One of the best ways to gain an edge playing online poker is to purchase different types of software and tools that will help improve your game. Some programs can graph your bankroll, analyze your hands, track the progress and skill level of other players, and help monitor your day-to-day progress as a poker player.
Poker Tracker (www.pokertracker.com) is a program that allows you to track your play in both ring games and tournaments on sites such as Party Poker, PokerStars, FullTilt, Ultimate Bet, Absolute, Poker Room and their network, Doyle's Room, Cryptlogic and their network, and any rooms on the Prima Network. You import all your hand histories and store them into a database. Poker Tracker allows you to combine your screen names from other sites in order to give you a complete status of your play.
Poker Tracker tracks your starting hands and various combinations, then tells you the results on each hand. You will see which hands are costing you the most money and which hands win you the most pots. You can see how many times you won with two pair, three of a kind, a flush, etc. You can also monitor your play by position in both full ring games and during short-handed play. Poker Tracker will tell you if you are playing too many hands from early position or not defending your blinds enough against steal attempts.
Poker Tracker allows you to keep tabs on your opponents, which is my favorite feature. You can find out who are the best and worst players at your table and adjust your play accordingly. Poker Tracker keeps tabs on every player that you've played with including detailed stats on how often they see the flop, raise preflop, check raise, and see hands all the way to showdown.
I use Poker Tracker to play back my hands graphically, like pro football players watching game film of their last game. That's a great way to see where you misplayed a specific hand, so you can make the necessary adjustments from that point on. You can replay individual hands or watch your last tournament hand-byhand. Poker Tracker can be an overwhelming program to learn at first because it gives you so many options to choose from. I suggest that you also pick up Poker Tracker Guide (www.pokertrackerguide.com), which is supplemental literature to Poker Tracker. Sort of like a version of Cliff Notes, Poker Tracker Guide was written by two well-known poker bloggers, HDouble and Iggy, for beginner online players. The authors explain how you can gain an informational advantage over your opponents by optimizing the Poker Tracker software.
The most informative chapter in Poker Tracker Guide is the section on how to auto-rate your opponents based on their system. I adhered to their suggestions and tagged players accordingly. With the help of Poker Tracker Guide, I was able to find out which sharks I should avoid and which donkeys I should attack. Poker Patterns (www.pokerpatterns.com) is another excellent program that should be used in conjunction with Poker Tracker. Here's the explanation on their website: "Poker Patterns has filtering options to display graphs just as you want them. Choose specific Users, Limits, Poker Sites, Specific Starting Hands, and many other filtering options. Also, display by Hand, Date or Session."
Poker Patterns recently added a Player Search feature that allows you to filter opponents by nine different criteria. Poker Patterns is constantly being updated and upgraded. The programmer often incorporates suggestions and ideas that you can send him in their forums.
Poker Tracker Guide and Poker Patterns both enhance your knowledge on how to use Poker Tracker. You should get these inexpensive tools and programs as soon as possible.