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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.

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