Poker players – real poker players – are an analytical group of people. It’s not just about the money; it’s about finding winning strategies that crush other players.
There are a lot of poker programs out there to help players improve their game. These programs help you put your opponent on a range, figure out how likely that range is to hit a given flop, and analyze the overall profitability of your lines. Most of the better programs cost between $50 and $150, but there are a few programs out there that are both incredibly useful and free. Here’s a list of the best free poker programs available.
If you haven’t heard of PokerStove, you need to quit playing poker right now and study up more. PokerStove is an invaluable tool for improving your poker game.
PokerStove is vital for determining your equity in certain situations. For example, let’s say a villain raises UTG+1 and you call on the button with 78 of hearts. The flop comes K56 with two hearts on the board. UTG+1 bets, you raise and UTG+1 shoves. The pot is $270 and you have to call $120 more. Should you call with your draw?
The first thing you need to do is put your opponent on a range. Let’s say that this opponent is very tight and would only make this move with KK, AA, or AK. You’re getting roughly 1 to 2.25 to call. How do you fair against your opponent’s range?
Your monster straight and flush draws are a little more than a 51% favorite against your opponent’s range, so you should call. Try figuring that out without plugging in the pertinent information into PokerStove.
Universal Replayer is a Java-based program that can convert a hand history from almost any poker room into a visual re-enactment of the hand. Not only does the Universal Replayer replay the hand for you, but it also shows you your odds along the way and it can even show you how good or bad luck affected the outcome of your hand. It’s a great way to review and discuss past poker hands.
Truly Free Poker Training
Truly Free Poker Training isn’t really a piece of software. It’s a poker site. All you have to do is set up a free account on Cardrunners and Stoxpoker, register with TrulyFreePokerTraining.com, and earn a certain number of points every month, at supported poker rooms, to get access to training videos on Cardrunners and Stoxpoker for free.
This isn’t an affiliate program and it doesn’t come out of your rakeback. It’s truly free training that anyone can use.
I cheated a little bit here. Excel is the fourth program on our list of three and it’s not free. I included it because most of you probably have it on your computer anyway and it can be a very useful tool for improving your poker game, on top of being a good program for managing your bankroll.
Poker is a mathematical game so it makes sense that a spreadsheet program would be useful for analyzing hands. You can use excel to compare your pot odds and equity at every point of a hand. You can even explore whether an alternate line could be more profitable. Show me a player who analyzes his or her lines with Excel and I’ll show you someone who’s making a lot of money playing poker.
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Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. You’ll never improve if you mindlessly grind out 1000s of hands without analyzing your poker play. There are some great programs out there to help you but the programs listed above are the best programs money can’t buy.