Holdem Manager 3 is a fantastic and cutting-edge poker heads-up display and database software product, available for PC . Holdem Manager 3 offers a two-week free trial of their full software, which you can access directly on their website . Let's take a closer look at the software with our Holdem Manager 3 Review. Alongside Pokertracker 4 , this product dominates the niche market in which it specialises, and this is in part because they have been in the industry for so long and are regarded as being highly reliable for in-game use, and also because they support the use of a huge number of poker sites. In fact, the two products HM3 and Pokertracker 4 have merged, although they will still provide both products separately and provide support and updates as well as new releases for both packages. Whilst these two pieces of poker kit provide a similar level of functionality, they do have their own unique style and user experience, with accompanying loyal fan bases of users, and this is surely a big part of their decision to continue to bring both products to market after the merger. It is true that some major poker sites have fairly recently shut the door on the use of heads-up display software (HUDs) such as this product, citing the desire to keep the games appealing to all players, recreational and professional alike. The most significant sites to do these have been GGPoker and Party Poker . Despite this, Holdem Manager 3 remains highly useful across numerous other sites, and a required part of a cross-platform player's poker toolkit. While the sites mentioned above won't permit use of the heads-up display which appears transparently over your table with opponent statistics while you are playing, the software can still be used legitimately for post-game review even for these sites. Let's take a quick tour of the top features of this software package, HM3 . If you're interested to find out more than we cover in this review, Holdem Manager 3 has excellent user support on its website. Installation & Import HM3 is designed with its users' comfort and quick-fire play in mind, and as such, the software is extremely well designed and beginner-friendly. However it is worth noting that since the product does require the storage and organisation of huge amounts of data from player hands, it naturally does need to incorporate database management to function, a product called postgres . This shouldn't present any complexities in installation or daily use, however, but databases can require clean-up or other maintenance over the years of use as your database grows. Holdem Manager 3 functions with a huge range of poker sites, including the big ones such as Pokerstars and iPoker skins such as Betsson to the smaller sites. There are also add-on packages provided for tracking certain lesser-used sites or mobile apps that have PC functionality, such as some of the so-called Asian apps. The software provides functionality for the real-time import of hands as you play them, as well as the capacity to import old hands stored on your computer for later review. Heads Up Display Holdem Manager's heads-up display is the core and most regularly used feature which consists of a semi-transparent overlay which layers over your tables when you play poker. Assuming the site permits usage, and you have it correctly configured (a simple matter of clicking through a few settings per site) this will then provide you with real-time statistical guidance on your opponents' play-based hands which you've played with them or directly seen them play previously. The most basic HUD stats seen in pretty much every HUD ever used would include VPIP (voluntarily put money in pot), PFR (preflop raise), and 3bet %, as well as simple facts such as the number of hands you've observed them play. HM3 actually also offers a graphical HUD feature, which indicates some of these key statistics as coloured circles around the player logos, saving you time glancing at numbers in an overlay. These have limited complexity compared with the fully-customisable numerical HUDs. Hand Analysis Reports The reports section of Holdem Manager 3 is very useful for quick or extended analysis of your own game, and is laid out in such a way to be less daunting to players starting out working on their game. This comes equipped with useful quick filters , which can be used to dive straight into any key area of your game and pick it apart. For example, you can dive into spots where you 3bet preflop and then cbet the flop, or indeed where you chose to check the flop in position or out of position. The software will then offer you a range of scenarios further distinguished by situation, for example, based on board texture or considering only certain holdings or spots with a certain number of players seeing the flop. This is a huge time-saver for working more deeply on your game without the hassle of preparing your own custom report filters (which you can of course still do if you wish). HM3 has also updated its settings for detailed filters which can now be arranged using elegant and helpful AND, OR and NOT qualifiers to stack and combine the ways in which you design