As poker enters the digital age, it’s interesting to see what aspects and artifacts of the game get updated. Some changes are minor – for example, the option to view a deck in four color mode online. Some are more extreme – witness the introduction of dealerless, chipless tables at several US casinos in the last year. The majority of changes fall in the middle, such as the evolution of the traditional poker ‘cheat card.’ What was once a paper chart with varying levels of information about hand rankings and basic poker math has morphed into a new breed of fairly sophisticated software commonly referred to as poker odds calculators. One of the more robust offerings in this category is Texas Calculatem.
Texas Calculatem is a program that operates in real-time, attaching to the poker table you’re playing and offering analysis of the strength of your hand based on a variety of factors. Texas Calculatem will also propose a course of action based on its evaluation of your strength. Unlike some odds calculators, the program is on the acceptable use list of all major poker rooms, including Poker Stars.
The upside to Texas Calculatem is simple: it offers solid advice in real-time based on a deep analysis of available information. What information? Your cards, your position, the actions of your opponents, community cards (when applicable), a range of relevant poker odds and more. That sort of function is invaluable for all players, but it’s especially helpful for newer players who are still incorporating fundamental lessons about profitable poker into their game. Texas Calculatem reinforces several of those critical lessons, including the value of position, the importance of proper drawing odds, and the value of isolating weak players.
The software is very easy to use. Open a poker table and open Texas Calculatem, and then drag Texas Calculatem over the game window you’d like to use it with. The program will automatically attach to that table and begin offering analysis as soon as you start getting cards.
Another plus: the software is fairly customizable, so once you’ve graduated past basic lessons, there’s a good amount that can be done with settings to adjust for very passive players, very aggressive players, and various other game nuances that become more important after you’ve attained a firm grasp on the fundamentals.
As far as I could tell, the software can only be used on one table at a time, which might be a drawback for some players who like to multi table. Calculatem also prefers that game windows be standard size, so if you like to resize your windows to be very small or large, you might have some trouble getting Calculatem to work properly.
The purchase price is about $70, but you can get the software for free by opening a poker account at various rooms and meeting a minimum hand requirement.
This is a useful tool for players who are looking to solidify their understanding of poker, especially cash games (although it’s useful for tournaments as well). While it’s not something advanced players will have a lot of use for, beginning and intermediate players will certainly gain some valuable insights with a few hours of use.
Like any software, this won’t magically make you a better player. It has to be used as part of a larger approach to the game that involves study of the game and your play. If you’re already doing those things, Texas Calculatem will help you improve.
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