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But is it ethical to use aids online? After all, you don't have that luxury at a B&M [bricks & mortar]. But then again, what you don't have online is the benefit of looking your opponent in the eye, chatting him up, watching how he physically places his bet, how closely he's paying attention...
Maudie did very well playing with Hold-Em Winner but stopped because she felt she was not sharpening her own game.
After reading her blog, I downloaded my own trial version of the souped up version of Hold-Em Winner, No Hands Holdem. The program plays more tightly than I do and I should probably tighten up but there are certain hands that I consistently play and play well that it consistently tells me to fold. It doesn't take into account facts like the player in seat 4 can't resist playing a four-flush nor does it tell me how big a raise to make in no-limit.
I try to make my own decision, then look at the recommendation of the program, and learn from the process. I find the interactive method a better way to learn than reading a book. I'm still toying with how to personalize it. Once I get that, it's hard to see it as anything unethical when it's repeating my own advice back to me.
What it does do well is remind me of standard opening hands, which by the way, are available at the help section of Party Poker's website. It also calculates pot odds, which are available in other places on the web. The former I ought to have memorized anyway. The latter doesn't seem to be a huge secret. What to do with the info still gives the good player the edge.
Checkraise is a regular poker column by Justene Adamec. It appears every other Friday.