a specific filter. For example, you could consider only situations where you had raised preflop AND continuation bet the flop, but NOT seen a two-tone flop. The Hand Replayer function of Holdem Manager has always been a staple feature and very useful for doing full session reviews, and has been updated to be graphically more pleasing to the eye in the latest version, as well as having the option to display your stack in big blinds rather than in chips. One feature that is really special about Holdem Manager 3 is the Opponent Analysis section, where you can look at a specific opponent of your choice out of any in your database, or compare two opponents of your choice in detail. This will show you that player's overall stats, biggest pots played against them, as well as give you options to go on a deeper dive into statistical analysis of their game. Comparing two opponents' games (including your own) will show horizontal bar charts which gauge whether one player or the other makes certain moves with higher frequency, such as continuation betting, raising flop, folding to a river bet, and so on. Final thoughts on Holdem Manager 3... Holdem Manager 3 is just one of those software packages that you could literally explore for months of detailed usage without exhausting all the possibilities. Even though it has this near-endless complexity, the software is still a really good choice for less-experienced players, since it is so quick and easy to get started using it to good effect. If you want to improve your poker game and you aren't already using a HUD, HM3 is an excellent option. If you're playing professionally, or have immediate ambitions to do so, you really shouldn't be without it. Don't forget to check out all the other excellent guides available in our PokerDeals Strategy Section , and be sure to hop in the PokerDeals Discord if you'd like to ask anything, or just talk poker.
Variance can be cruel, or uplifting, negative or positive. One thing's for sure - it's here to stay. Even the best players in the world are subject to it. As Richard Swift put it in the awesome song of the same name, "But I wish sometimes that Lady Luck, she would find some time to spend with me ”. We can relate, Rich! What is Variance? Variance is the term given to the uncertain short-term outcomes for which poker is well known, but it can of course apply to the swings in fortune you will see in any game where luck plays a role. The good thing about luck, of course, is that it is borrowed, not owned. In the long run everyone will roll an equal number of sixes, if we sit around rolling dice. The long run can be very long indeed (arguably millions of hands depending on the game format in question), but in the longest of long runs, luck will be distributed entirely evenly across all players, leaving only skill to determine who is ahead. This is the case with any game where the skill element is significant enough to play a major role, which there is no doubt that it is in poker, well established as a +EV skill game (positive equity value), meaning that it is beatable by dint of skill if you are sufficiently better than your opponents (and if you are not playing < 10bbs deep and/or with insanely high rake). Does Variance Matter? If you have infinite (or just very large) bankroll and the patience of a Buddha, variance doesn't really matter, as you can simply endure (or even enjoy!) the potentially seismic swings and treat it as the thrills of the rollercoaster. For all of us mere mortals, variance tends to matter, or at least feel that it matters, a good bit. It can be pretty rough to play through a big downswing, and it can also certainly cause you to second-guess your play, perhaps in spots where there is no need to do so. It's certainly true that most experienced downswings tend to be a combination of variance and human errors, which will of course compound any impact which variance has on your play. Telling one from the other can be pretty tricky. On the flip side, positive variance is also a thing, though fewer people tend to realise they are experiencing it. If you find yourself on the positive side of variance, especially near the start of your poker journey, you may simply feel that you are God's gift to the game, long before your poker skills are really honed. This may give you a feeling of complacency which can limit your ability to grow as a player, or cause quite a shock when you hit your first downswing. Measuring Variance The tools are now available to measure variance really quite accurately, at least in terms of understanding how much of it exists in different types of poker games. This very fine tool from PokerDope is the best one online for doing exactly that, and you can program the settings of this calculator to measure how likely you are to have certain outcomes at a certain skill level in a certain MTT or SNG. There's also a similar calculator for cash. To save you some trouble, we can provide some good rules of thumb for you right here in this article. If you're playing cash poker and you are confident that you have a skill edge on the field, you likely need at least 30-40 buy-ins to avoid much