Ethics Of HUD Use

At first impression, HUDs may appear unethical to new players. Their usage was hotly debated in the past, and the general conclusion made by poker sites is that as long as you are involved in the hands used in tracking stats shown in your HUD, there is nothing wrong with the practice.

My thinking on the subject is that while you really do not need to use a HUD to be a successful player, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Some top online pros swear they do not use one. And while I believe them, I also realize that they probably face the same competition day in and day out over a long period of time and/or play very few tables. In today’s online game, almost all professionals do use a HUD, so unless you have extraordinary observational skills, you will be at a severe disadvantage, especially when multi-tabling.

Data Mining

In recent years several online businesses have popped up selling data-mined hands that are collected from players on nearly every major poker site. This allows one to have massive amounts of information on the player pool while never having to play a hand against them.

This is one area of technology that I feel crosses the line as far as ethics go. It is my stance that this type of activity violates the spirit of the game of poker. And while it’s true that everyone has access to these databases, I am strongly against using information that you could not have observed while playing. Besides the obvious ethical issues, using these data-mined hands violates the terms of service of most poker sites.

In my opinion, it really does not help you that much to partake of data-mined hands. The fact that it only takes a few hands for your HUD to be able to give you accurate reads, data mining is something that is absolutely not necessary to be successful in online poker. If you are just starting out, I strongly advise against using any hands that you did not acquire through your own play. As an advanced player, you should strive to be more focused on game flow, history, and notes you have made on another player rather than generic reads that are obtained from how your opponents play against the field. Additionally, as technology increases poker sites may figure out how to tell if someone is using data-mined hands, and it’s simply not worth the risk of getting banned from play.

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