New version of Poker-Spy offers very little in terms of feature updates.
This poker software product has been downgraded twice now since it's original review, due to no updates and out-of-date software.
Poker Spy 2
Reviewed by: BaddBeatBobb (live and online NLH ring and tournament player)
I have to confess. When I came across a product with the alluring title “Poker SPY” I was pretty darn excited. I thought, here might be a way to get into the dark underbelly of gritty poker knowledge, like those old database trollers that could pull up data on your villains even though you’d never seen them before. No such luck. Poker Spy is in the well known world of empirical calculators which only poker-spy poker calculator gathers data for tables you are playing at. So, no arcane knowledge, but what do you get? I tested it over 2500 hands of Sit-and-Go play to get a sense of what it does for the player.
Essentially, Poker-Spy will track moves that you and your opponents make around the ring. It flags what it considers mistakes in play, and it alerts you with color-coded dots. The categories it tracks include Passive play, Aggressive play, Blinds play, Questionable hand choices, and Bluffs. It also retrieves mucked hands at showdown, so you can see what kinds of crazy calls your table full of donkeys and sharks are making. The play analysis and flagging represents the core of Spy, and most users will probably derive 80% of their value from this feature. Other features include the Table Aggression factor, a number of Reports for post-game analysis, Hand Review, and numerous graphs of profitability (or loss).
My main impression is that Spy is trying to do too much and thus not doing any one thing particularly well. Several times it alerted me that “Player X did not attempt steal from the cutoff!” Early stage sit and go tournament, that’s not an unusual “alarm”, so that may only be more relevant in a cash game setting. It actually once alerted me that “BaddBeatBobb re-raised AA from the big blind!” Again, yes, thanks for that, but that is a standard play more that might be more alarming had I NOT re-raised! One of the newer features of the latest version of Poker-Spy added notations about players making possible river bluffs. It was on the interesting side of valuable, but I wasn’t able to output it to good use during the sit and go tracking. Some river bluffing plays were rather obvious to me, but the software didn’t help me in any form of calculation anyhow as to what to do about it. The bets were just bets in the normal sense and I still had to use my own judgment as to what to do. It is nice that Poke-Spy retrieves mucked cards on the river, but that’s a pretty standard feature of poker calculators these days.
The biggest problem with Spy wasn’t so much the things it was trying to do well. Spy’s main problem is that it does not play well with others in the sand box. Since most serious online players will be using software like Tournament Indicator or Poker Tracker with PA HUD, I thought I’d try stress-testing spy with another calculator running simultaneously. I chose TI for this test, because it’s my calculator of choice, and I’ve never ever had a stability issue with it before – until I ran it with Spy. The Spy window kept shoving itself over top of the Tournament Indicator window, even after I’d move it to its own spot. That’s pretty aggravating, and it’s hard to see why it’s necessary. Furthermore, Spy kept causing Tournament Indicator to crash. This happened about once per session. I’ve never seen Tournament Indicator crash. I’ve seen my whole system crash (Win XP Pro) and Tournament Indicator is still sitting there, alive, well, and looking for a poker table to latch on to. Poker software programmers in this sense must really start to take this into account more seriously, because the trend now is that one piece of software isn’t enough for the users who choose to use software in the first place.
I’m well aware that some heavy hitters have endorsed Poker-Spy, even Alan Schoonmaker, a guy I really respect, however that recommendation, like the software itself seems to be aging away from its own relevance. In my view, Poker-Spy does a few things adequately and does far too many things marginally. I simply couldn’t grasp more value from using Poker-Spy features that aren’t already included in some other programs that offer much more. It’s also far too prone to trigger conflicts with other calculator software.
Poker-Spy may simply not be worth the investment anymore as several software introductions have handily surpassed Poker-Spy’s features over the last year and a half. If not for Poker-Spy’s hand reviewer feature there would be no reason to choose it over something like Tournament Indicator, Hold’em Indicator or Poker Traker with PA HUD.
BaddBeatBobb’s final grade: C-
Poker Spy Review
This was the original review of Poker-Spy done in 2006.
Does this picture look confusing? Really, it should. Consider this program like new accounting software - it has a learning curve, but once you know the basics, many tasks become automatic and the true power of the software comes out in the quality of information delivered back to you. Enter Poker-Spy . It's classified here with the intuitive group of poker calculators because it collects statistical actions on the players at your table, and converts them into clever alerts, color codes, and reports that can tell you more about opponents than their own mother.
This somewhat oversized spreadsheet attaches to the bottom of your poker window (after the first couple hands) and quietly goes to work recording every detail of each hand, while breaking it down to a diverse array of alerts and graphs. yes there is a calculator of course, in fact one of the easiest to read and understand. But that is the smallest part of the information available to you from Poker Spy.
The unique Alert system shows things like loose/tight and passive/aggressive tendencies, poor card selection, good or bad positioning, and sneaky plays etc. Once you get set up and make sense of all the indicators, you may find yourself exploring all the reports available as well.. It is - truly an in-depth look at your opponents, and yourself. Poker-Spy keeps records of you and your opponents. So you can analyze your play over the last 1000 hands or so, and try to recognize patterns and make poker spy calculator adjustments. I found out myself that my small blind play was a big leak in my game and I decided to tighten up and stop the losses from that position.
The Best of it: This software is the most informative of all, with an excellent balance between usability and reporting. It is a great tool for analyzing your own play and identifying opponent characteristics. I have used the Alert system to come over the top of players I identified as tight, and others who have played way too many hands out of position. The records will also distinguish player stats between full table and short handed play. The vast amount of information available here will make you the most informed player at the table.
In with the worst of it: Attaching to a table is slow, and the hand information seems to be delayed one hand - granted the full hand details is being extracted, every hand. The only other thing I could suggest for improving this is for the program to use the vast amount of information to make recommendations, as there are none whatsoever. It works on a limited number of poker sites, but Party Poker is among them.
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