risk of ruin (going busto) especially if you are multi-tabling or playing zoom format. For a SNG grind that goes up to at least 75-100 buy-ins , which is also a good minimum for micro stakes MTTs . If you move up to the midstakes or higher for MTTs , you really should be sitting down to play with at least a few hundred buy-ins available. For all formats this should be measured against your average buy-in. Managing Variance If you choose to control the amount of variance which you encounter, instead of simply "embracing the ride” as remarked above, we'd be in agreement that this is generally wise, and a good way of having a lower stress existence and enjoying the game to the max. Should you go this route, there are a number of ways in which you can control the amount of variance in your poker grind right from the off, and a lot of it comes down to game selection. As noted above, choosing cash as your main grind is one way to go, as you certainly need the fewest buy-ins in your bankroll to weather the variance. This is simply due to the fact that chips are chips in cash poker, and you can sit and stand up as you please. MTT players on the other hand might run great at the start of a tourney and terrible at the end, or vice versa, and this is one reason there is a lot of variance in the MTT grind. If you do play cash, you can further reduce the impact of variance by buying in with 100bbs rather than 200bbs , or by sitting out when you reach 150 or 200 big blinds , and sitting a new table with 100 , especially if you have more skill edge with 100 big blind stacks. Bear in mind this will also cap your potential value gained in each pot. Another way to crush variance is simply to table select well and to sit spots where you have a large skill edge, as the impact of variance will be less the more profitable you are in a game. Long-handed tables also have less variance (and sometimes less value) than short-handed. If we're talking SNGs or MTTs , the smaller the field size, the less impact variance will tend to have. It is really not possible to measure your skill level according to your financial results in MTTs for example until you have a game sample of many thousands of games played, simply due to the size of the potential swings. So the gold standard for a low variance MTT grind is soft field, small field size, good structure. If you want to reduce it still further, knockouts and progressives reduce variance since you can win money before the bubble, though again your potential ROI (return on investment) will also be more capped in these games. Making Peace with Variance However much you opt to control the impact of variance on your play, it is important to realise that it's a baked-in part of the game of poker, and that this is a good thing. Frankly, the fun players wouldn't keep coming back to the game if they had no chance to win in the short-term. This is especially true of the MTT world, where beginners (with a bankroll!) can rub shoulders with the best in the world, something which you can say for very few sports or competitive endeavours on this Earth. Variance keeps the poker world turning, and without it we would literally just have a bunch of battle-hardened regulars out-grimming one another at the felt all day long and playing for razor thin edges. Every game would be the Hot $215 on Pokerstars , essentially. The good news is that it is possible for you to make peace with variance and not to sweat its impact on your game, past taking sensible steps to limit this as noted above. Beyond that it is important to find equanimity, and to accept that we are going to frequently face outcomes we don't want in a poker game, there is literally no way to avoid that. Don't go folding those Jacks just because you might have tough spots with them, it's all part of the ride. Some simple steps to achieving a zero-tilt mentality with regard to variance are to remind yourself, if you're an MTT player, that you will frequently finish 11th , or 9th , or 24th when you make that deep run. If you're a cash player, you'll have downswing days, don't sweat it and don't chase those losses. Suffering over variance has compounded many a poker player's losses as they go on tilt after a casual player hits a 2-outer against them in a 400bb pot and they get steamed and start to punt, throwing bad money after good (to reverse the old saying). If you'd like to read more PokerDeals guidance on mindset, check out our PokerDeals Mindset 101 post here . Breathe, remember it's better than working down the mines, and remember how lucky we are able to sit and play this beautiful game. In the long run you'll deal out exactly as many bad beats as you'll receive. You can't avoid that, but you can certainly avoid stressing out over it. Enjoy the game. If it's no longer fun, it's time to hit the beach, the mountain trails, or just sit down with a friend or lover and get some real life EV time.
Pokerstars Deposit Bonus
- OFFER -
Partypoker First Deposit Bonus
- OFFER -
Red Star Deposit Bonus!
- OFFER -
Subscribe to Pokerdeals.comPoker Deals
Join the PokerDeals community and take advantage of exclusive content and giveaways!