It’s Players That Don’t Know What HUDs Are Who Think HUDs are Bad For the Game

Here is an example of a player that doesn’t know what HUDs are.

This article is not intended for the novice, noob, or “fish” (I don’t really use that word) player.  However it is for the “rec” player, by the common definition and thewealthofchips definition.  What I mean to say is that the casual player should want to understand the points below as well as the ignorant uniformed player (like those in the article linked in this paragraph).

We start our issues with Mr. Simpsons understanding of a HUD here:

As soon as you buy in, everyone, before skill and variance get involved should be on an equal footing to maintain the games integrity. Ideally both online and live poker should have all of its players start out on an equal footing, but that is not the case for online play.

This is a fallacy, which is sort of a weird thing for me to say because the writer hasn’t really set out an argument. But the grounds on which he will lay out any argument are very “unsettled”.  Poker, especially historically, has been a game where different subgroups of players enter with varying levels of knowledge about what they are paying and playing for.   Poker is a game of unequal footing, established by the foundational rules set out to play it.

The argument is destined to be, if you are a following the rules, that is poker.

This isn’t my argument here at all, but it helps me make the point that equal footing is not at all a reason to ban advantages.  It would be silly to think this was a basis for logical reasoning, since poker is a game of unequal footing.  Such a rule of “equalization” must be seen as a(n) unfavourable communist step. Or in other words: Is our goal to make poker a game where no one has edge?

I have a weird way of making my points don’t I?

Poker Should Be Just Poker

So then we come to the obvious “moved goal post” where ignorant players will want to say “Poker should be just chips and cards with no ‘tools'”.  But of course this simplification isn’t at all practical.  I’m not saying others won’t agree with such a ludicrous diversion of reality, but I think we can put this to rest with simple observation of what is.

I read a book by Gus Hansen (Every Hand Revealed)-a great book, fun for the avid poker player.  Gus records every had he plays from a tournament, right after it happens, using a some form of a pocket recoding device (slightly before mobile app popularity). I’d like to point out in regard to live/online and HUD’s/databases this is essentially exactly what a “tracking software” program does.

Do we think it’s unfair Gus has a recording device at the table (even if he uses it only between hands)?

Its a far sillier question in today’s world isn’t it?

Today hands are being televised, tweeted, blogged, posted etc.  Many eyes see the hands played and some of those eyes come in the form of pure technology.

Who would argue against this reality?  No one sane.

So then “no cell phones” at the table becomes a ludicrous proposition, although of course we expect to be able to enforce some form of “no cell phones during the hand” much like 1 person 1 hand.

Society evolves.

“When you play online poker tracking software can give a big advantage to any player using it.”

Yes it CAN.  On the other hand for many it DOESN’T.

When we say “equal” playing field, what we are really referring to is anyone can purchase a HUD, learn to use it, and make use of it.

It is a skill in itself, just like betting well, learning the rules of the game, learning the etiquette, finding the casino, analysing data, studying, doing homework, getting coaching, watching poker videos, practising, and gaining experience.

Other related skills might be, coaching, lifestyle and healthy choices, reading, writing, developing software, public speaking and dialogues, skype chat, teamviewer meetings, podcasts, social media.

These are some of the advantages “winning” players have on you, if you think HUD’s should be regulated or banned.

Are we really for banning hand history collection and data analytics? Or do we just want HUDs to be banned IN game-play?

Am I still allowed to do homework so I can use past data to make +ev future decisions?

“I think tracking software should be built into the poker client, so that everyone can use it..”

Which poker provider do you think provides good enough software that they could add a HUD in their already existing programming code?

If you say Poker Stars then you don’t play on Poker Stars.
You want people to use shitty HUD’s, and I don’t understand why.

A few more questions…

In your poker world am I allowed to use flux?

f.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

Am I allowed to program hot keys for my computer outside of client software? Can I use two screens?  Can I browse the web while I play?

All of these things give me advantages, many players consider these things to have a positive expectation on their winrates.

So what is the specific problem with HUDs?

Many recreational players don’t even know that it exists at all, and are oblivious to it. This puts them at such a severe disadvantage.

By severe disadvantage we should be quantifying or at least qualifying what we mean.  You clearly seem to mean here that recreationals lose skill edge to players that have HUDs and so like AmayaStars and Bolshevik Russian governments you believe then that 3rd party owners of the economy should come in and enforce some equitable winrate distribution.

This is what you are suggesting. Yes it is.

Tracking software is insanely powerful nowadays.

Now the general reader should know what I am up to, and what the blogger quoted is doing. thewealthofchips wants to be scientific and reasonable, whereas other players want to tell use how INSANE HUDs are.

But we will get more insane:

The only way I can think of to neutralise database sharing would be to ban the software, but that in itself would cause massive problems. …software gurus making their own trackers without poker clients knowing it, forcing the practice underground.

Firstly the practice is clearly already functioning underground all the way to fully automated bots that we can expect to tend towards GTO over time (see how I did that?).  More importantly I should point out the above quote is not at all a reason to ban HUDs-it’s a clear reason NOT to ban them.

Quick Note on Profitability IS Security

 UniBet Poker’s client has random seating at its cash tables and I love that idea.

It wouldn’t surprise me. Let’s think about the trade off here.  Yes seating script issues are terrible for players of all types.  But choosing where you sit, where you play, where you study, where you practice etc. are all part of the “skill set” that might determine the level of performance you have as a poker player, either directly or indirectly.
For some players which table they sit at, and who they sit with, and who they sit beside are parameters of skill that define their winrates.  They will argue these are choices they make better than other poker players.

If you solve seating scripts with randomized seating, you take away some aspect of skill edge and therefore profitability from the players.

Just because there are some players willing to remain ignorant to this truth does not make it “moral”.

Randomized seating without an equivalent rake reduction for the inconvenience is not a solution but a pacifier for a certain type of baby.

The TRUTH About HUDs

Huds do not give any player a massive skill edge.  In tournament poker they are nearly useless and the actual calculated skill edge would be negligible vs any recreational players motivations wants or experience.

The problem is that most serious players are too terrible to understand the truth of this and so the myth gets perpetuated.

HUDs are useful for cash games, where all spots are nearly identical in stack size and position, and situation.  Every decision is WTA/ChipEv.

So what about HUDs and cash games?

HUDs are massively significant at higher stake games where only the most sophisticated edge can be gained.  But if you are a professional player then you have grown up with a HUD, if you are a recreational player, playing in high stakes online poker and you don’t know what a HUD is you have other problems in your life.

There is no case, such as a micro stakes cash games table, where fish are getting unfairly and unnecessarily slaughtered specifically because their opponents have HUDs.

HUDs aren’t doing this, HUDs don’t do that.

If you think HUDs are doing this, you don’t know what HUDs are.

What is poker?

You don’t get to decide.  Go back to the drawing board, and bring me a foundation for the game that doesn’t trample on mine or other players fundamental freedoms.

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