It doesn’t really matter what field you happen to be active in, glitzy software packages are not a substitute for actually thinking by yourself. Take PokerTracker and Holdem Manager for example, these software packages are great at what they do. They can help you plug leaks in your game and also find leaks in the games of your opponents. They can assist you in being able to classify players which help you in being able to game select and they can also assist you in being able to spot collusion. In short then they are great tools to have at your disposal.
However they do have chronic weaknesses but that is only the case if you come to rely on them too heavily. For example let us take a 20,000 sample size that you have on a certain player and that their stats are 22/15/2.1 in six handed play. Now that 22% VPIP figure may indicate a certain range………but how accurate is it?
Players will not routinely play the top 22% of poker hands in that situation and good players certainly won’t. This is because of the fact that players constantly adjust at a high level to what they are seeing their opponents do. So a player may three bet with a hand that is far outside the 22% category simply because their opponent is also opening wider than what they should be. Likewise if someone they knew well was a rock, their three betting and calling range may be smaller in that instance. Or if they liked to float and a certain player or table line up liked to fire many multiple barrels then they may float less often and then fold.
So good players constantly adjust their ranges and so the basic tracker data is basically far less effective than what you think. You then have to dig deeper into the data but this takes time of course and even then, if a player is sophisticated enough to balance their play then it is debatable how helpful it can be. This is not to imply of course that it isn’t helpful at all, at the end of the day then knowledge is power and it is a big advantage to have as much data as you possibly can.
At levels where your opponents are not adjusting or not adjusting all that much then you can use tracking software more effectively. In fact up to the NL50 level then they can significantly add to your bottom line and the price of the software can be returned in a very short space of time. However there is simply more to winning poker and making money at poker than using software of any kind. These software packages do not help you to play the hands, they cannot put you into the right frame of mind, allow you to exercise money management philosophy and they certainly cannot help you if you suffer from an idle mind. Poker is very good to people who take the time and effort to work hard. Working hard at the poker table will always reward certain people because too many people in poker simply expect decent poker play and software to do all of the work for them while they basically waste time answering e-mails and playing video games while they play poker and is it any wonder that they fail to make money?