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Sunday, December 25, 2011

NoteCaddy versus Note Tracker

Earlier this month, PokerTracker 4 went into beta testing. I was particularly interested in the NoteTracker application since it would potentially present NoteCaddy with its first viable competition in the 18 months since NoteCaddy had its original beta release. I finally got a chance to play with PT4 and while the software works well, NoteTracker fails to provide any significant innovation over NoteCaddy.  I have put together a chart that is both comprehensive and objective in its comparison to what each software provides. If anything is incorrect, I will update it as soon as possible once notified.  After the chart, I will give my opinion on why I feel NoteTracker does not present a viable competitor to NoteCaddy.

FeatureNoteCaddyNote Tracker
Additional cost$60-90$0
Note definition customization
Filter notes only versus hero
Default note definitions18035
Embedded tutorial videos150
Filter by session details
Filter by currency
Filter individual notes by hand date
Filter notes based on player types
Spark graphs
Scatter graphs
Replay hands that were used for note creation
Filter based on bet sizing
View net profit per player per note
Custom note colors/font
Add notes to individual stat popups
Show how often a note occurred versus how often the player had the opportunity
Show how a player compares to the general player pool in notes
Filter notes to only show if a player performs in a manner significantly different than average
Cyborg Notes
Automatic color coding of PokerStars and OnGame players
Synchronize automatic and manual notes to/from PokerStars and OnGame
Hero session notes
Take notes on players based on how well SNGWiz® perceives their play
Bystander notes
Implicit strength/weakness
Display notes in the HUD as custom stats
Display full note text in the HUD
Show notes only based on the current game type, player count, average stack size
Customize note categories
Customize the order notes/categories are displayed in
Customize variable output

Overall, NoteTracker is a clone of NoteCaddy when it was first released. At that time period, the consensus was that NoteCaddy had potential but did not live up to it due to the fact that multi tablers were not able to quickly absorb relevant information about their opponents. The last year has been spent adding new features to solve these problems. One example is how notes related to "flop continuation bets" are shown when a user hovers over any stat that relates to the same. So if I hover over the "fold to cbet" stat, I will see notes that describe how a player plays hands that saw a continuation bet and how his play compares to the whole player pool.  Badges will show me a player's most important notes without me having to hover over anything.  I can also show notes' full text in my hud.  These are things that multi tablers require.  Let's have a look at what NoteTracker produces:

How many tables can I play and still make sense of this wall of text?
At first look, this will probably impress people.  It's not until you actually play and try to apply this information to decisions that you'll realize that this is no more than a novelty.  Also, how do I know some of these hands weren't against fish with 10 big blinds at a heads up table?  Wouldn't someone's range change dramatically based on changing circumstances?  Hundreds of hours of work were put into making sure you only get relevant information using NoteCaddy.  Here is the "limp and called a raise" note from NoteCaddy.

The first thing we should notice is that the range is, in some places, different.  For example, NoteTracker says this player limp/called QQ.  I searched in the database for such a hand:

There is no such hand.  The player did limp QQ a few times but when faced with a raise, he reraised.  This is a limp/raise not a limp call.  That seems kind of misleading to me.  The next thing we might notice is that in the NoteCaddy note we see +86.9bb.  That means the player actually won money limping.  This alone isn't likely going to change a whole lot but at least we can see the different types of scenarios where people bleed money or where they do well.  Next is the replay button.  In NoteCaddy, we can open up a replayer with all of the hands that generated a note.  It might not be that useful if someone has thousands of hands but if someone just sat down and did something weird it is nice to be able to re-watch that hand with the click of a button.  Finally, we have the spark graph that shows us the distribution of hands that this player limps with.  You can see it is mostly pretty strong hands but not ultra premiums like AA, KK, and QQ!  You can understand this by seeing how the graph flat-lines at the far right.  Now if you look and see the dotted blue line you will see what the average strength of a limp is in your database.  The orange line is to the right of the blue line confirming that this player has a strong limping range.

I pulled up this note by hovering over the player's limp stat.  I am not interested in what he overbets the river with when he just limped pre flop!

