Some are more of an attempt to cheat, like the many BOTS that are around. These are auto or semi-auto programs commonly used to play long sessions to clear a bonus. They come with preset strategies on how to play situations mathematically correctly, and on some, you can customize the playing styles. Most of these are active in the low to micro limits to avoid detection as any decent player can sniff them out and exploit them.
The same can be said about a few of the odds calculators on the market. They can deliver on-the-spot advice on what your next move should be, whether to check, bet, raise, or fold making them basically a manual BOT. This is the reason they are not allowed at multiple sites.
The use of online poker software is a murky area, with some claiming it is cheating, and others stating it is doing nothing you can not do yourself. (with a lot of spare time) I have found that the majority of the poker software haters have no idea on what they are commenting on, they tend to think all poker software is out to cheat them in some way, like seeing your hole cards or do something that would be clearly classed as cheating. Then there are the other people who think a bit of poker software is a license to print money, unfortunately, they are both wrong.
Whatever your opinion is the fact is, online poker software is used more and more in today’s games and until there is a line drawn in the sand by poker rooms and players alike they will continue to be used.
With so many online poker tools around, the poker rooms have done a lot to keep everybody happy by allowing those poker tools that do not provide an unfair advantage to a player. What is an unfair advantage? I will not go over the BOTS again because there is no doubt that there intended to win money for a losing player.
No matter what your decision there is a vast amount of online poker software available so let’s start with odds calculators, A great tool for a new poker player to learn hand strengths and how to work out pot odds. On the “legit” side, Holdem Indicator and Tournament Indicator are allowed at all poker rooms. They both show preflop and post-flop hand strength, your outs, and odds to win the hand. With this information changing on every street, it can make it easier to make that big lay down or a well-timed re-raise, and now with a HUD, they have become a great intro into the world of stat tracking.
Then there are a few like Magic Holdem, Calculatem Pro, Holdem Genius that do the same as Holdem Indicator and Tournament Indicator but have an additional feature that excludes them from the allowed software list on most major sites. This is there in-game advice. Not only do they show your odds they also tell you what to do with your cards. If you can find a room that allows them, they can be an excellent way to see the hands you have been overplaying or underplaying and fix a few leaks.
If you have been playing poker for a while and looking for something more powerful, then focus on some of the advanced online poker software available such as Poker Office 5, Poker Edge 5, Poker Sharpener, Poker Tracker, and Holdem Manager with some of these definitely worth the investment. This type of poker software is intended for the serious poker player who wants to keep track of all their stats. All the ones mentioned do this, though some do a better job than others. There is so much available when you start looking for statistics and data tracking software with most doing an admirable job, though when comparing features and value for money in my opinion a lot fall short. With some of the poker software available such as Poker Edge not allowed at the leading sites, (due to its central database) it makes it hard to invest in, as well as the yearly subscription cost making it well overpriced. Whereas you can get the same features and more for a lifetime license with some of the others, like Poker office, Poker tracker and the clear standout Holdem Manager which are allowed at all online poker rooms and all having their own independent Postgres database where you import your hand histories.
Your poker software will then analyze all that information- giving you detailed stats on you and every player you have played against. With the ability to perform detailed graphs, reports, and even replay sessions, this poker software will always have a significant role in tracking your progress and managing your bankroll. Combined with the ability to access all your stats in-game through the HUD (heads up display), which displays useful stats on the player such as how often they put money in a pot or how often they raise preflop, you have everything you need to help make yourself into a profitable poker player.