Wednesday, May 21, 2008

PokerTracker 3 and Recommended NL Reading

First, a request, and then my thoughts on PokerTracker 3, which I've had up and running for a few days.

(Two posts in one day! Both about poker! Brimstone falling from the sky!)

I've been way, way out of the loop as far as keeping up on poker books of late, especially the rash of books focusing on NL cash games. I know there's a bunch of them out there now and various opinions as to the relative worth. If people could chime in with their thoughts on what to buy and what to avoid, I'd greatly appreciate it.

As far as PT3, I'm kind of surprised to find myself reporting that after 4 days or so of running it, I'm a little disappointed. I've never used Hold'em Manager so I can't compare and contrast the two, but PT3 has been a bit of a letdown.

On the bright side, you get more data points to work with, including 3 betting/4 betting stats and some more very usueful statistics that you can include in your HUD. The PokerAce HUD is now built into PT3, which is definitely an improvement and removes one layer of complexity as far as getting real-time HUD data when you play.

PT3 also has some nice new bells and whistles such as the ability to graph your results, more easily track results on various sites, and (to my eyes at least) an overall look that is much cleaner, easier to use, and sophisticated looking. It looks more like a professional software application and less like a cool utilitarian tool some poker player came up with to help them make more money at the tables.

My biggest issue is that it seems to eat a ton of resources when I'm trying to play 4-6 tables with the HUD on, to the point of everything freezing and causing me to time out occasionally (usually when I try to add a fourth, fifth, or sixth table). Based on assorted topics in the support forum, this seems to be a common issue, as there are many HUD related bugs and issues still unresolved at the moment. Which would make sense, as this is the first release that tries to integrate the two into one product, but so far its been painful to the point of frustration for me, leaving me longing at times for the days of yore when each product ran smoothly enough on its own.

On a related note, I'm running into the same resource issue when I'm datamining tables and auto-importing observed hands. Since I'm not playing there are no playability issues, but datamining 16 FT tables renders my computer otherwise useless as far as the resources that are gobbled (and we're talking a dekstop that's about 1 year old and not a complete PC dinosaur), something that never happened to me with PT2, when I could datamine to my heart's content and still work normally on my desktop as far as using other various applications. Not so much with PT3, even after turning off the HUD and fiddling with assorted settings that I can find. Datamining observed hands is still possible and works fine, I just can't do anything else on my desktop while datamining.

Not huge issues, really, as far as my gripes, and hopefully something that can be cleaned up in future releases. My overall feeling of slight disappointment is also likely a bit due to the levels I'm playing, as I can definitely see how the addition of some of the stats (especially 3 and 4 bet percentages, 3 and 4 bet call percentages, etc.) could be very, very valuable, to the point that you could overlook other issues. At the stakes I'm playing the additional stats just aren't that useful or indicative of much, but for higher stakes those could be huge.

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