To stay one step ahead, serious tournament players usually analyze and improve their strategy. There are still a few winning players who are holding back from training, but it is only a matter of time until they surpass the ever-improving player pool.
Poker tools are extremely useful when it comes to perfecting your skills and are therefore essential for the modern tournament pro. But there are hundreds of poker tools on the market, so it's hard to know which one is best for you.
Today we're going to discuss three of the best free poker tools used by tournament pros on a daily basis.
This first poker tool is not specifically designed for tournaments - it is important for cash players too - but all tournament players should be familiar with it (or a similar tool such as the now defunct Poker Stove).
Equilab is a poker hand equity calculator, that is, it is software that calculates the likelihood that a given range of hand combination will win against another hand combination range. It's useful for assessing the history of combinations, but it's also a great tool for other things. Of course, you can also use Equilab to calculate how a particular layout affects the opponent's perceived range. Performing these calculations regularly is a great way for beginners to improve their skills.
Let's take a look at an example (if you've never done calculating the hand equity and range before, I recommend downloading Equilab and copying the steps along the way).
Let's say Villain is an acquaintance of ours who we played a lot of poker with, so we have a good idea of all the hands in his range. Let's say AT, KT, QT, KT, TT +, J9s, and 88 make up his range, and as a fairly conservative player, his bluffing range consists of only QJ and KJ.
We need to call 550 chips on the turn to win a total of 2,100 chips (1550 chips + a 550-chip UTG bet). This makes our pot odds 2100 550 which can be reduced to 3.82. 1. If we convert this ratio into a percentage, we get 20.7%. So our 33.47% equity is more than enough to call the turn.
If we assume UTG is betting with the same range as on the turn, Equilab tells us that 9 9 8 ♥ now only has 13.33% equity. So, we reasonably decided to add the combination. We have the best calling combinations anyway.
Equilab is free, but Power Equilab and PokerRanger are premium poker calculators that have more robust features that advanced players can appreciate. However, the standard Equilab will work fine for most of you.
If you regularly study tournament strategy here at Upswing Poker, you've probably come across the term ICM. For those of you who don't know this term, ICM stands for Independent Chip Model.
While you don't need to be able to make accurate ICM calculations on the fly to be a successful tournament player, you do need to have at least a rough idea of how this affects play in the later stages of the tournament. This is where ICMIZER comes in. It shows how ICM influences optimal preflop strategy in various tournament locations. And it does it in several ways.
ICMIZER 2 not only shows correct play in specific locations, but also provides a better understanding of how ICM dynamics determine optimal play in a tournament. In other words, it's a great learning tool. After some use, you will have to consult ICMIZER 2 less and less.
ICMIZER 2 is also a very useful piece of software. It has a clean, intuitive user interface and many handy features such as preset tournament types and hand history import.
The full version of ICMIZER 2 is paid software, but ICMIZER 2 Basic is free poker software. The basic version allows three ICM calculations and one Nash equilibrium calculation per day.
SnapShove is an app (both desktop and mobile) developed by renowned professional Max Silver.
SnapShove is essentially an interactive push / fold chart that uses Nash equilibria to tell you instantly whether you should shove, re-shove, call or fold in any given situation. In other words, SnapShove is a poker program that tells you what to do on short stacks.
SnapShove is not just for beginners, even seasoned tournament pros find themselves in marginal, short-stacked places where they don't know what to do. So it's no surprise that SnapShove counts high-stakes tournament professionals like Jason Somerville and Mike MacDonald among SnapShove's 54,000 users.
What's more, since SnapShove offers a mobile app, both live and online players can use it. Although, if you plan on using it during a live poker tournament, you might want to anticipate the SnapShove location before you start there - other players might not like it when you're on the phone while the action is on you! (Also, using charts while playing is against the rules of most casinos.)
You can get SnapShove on your Android or iOS device for free, just search for "SnapShove" in the app store or visit snapshove.com. Free users receive a limited number of requests per day. Alternatively, you can upgrade to SnapShove Pro to get unlimited SnapShove searches and additional features for $ 14.99.
Let us know in the comments so we can add it in a future update! We tried to include the best free poker software for tournaments, but we might have missed something given the many poker tools available.