Understanding hand values is one of the most necessary, yet frustrating, skills that poker players of all types have to develop in order to succeed.
Helping players to hone that skill is the core focus of the suite of tools that makes up Ace Poker Drills, a software package from the same company behind LeakBuster, a massively popular add-on for Holdem Manager.
Tip: Get software like this free with PTP Rake Rewards.
Ace Poker Drills: Overview
Ace Poker Drills has three core components: The Odds and Outs Trainer, the Pre-Flop Trainer, and the Equity Trainer. Each component functions pretty much as the name would suggest; the Odds and Outs trainer presents you with a variety of scenarios and quizzes you on how many outs you have in each. The Pre-Flop trainer and the Equity Trainer work in a similar fashion, except that the PF trainers quizzes you on what actions (call, fold, raise, etc) you should prefer in various situations and the Equity Trainer asks you to identify your equity percentage (the value of your hand against your opponent’s likely holdings) in sample situations.
All of the tools share a common goal: To help you internalize some of the more essential (and complicated) knowledge involved in good poker decision-making. The logic is compelling; if you quiz yourself frequently enough on common equity situations, for example, you won’t have to to struggle to estimate equity when you’re actually playing. Instead, the training will instill the knowledge deeply enough that it becomes almost second nature.
APD also includes an equity calculator – think a feature-rich version of PokerStove.
Ace Poker Drills: Pros
This software has an enormous amount of potential to improve the games of players at almost all levels. It does a great job of providing a relatively simple way to really learn the fundamentals of cash games (although it holds a good deal of value for tournament players as well).
The preflop trainer and odds and outs calculator are especially useful tools for newer players who would otherwise have to learn those lessons the hard way via actual real-money play.
The equity calculator is a nice upgrade for those players that are still using Pokerstove; APD’s equity calculator allows you to import hands from your HEM database (and run the calculation at any point in the hand), will auto-assign ranges and allows you to export the results, among other features.
The equity trainer, however, is the star of the show. If you’re a player that has a hard time understanding standard hand ranges and how to play against them, this tool is one of the best options you have for conquering that deficit. Past that, players of just about any level will find adding the equity trainer to their toolbox a no-brainer, as there really isn’t another commercial software package offering what APD is providing.
APD comes with a brief set of video tutorials, along with PDF documentation.
You can try APD for free – they offer a 24 hour, fully-functional trial.
Pricing: You can buy ala carte or as a package. The Odds / Outs software is free, Pre-Flop is $19.99, and the Equity Trainer is $24.99 – or get all for $39.99.
Ace Poker Drills: Screenshot
Ace Poker Drills: Cons
Not really a con, but a caveat – Ace Poker Drills isn’t meant to teach you how to play poker. It’s meant to specifically drill patterns and relationships regarding equity and odds into your brain. That means that the program (excepting the preflop trainer) will often put you in situations that that you wouldn’t ever want to be in (cold calling weak aces in EP, for instance), because it’s only concerned with generating a possible scenario and testing your ability to recognize odds / evaluate equity. It’s important, especially for inexperienced players, to make this distinction, and the program could do a bit better of a job on that score.
There are some minor interface issues that make the program run a bit less smoothly than it might, but nothing past minor annoyances. There are also a few spots where the quizzes are slightly wonky – in a few instances quizzes relied on illegal raise amounts – but that’s the exception and not the rule.
The one big request we’d have for future updates would be multiple opponent types (or, better yet, customizable opponent types) for the equity trainer – right now you’re limited to training against an opponent with standard TAG stats.
Ace Poker Drills: Verdict
Practice is essential to poker, and practicing with APD is a lot cheaper than learning one hand at a time in cash games. Replace an hour of play a day with an hour of APD and you’ll easily make more in the hours you do play.
Don’t Forget: Software and other tools like this are available free via PTP Rake Rewards.