marks the fourth or fifth time I've written about Wilson
Software's Turbo Texas Hold'em in this column, never mind
the substantial amount of space devoted to it in my latest
book Poker For Dummies. So it shouldn't come as a
surprise to anyone that I'm an enthusiastic and avid user
of their software. One reason I'm a big fan of the Turbo
poker software is that developer Bob Wilson and henchman
Mike Gilbert never rest on their laurels. They have continued
to refine, upgrade, improve, and add substantial value to
their product over the years.
succeeding release is more sophisticated, and powerful than
earlier versions. Not only do the games play better, each
new release is also a superior research tool. And Version
4.0, which took more than 18 months to complete, is a major
step forward for the software that is already so far ahead
of any other competing product that they have lapped the
those of you unfamiliar with Wilson software, let me bring
you quickly up to speed. In a nutshell, Turbo Texas Hold'em
allows you to play poker against a lineup of various "profiles"
that can even be modified or tweaked is one is so inclined.
One can specify the number of opponents, the number of raises,
even whether the players will act more or less aggressively.
So sophisticated are some of these profiles, that they are
sensitive pot odds for flush and straight draws, as well
as to the action of other opponents -- cyber as well as
human -- and will adjust their play based on their determination
of whether an opponent -- human or otherwise -- seems to
have gone "on tilt."
on-screen advisor can be called up at any time to offer
an opinion about the play pf a hand. A variety of summary
and detailed statistics are also available at the click
of a mouse. In addition, Turbo provides the ability to run
a multitude of high-speed simulations. It even has a "repeatable
deal" feature that lets one run, for example, the same set
of 5,000 random hands with each variable being tested. Results
achieved this way are therefore independent of the luck
of the draw, since each variable was tested against a given
set of randomly preselected hands.
a poker seminar I conducted recently on a Card Player jaunt
to the Caribbean, many of the questions asked by attendees
dealt with the suggestions and feedback provided by the
software's advisor feature. These concerns led to two major
improvements in Version 4.0. Extensive testing was done
to upgrade the quality and realism of the automatic advisors.
The advisor capability and functionality was also expanded,
and many of the profiles now adjust their playing style
based on the number of opponents. In addition, some of the
profiles also adjust their tactics based on whether they
have the lead, that is, whether they raised last on the
previous betting round. Just like in live games, you can
expect some opponents to be more aggressive if they were
the one who put in the last raise on the prior betting round.
Sid is an optional program that provides a detailed hand-by-hand
analysis of any errors in one's play. Using Microsoft text-to-speech
technology, a talking cartoon character named Sidewinder
Sid comments on your play and reviews any errors while the
hand in question is "replayed." While Sid acknowledges that
you won't necessarily agree with his analysis all of the
time, he does point out that if he continues to notice a
relatively high number of errors, you can take it for granted
that your game needs refinement.
Sidewinder Sid is rather like having an expert sit by your
side recording each hand you play. You can have Sid review
your play in summary fashion, or he can provide a detailed
analysis of each action you took during those hands he's
called into question. When I test-drove Sid I purposely
misplayed a number of close-call hands just to get an inkling
of how sophisticated he was. Of course if you call in early
position with a hand like Q-3 Sid is going to slam you,
but he also hones in on relatively loose calls, like Jd
7d in middle position, or calling in early position with
a pair of sixes. These are not the egregious errors of a
maniac, but the kinds of errors made all the time by real-world
players in games at every betting limits.
Sid will comment on hands played too aggressively as well
as those played too passively, and he'll also point out
whether checking or calling, or folding, betting, or raising
was the preferred option. Sid also points out when your
play was not aggressive enough, and he'll do this on every
betting round -- preflop to the river -- and give you the
benefit of his analysis.
feature new to Version 4.0 is called "Challenge Mike," named
in honor of Mike Gilbert who has been working with Bob Wilson
for years, refining and developing player profiles and playing
strategy. The challenge is for you to win more money than
Mike does -- or to lose less -- after 50, 100, or 200 hands.
Mike goes first. After the deal button is clicked, he will
quickly play the number of hands you selected. This takes
about a second -- less if you have a fast machine. To make
your task tougher, you will not have access to the "Advice,"
"Odds," "Peeking," "Look," "or "Replay," features during
are, in essence, playing "Duplicate Hold'em" against an
"Advisor" profile, and at the halfway point in your challenge
a screen will pop up telling you whether you're ahead or
behind in the race. At the conclusion, the winner will be
shown as well as the amount won or lost. The repeatable
deal code is also shown, so you can use this to replay those
same hands if you wish.
4.0 is a major enhancement to an already terrific program,
and the incremental cost of $14.95 for Sidewinder Sid is
a bargain of the first order. I've been an unabashed fan
of Wilson Software for years, and always recommend it to
anyone who asks. And I'm not gonna stop now. Like their
other products, Tournament Texas Hold'em For Windows, Turbo
7-Card Stud For Windows, Turbo Stud 8/ Or Better For Windows,
Turbo Omaha High-Low Split For Windows, and Turbo Omaha
High Only For Windows, these products belong in every player's
poker toolbox. Software always comes with a comprehensive
user's guide, and support is also available online and by
telephone. Wilson Software's Internet address is http://www.wilsonsoftware.com.