Which programs TheWakko uses for online poker

Oct 15 / TheWakko
Reading time 6-7 minutes
Knowing which poker software and programs to use is part of that as well. If you manage to find the right tools and use them well, it can help you become a way better poker player.

Especially online players have big benefits compared to live players, as they can use tracking tools and HUDs. Below I will list the type of programs I use and that I think are important for you to use as well.


Tracking poker software
The most popular ones in this area are Holdem Manager, PokerTracker, and Hand2Note. What these programs allow you to do is track and analyze all the hands you play.

It’s real-time using a HUD (heads up display) and after you have played a decent sample you can look for leaks.

I have used Holdem Manager 2 throughout my whole career, before switching to Holdem Manager 3, due to it being updated. I use Hand2Note as well, but more for population research. 

So, what do I use Holdem Manager for? I automatically import all hands that I’ve played on all sites to the tracking program, then;

  • While playing I mark hands that I want to look into at after my session. Usually, I export my marked hands and import them into the GTO wizard. This software will analyze the hands and give me GTO feedback on every street. For example, it will also tell me where I took a line that was significantly worse than in theory. We will talk more about GTO wizard in the solver section.
  • Post-session I go over the bigger pots that I’ve played as well. I am paying extra attention to running filters, which you can save and easily access again to look at specific spots.
  • Monthly I analyze the impact that variance had on my game by running pre-made filters. With this, I filter how certain hands or spots performed that month compared to my/the average. I will also see if I met my statistical goals for that month, for example like increasing my check-raising % on the flop. Holdem Manager is great for keeping track of your data to see if you did what you set to do.
  • Quarterly or spontaneously, when my sample increases, I look at win rates per position and specific spots to identify possible underperforming spots.

If you think this could be useful for you as well, I will highly recommend trying out Holdem Manager 3 for these functionsGo visit their website to find out more.


Solvers
Solvers are the place to go to if you want to become better as a poker player. It shows how the game “should” be played in theory.

The computer just plays endlessly against itself until it finds an unexploitable strategy. Both players are playing so optimal that neither can’t win or lose unless their opponent deviates from the optimal and opportunities to exploit occur.

Nowadays players will often try to copy or mimic what the solver is doing, which is not the way to go. We should approach solvers with way more curiosity.

Why is the solver doing what it is doing? Why is it taking this line, this sizing? And why with this hand and not with another hand? Why could his option, in theory, be better than what I wanted to do and what can we learn from this?


GTO wizard
In the past, access to solvers was only for players who’ve had enough money to get them and rent a server (external computer) that was good enough to run the simulations on.

Nowadays things are way more accessible using GTO Wizard. GTO Wizard has all spots pre-solved and stored in the cloud, which you can access anywhere and on any type of computer, you want through your browser.

This makes it very easy to check spots after you have played. Or to study specific spots using the aggregated report function, in which we can easily see the average GTO frequency used betting, bet sizing, folding, raising on the flop, and various turns and rivers.

They also have the option to analyze the hands that you’ve played. I already touched on this when I talked about how I use Holdem Manager to mark my hands. It’s those hands that I export and import into GTO wizard.

Anytime a spot comes up that I doubt, or I am curious about, I mark it and import it in GTO Wizard. It then gives me GTO feedback on the hands that I imported and tells me how far of the GTO play I was.

Now, this doesn’t mean that wizard is always “right”, as the GTO play isn’t always the maximizing play. GTO makes money by playing “perfect” and your opponent making mistakes. Whereas if we recognize a mistake the more human thing to do is to attack that mistake, aka exploit, aka deviate from GTO to make money.

If you want to know more about how this works, I talk about this in my webinar series on how to become a more successful poker player in the academy.

Click here to watch this webinar for free.

The feedback that GTO wizards provide me, I see more as a suggestion. So, in the scenario that I don’t have a good exploitative reason why I deviated from GTO, I will take that feedback very seriously.

Then if you’ve identified in which areas your win rate is lacking, either with feedback of GTO or from your analyzes using Holdem Manager, you can enter GTO wizard’s practice mode where you can train specific spots against a GTO bot.

This is great because practice makes perfect, and due to its ability to filter very specifically, you can play one spot 100 times in just a couple of hours, which in real play would only occur once or twice per session.

Go check out GTO Wizard and get 10% off your first month as a member of the Poker Ambition community


PIO solver
The main strength of GTO Wizard could also be considered as its weakness. Because it is all pre-solved, it is not customizable.

Now, I don’t think customizing is a function you will need if you are just starting, but at some point in your career, I think it is useful to get a solver who has that option next to your GTO Wizard.

There are many custom solvers out there, but I think PIO solver was one of the first together with Simple Postflop. I have used both, Simple Poker more in the beginning and for 3-way sims and PIO solver more over the last few years.

If you’re interested, go check out Simple Poker via this link.

It does require some firepower of your computer depending on how advanced you want your sims to get. The main things I use PIO for instead of GTO wizard are;

  • Adjusting preflop ranges, stack sizes, and bet sizes. As I mentioned, the GTO wizard is pre-solved, they have given the criteria with which the solver came up with a GTO strategy using those criteria. However, sometimes I might want to use different criteria like adding a bigger or smaller sizing or removing certain sizings to see how the simplified strategy would look like. Or I might play a range that is a bit different than what GTO Wizard is using. I might also want to test some concepts regarding why a solver does something by increasing or decreasing the stack size or giving someone a wider or tighter range. Because remember, I don’t only look at the solver for what to do, I use it to try and find concepts about how poker is played in theory.

