Essential Poker Tools

by trikkur

Throughout my poker training videos, I use two important poker tools that I believe are crucial to every poker player. One of them will cost you a small amount of money up front to use, but the other one is totally free of charge. If you want to become a serious poker player even at just the micro stakes, you will be at a great disadvantage without either of these at your disposal.


I am going to start with the free poker software known as PokerStove that can be downloaded here. PokerStove will be your best friend throughout the entirety of your poker career. You can use PokerStove to analyze the equity your hand/range has versus another hand/range on different boards. For example, you want to know what the chance of winning if you get it all in with 6d 7d against QQ, KK, or AA on a 4d 5d Jh flop? No problem.

PokerStove Equity Calculation

PokerStove Equity Calculation – Click to Enlarge

I will also use PokerStove to estimate my opponent’s hand range based on knowing what % of hands he or she is playing. For example, you either know from stats or estimate from playing with someone that they raise about 20-25% of their hands preflop. You can go to preflop range settings set the slider to that percentage of hands or create your own range of hands until you fill out 20-25%.

PokerStove Preflop Range

PokerStove Preflop Range – Click to Enlarge


The first software that I open when I’m about to play and the last one I close when I’m done playing is called PokerTracker. It takes all your hand histories and imports them into a database on your computer. This was you can easily see how much money you have won or lost during each session, but it does so much more.

PokerTracker Session

PokerTracker has changed a bit since I played this session, but the idea is still the same. Click to Enlarge

PokerTracker can tell you an enormous number of stats from these hand histories that have been imported. Things such as your preflop raise percentage, the number of times you folded to a flop check/raise, to the times you 4-bet after being the preflop raiser. All of this information is available to you at your fingertips with the ability to find your leaks and ways to fix them.

Not only can you find out your own statistics, but these numbers will also be available for all of the opponents you played during the hands. You can use this information to spot weaknesses against your regular opponents and exploit them next time you see them at the tables. PokerTracker has a built in system to display your opponent’s stats for you while you are playing at the tables called a HUD (heads up display). You will see me using a HUD in a lot of my early Full Tilt Poker videos.

HUD Stats

My HUD stats during the Trikkur 6 video

Buy PokerTracker

PokerTracker has a purchase price of $99.99, but there is a 30-day free trial that you can use to get accustomed to the software before you make your final decision. They have generously created a small stakes payment tier that works up to 50NL for only $59.99. This will purchase price includes a lifelong license to use PokerTracker and the associated HUD that comes with it.

  • TTibi

    How will these tools help you in live play?

    • Jonathan Stephens

      Admittedly they are made for use with online poker. However, playing around with ranges in PokerStove is a great way to familiarize with the statistics of Hold ’em. You can help identify which types of hands (suited connectors, broadway, Ax, etc) play well against others, which will help if you know your opponent is a flush chaser or places any ace.

      PokerTracker is pretty much impossible for a live poker player to use, but I would make sure you keep detailed notes of your sessions wins and losses. Keep a notebook or excel sheet updated every time you get home from the casino with the time you started and ended along with the net win or loss for the day. Maybe keep a few notes even such as “lost big all in with AQ vs AK after the ace flopped. Maybe play tighter vs Joe next time?” This will help you track which days and times you play best at as well as being necessary for tax purposes.