It must be said that PT4 just went into beta and there's plenty of time for them to improve NoteTracker.  However, for now, HM2+NoteCaddy users can feel comfortable knowing that they have far superior intel on their PT4 opponents than vice versa.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

NoteCaddy badges in detail

As mentioned in this post NoteCaddy 2.2, NoteCaddy now has a feature called badges.  The idea is to display notes in your HUD without having to view any popups.  Since space in the HUD is very limited, showing an image that represents a player's tendency is a more effective way to get this done.  12 new definitions have been added to the definition digest

  1. Calls Double Barrel Weak This definition will create a badge for players who call raises pre flop, flop continuation bets, and turn 2 barrel bets (in the same hand), with a range that is significantly weaker than the player pool's average
  2. Calls Steals With Wide Range This definition will create a badge for players who call steal attempts (an open raise by the cutoff or button player) from the small blind or big blind with a range that is significantly wider than average.
  3. Checks Strong Hands in Three Bet Pots This definition will create a badge for players who check the flop with a significantly stronger range than average in 3 bet pots.  Whether or not the player performed the 3 bet or called the 3 bet is immaterial for this definition
  4. Donk Bets Flop Weak This definition will create a badge for players who call raises pre flop and then bet out of position on the flop (donk bet) with a range that is significantly weaker than average
  5. Folds To Cbet On Ace High Often This definition will create a badge for players who fold to continuation bets on ace high flops significantly more often than average 
  6. Folds To Cbet On Wet Boards Often This definition will create a badge for players who fold to continuation bets on weat flops (boards where a straight and/or flush is likely to become possible or already possible) significantly more often than average 
  7. Half Pot River Is Nuts This definition will create a badge for players who bet around half the pot with very strong hands on the river
  8. Passive Play Means Strong This definition will create a badge for players who play passively (abstaining from betting or raising) until the river with a hand range that is significantly stronger than average.  This is also referred to as slow playing.
  9. Profitable In 3 Bet Pots This definition will create a badge for players who earn significantly more profitable than average in 3 bet pots.  Whether they made the 3 bet or called someone else's is immaterial for this definition
  10. Steals Heros Blind This definition will create a badge for players who attempt to steal the hero's (your) blinds significantly more often than the player pool's average
  11. Three Bets Hero Often This definition will create a badge for players who 3 bet the hero (you) significantly more often than the player pool's average
  12. Two Barrels Weak This definition will create a badge for players who fire a second barrel with hands that are significantly weaker than average
These definitions are constructed using the new "advanced" tab.  If you are interested in making your own, here is a step by step tutorial for creating a badge for players who 3 bet 30% more often than average.

On the General tab, I've set the following values:
Name This can be anything but more descriptive is always better
Description you can see I used the variable $successversusaverage.  This will show a value like +5% or +80% to show how much more often than average this player 3 bets.  This variable can be used for any definition as long as you do not have "do not take notes for missed opportunities" selected.  Of course this value can also be negative if someone 3 bets less than average.  I also used the variable $cardrange which will help us keep track of the range that this player showed down after 3 betting.  This isn't required but is a good thing to know.
Define opportunities by action Setting this will create an x/y stat where x = the number of times three bet and y = the number of times this play faced an open raise and therefore could three bet.  Always use this option when you are making a definition that shows quantitative data
Badge Here we can pick any of the existing icons or choose our own via the option at the bottom.  If you want to pick your own make sure it's no bigger than 16x16 and has a transparent background (preferably PNG format but gif works also)

The next tab is Pre flop->actions.

Here we will simply set all of the different 3 bet sizes as possible actions.  Since we don't care about the actual raise sizing, this will cover every possibility.

In the Advanced tab, we only need to set two values.
Difference in instance/opportunity as a percent.  I set the minimum to 30 which means it has to be 30% higher than the player pool's average.  Leaving the maximum as 0 means it will be ignored so it can be any number greater than 30.  Keep in mind that if the player pool 3 bets 5% on average and this player does so 15%, the number is 200.  This is percentage, not percentile points.  Please see for more details.

Minimum Instances If someone just sat down and 3 bet 100% of the time, that is not necessarily indicative of a player deserving a badge.  As such I have set the value to 5 meaning this player needed to have 3 bet 5 times at a minimum for this definition to be considered.  You could set this even higher potentially.  One thing to consider is that if you're requiring a showdown to have occurred, you could set this value lower as showdowns say much more than just stats.