  • Node locking, which is a very important function in the solver. I heard someone say once that if you have never node-locked you are not using a solver right. I think this is very much true. Great players have the ability to node lock in their head, they understand the theory, see what their opponents are doing wrong, and make the correct adjustment. But what is the correct adjustment? Well, we can ask a solver. For example, let’s say that our opponent folds/raises/bets more or less and see what our adjustment is going to be. Solvers aren’t there just to teach you GTO poker, but also what to do if someone is leaking and how to punish this. If I look at outputs in GTO Wizard, I can do this in my head as I have spent many hours studying sims and node locking. But if you have not developed this skill just yet, PIO solver or Simple Postflop, which offers the same features, are going to help you in your poker career.

So, if you are already at mid stakes, I would recommend including PIO solver or Simple Postflop in your poker software arsenal.


Population research
Learning to play theoretically solid poker, which should not be mistaken by copying the solver, is the most important thing to do in the beginning. Just know that the game does not end there.

Because, as we both know, and a big argument the anti-GTO movement keeps on making, your opponents are often not playing GTO. They are making mistakes that we can take advantage of.

I explained to you that by using customizable solvers, node locking function we can consult the solver on how to play more maximizing strategies versus players who have leaks.

To look for spots where the population is leaking, we can use Holdem Manager, which I mentioned before. Another effective and popular software in this area is the program Hand2Note (H2N). I also use H2N for my HUD and it can also be used as a tracker, but that’s not my preferred option.

In H2N there is a function called ‘range research’. In this function, we can select a group of players on which we want to see the average hands and statistics in a certain spot. With this, we can get a better read on what certain actions mean.

You can select a VPIP and PFR that represents a regular. Then make it a bit lower or higher, to group wider or tighter professionals or up it all the way so you can get a better idea of how recreational players play in certain spots and what kind of opportunities arise.

Then you can add any statistic you’d like to your layout. Let H2N run an analysis and you will get the average hands played and other stats of your population in every spot or line you’re interested in. With that, you can make better exploitative adjustments and maximize your EV.

In Holdem Manager we can do similar things, only here we would have to create our alias and run every filer separately, which may consume more time than it will gain outputs.

Check our Holdem Manager now >>>

Check out Hand2Note here >>>

Both GTO and population research are important areas to spend time on if you want to excel as a poker player. Poker is not copying the solver, but it is also not making 100/0 plays every time based on population research findings.

There are a lot of nuances to the game that easily get forgotten and ignored if you create a simplified strategy based on population leaks. Also, the more extreme you go, the more trouble you will get at mid-high stakes to keep winning.

Just like with a solver it is very important to try to understand why the population has a certain leak. Trying to understand the psychology behind it, so you can find the exceptions and add important nuances to your strategy.

I would say that becoming theoretically solid is the most important. From there start to add harder exploits to your game, based on population research.


HUDs
As mentioned, an advantage that online poker players have compared to live players is that they can use HUDs.

HUDs are crucial if you play multiple tables and are looking to make adjustments to your game based on how your opponents are playing.

I think a HUD can easily be overused. The main purpose of a HUD is to help you categorize player types, and not to find out exactly what someone is doing in a specific spot.

The problem with going too much based on HUD stats is the sample size. It’s very hard to get a big enough sample on particular spots, especially on turn/river that is accurate enough to adjust on.

However, basic numbers in preflop VPIP PFR and post-flop AGG or WWSF (the % of the time someone wins the pot post-flop aka how much someone fights for pots) can give you a good picture of what type of player you are up against.

The smaller your pool is, the more you start playing against the same players, so the bigger your samples become. If that is the case, you can start digging a bit deeper into HUD stats.

To figure out if a stat is high/low, and based on that make the correct adjustment, you still need to understand what the “correct” GTO frequencies are or what is average for your population in a spot.

The better way is to study GTO to understand what is right, so we read the data of a HUD or population and say with confidence that something is a mistake.

Or group various types of players like aggressive regs, passive regs, tighter fish versus whales, and understand their general tendencies and how your strategy should shift.

Only use HUDs to help you identify what profile you’re up against.


Mods, multiple tools, and helpers
There are many other ways to make the online poker grind easier, so you can use all your brain capacity for making tough decisions in your hands.

The way I see your brain is as a battery that starts at 100% at the beginning of your sessions and with every action you take, you’re wasting some of that energy.

Therefore, I would always recommend using a tool like Stars Caption/helper (I believe caption has a version for 888 and party as well).

What a tool like this does is set pre-chosen bet sizings pre-flop and post-flop, so you don’t have to waste energy in clicking them yourself. The same goes for calculating pot odds, SPR on the next street after your bet, etc, etc.

If you are starting to play a bit higher stakes, you might want to start combining sites to play on, as the action per site starts dropping when stakes increase. Also, at this point in your career focusing more on hourly and finding better games becomes a more important aspect.

One tool to make this easier is Jurojin. Create custom layouts and set placements for tables across various sites, as well as shortcuts and extra table information.

Another way to make multi-tabling more enjoyable is by using a custom layout aka a table MOD.

People who watch my streams have seen that my 888 and PokerStars look very much alike. That is because I installed a mod.

If you find a mod that is available for multiple sites you can have all sites look the same, which makes grinding multiple sites at the same time way smoother for your eyes.

I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any further suggestions let me know.

All the best,

Rene 'TheWakko' Kuhlman


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