Rant: No HUDs (Heads Up Display) = Disaster for Online Poker Pros

Heads-up displays and tracking software are divisive topics in the poker world.

Programs that allow you to track other players' behavior and access it in real time as statistics laid over their avatars can be intimidating to amateurs, but they're absolutely essential to making a living playing online poker.

Most online poker rooms allow tracking software, which gives players the ability to analyze their games and adjust to opponents on the fly.

Without that software far fewer players would able to succeed at a high enough level to make a living playing online poker.

HUDs Could Be Outlawed for US Online Poker

When Ultimate Poker dealt the first hand of legal online poker back in April I was quick to reprimand them for releasing their platform before it was ready just to be the first regulated online poker room in Nevada.

A 2+2 thread quickly filled up with requests for more functionality to be added to the UP software, including making it possible to use HUDs.

Now, a few months later, HUDs and tracking software compatibility is still absent from UP's list of features.

But it turns out the lack of HUDs on UP might not be a shortcoming of its software. It seems that HUDs may actually break Nevada state law.

NRS 465.075 Use of device for calculating probabilities.

It is unlawful for any person at a licensed gaming establishment to use, or possess with the intent to use, any device to assist:

  1. In projecting the outcome of the game;
  2. In keeping track of the cards played;
  3. In analyzing the probability of the occurrence of an event relating to the game or;
  4. In analyzing the strategy for playing or betting to be used in the game, except as permitted by the commission.
Bertrand Grospellier
HUDs and tracking software are extremely useful when multi-tabling.

As you would expect with a legal ruling, it’s as clear as mustard. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this means zero HUD use in the state of Nevada.

If this is the case Delaware, New Jersey or any other state may well follow suit.

So it seems likely that even though online poker is on its way back in the great US of A, the pros will be running around like HUDless chickens.

But what does it mean to the US online poker scene in general? After all, there is a strong wave of support against the use of HUDs.

Many believe that HUDs aid the multi-tabling fiends, and drive the fish away in schools.

HUDs Like Coaching Staff for Poker Pros

I take a different approach. I believe tracking software is a necessity for any professional poker player.

I don’t think the very best professionals necessarily need HUDs to make their decisions in real-time, but for studying their game and the games of their opponents, they are critical.

Ben Grundy
Online pro Ben Grundy is against HUDs and tracking software.

The HUD is a time-saving device. Programs like Hold’em Manager and PokerTracker record and crunch data in ways that would be impossible to do by hand.

Choose any sport in the world and either the coach, team or player is spending a large amount of time watching their opponents, looking for weaknesses and developing strategies to exploit them.

At the same time they are also watching recordings of their own play, finding weaknesses and developing strategies to shore up their defenses.

Tracking software and HUDs give poker players the means to do deep analysis and raise their games to a level where making a living online is possible.

HUDs also allow a player to track results and share them with their coach, or backer if they're involved in a staking arrangement.

The bottom line is at the end of the day if HUDs are outlawed in the US, some bright spark will create a pirate version of their own.

The Nevada law is a little grey on this matter, and until more online poker rooms join the likes of UP it will probably stay that way.

Let’s just hope when that grey separates into black and white, HUDs are welcomed with open arms and seen as a necessary and vital piece of kit for the professional poker player.

2013-11-19 15:24:59

I’m done with online poker until HUDs are banned or available to all by the poker site itself. Would you go to a local game in your neighborhood knowing everyone somehow has info which a HUD gives on their cellphone about YOU? Or a casino where you walk in and the entire table knows your stats? It is a joke that such a thing is allowed for online.

2013-10-17 07:14:18

HUDS are an unfair advantage for those who wish to use them, especially the ones who slavishly monitor their opponents.
Having access to your own data, so you can study your play is one thing…..having access to data on other players is a totally different thing.
Why should online Poker be skewed in favour of so called ‘Pro’s who have this unfair advantage?
A lot of recreational players don’t have the time, or inclination to use a HUD.
How about this..??
…make an ‘opt in’ option so you decide if you want to track, and be tracked, you can do so.
But a one way street is unfair, and immoral, without the consent of both parties.

2013-08-08 11:41:46

@EManuel totally agree with hidden advantage argument, and @ Lee Davy, you recall what important hands you and your opponents play, think about what you did, compared it to the best optimal play and adjust accordingly, how do you go over your play? UTG opens 20% so his range is blah blah so he can only have blah blah this % of the time, if you enjoy crunching numbers so much you all should become accounts and you’ll probably make more money you donks hahahahaha, poker is made for contemplation and intelligent risk taking not for number crunching.

2013-08-08 04:30:31

@CrazyAndy27s. Maybe Zoom should not be cincidered a grinding game. Afterall one factor of Zoom is that the opponents becomes ‘anonymous’ for everyone. It’s the cost of speeding up NLH. And it may be what explotable players are looking for: poker action with more gamble and less being exploited. Having the enormous edge of overcoming this fact should be concidered cheating but I’m positive to having the HUD function build in for everyone to use.

2013-08-08 03:56:01

HUDs should not be allowed as long as it’s not a build in function which is available for all. Makes no sence that one player should have a ‘hidden’ advantage. If you compare poker to chess, which is more similar to poker than the compared fysical sport in this article, imagine a top chess match where one players sits with a computer calculating every possible move for him… where is the fairness in that? And even more so when a fish battles a pro.

2013-08-07 21:15:45

Huds are good for tracking your own play and finding your own weaknesses…It is definitley not crucial to beating players in onlive live conditions…An already good player is not going to care all that much…But it will be harder for bad players to improve and peg my game style…So I’m all for a ban…There are enough good players…These poker schools and HUDs help the bad players become mediocre…I would like more bad players…I’ve made my bones as a good poker player and learning from my HUDs, now I’m more then willing to close the door behind me and let my foes remain mediocre or bad players.

2013-08-07 20:53:53

You obviously haven’t spent much time using them then. I 8 table grind low stakes Zoom on Pokerstars and without a HUD I’d be completely blind.

I can’t adapt player by player, regular by regular because unfortunately I don’t have the brain power or time to remember 800 player’s names, let alone the time to remember how they play.

Try and think of all angles before making a sweeping judgement.

Lee Davy
2013-08-07 17:21:45

‘Elchingon’ How do you review your game, and your opponents game, if you don’t use HUD type software?

2013-08-07 15:00:03


laughable? that’s a laughable comment. lots of good points in here and well put.

2013-08-07 14:02:36

HUD’s are for losers that can’t beat the game straight up. They should be banned and are very bad for poker. This article is laughable.

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