Poker-Spy has been around for longer than most other poker calculators and quietly ushered in the classification of empirical poker calculators. That being the type that offered you not only poker odds and drawing information while extracting the pertinent data from your poker screen, but also keeping track of you and your opponent’s profiles.
In fact, with Poker-Spy, profiling becomes the main thrust of this software along with hand history data to use during and after your game. While playing, Poker-Spy devised a readable hand history grid that progresses until all action for the most recent 17 hands are displayed with the winner and amount of the pot, while reminding you of your hole cards and those of any opponents that were revealed during play. Within this grid, you can click on any of those hands (they are numbered for easy reference) that occurred for more detailed betting, position, and pot information. The cross grid panel illuminates by way of background color extra information too, offering up data showing which players were not in the hand, pre-flopped raised, or simply saw the flop. Now all of these grid sections and squares can be a little confusing at first, but I think Poker-Spy does a nice job here of making this data quite clear and understandable. In cash and ring games, it also classifies your opponent into the classic poker player profile grid first described by Dr. Alan Schoonmaker, in his book the Psychology of Poker – as in Loose-Passive and Tight-Aggressive etc.
While hand play is in progress at your table, Poker-Spy created the patent pending Alert System that with tiny, numbered and colored circles adjacent to the players name within the Poker-Spy tracking grid, you can quickly view what Poker-Spy has deemed “questionable” play from your opponents. These visual aids help you quickly discern plays such as blind plays, out-of-position moves, or re-raises perhaps. The extent that such plays are made numerous times is represented within those circles by a corresponding digit clearly visible.
The data itself is further transformed into a database of hand history analysis that you may find yourself poring over to find out things like, what hand you play that has won you the most money, or lost you’re the most money. What position at the table is most or least profitable for you? Your pre-flop and post-flop play is also measured statistically for your own benefit as well. These reports of you and opponents you have played against are managed in the hand summary report, the hand analysis report, and the player report. In a substantial way, Poker-Spy`s value lays within these reports which have done well by this program in the growing days of online poker. I personally recommended this software nearly two years ago now, but let`s fast forward to Poker-Spy 2.0 which was recently updated with a few new features, albeit hard to find as they were.
I was rather enthused about the update when Poker-Spy contacted me for another review, but when playing with the software, I had to look really closely to actually find the improvements. One of the improvements is a new set of alert indicators that include possible river bluffs made by your opponents. This is a feature that could be useful to new players, although it doesn’t offer any clue as to what your opponent has, the make-up of the board and the tendency of your opponent contribute to this marker. The other new feature in Poker-Spy is an addition to the extensive reports that includes pre-flop play in many different categories including position, raises and re-raises, and hole card strength.
Although Poker-Spy paved the way for some in-depth analysis of a poker player`s weaknesses, other programs have certainly tripled up on what seems to be a slow, but methodical progression to Poker-Spy. Truly I expected far more for a major update in terms of its poker calculator functions and its potential to work with other software simultaneously. In fact, I now fear that Poker-Spy is suffering from over-programming without sufficient poker-player input.
The designers at Poker-Spy have never really been aggressive marketers of the software and I think this inhibits some of the feedback that they might otherwise be getting from a field of affiliates more attuned to the game and the what the players are interested in – in terms of poker calculators. You can even get a sense for this lack of ambition in the presentation of the Poker-Spy website which really in its present day mock-up, could be a grand relic of the waybackmachine.
With all that said, Poker-Spy2 has actually dropped to 2 of 4 aces in the Poker Calculator Report value ranking. Not because Poker-Spy2 isn`t better than the original Poker-Spy, but because it`s features and operating program are now clearly behind several other empirical poker calculator products and self analysis software programs.
By Marty Smith
Marty Smith has video reviews of all the online poker calculators so you can see them being used before you decide which one is right for you. He also has a some free poker tournament strategy videos at MZoneReport.com