HUD and database management for both Hold’em and Omaha. Its features are described in several short videos on a dedicated YouTube page. The software includes advanced filtering and a leakfinder function.
DriveHUD (From $9 to $99/year plus $9.99 each additional year)
DriveHUD is somewhat cheaper than the dynamic duo of HEM2 and PT4. It has similar functionality, but we suspect its main attraction to some users will be its eye-catching graphics illustrated in the video below. The software handles both cash games and tournaments and offers a 30-day free trial.
Results Tracking Apps
Having immersed yourself in poker software, you’ll likely want to know how much money you’re making. You can do this with a paper and pencil or a spreadsheet, but if you want something that generates graphs and pie charts, apps are available.
Poker Income Pro (From $4.99)
Available for iOS and Android and can be downloaded from the Apple app store and Google Play, respectively. The link below takes you to the Poker Income homepage which describes the features of the product. Includes a 7-day free trial.
Poker Analytics (From $29.99)
Also available for iOS and Android devices, the higher pricing reflects a greater number of features than its primary competition. Ultimately your choice in this market will depend on how many bells and whistles you want as you track your winnings.