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Frequently Asked Questions by New MP Users

In purple below are the questions I am asked most often by new users of Master Poker. For those New Users who don't know:

When installing the program it asks whether or not I want to replace my newer Windows files? How do I answer?

Always keep your 'Newer' Windows files. To make Master Poker compatible with all versions of Windows back to Windows XP the program uses older versions of database support files. Newer versions of Windows will have more updated files of the same type and name. During installation, if Windows asks if you wish keep your newer existing Windows files, click YES to keep each one. This could be 8-10 files (with descriptions like 'Jet' and 'DAO').Don't worry, you can't mess it up--Windows will protect you (by putting the new files back) even if you click the wrong answer. Do not be afraid. ;)

I've lost my CD/Case/Keycode, will you send me another?

Due to releasing Master Poker in a manner which allowed my buyers to install it on multiple computers (ie. Desktop and Laptop) I have been taken advantage of by software pirates, people copying and giving away the CD to family and friends, et cetera. For this reason, I do not provide replacements for 'lost' CD's, for 'lost' CD cases, or for 'lost' keycodes. For new buyers, this is an addictive program you will go back to year after year, particularly if you're trying to improve your game. I highly recommend you put your CD and Case away somewhere safe. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I can't seem to find the in-game 'Help' explaining each option?

Right-click any option, preference, or running stat to get the Blue Help Window. Some, like stats at the bottom of the Table Screen also have data tooltips if you just hover the mouse pointer over the top of them.

How do I set the difficulty level of the game?

Master Poker is designed to be a simulation, not a game. This means there is no actual difficulty setting. Rather, it is important to set the computer player personality density to approximate the game you wish to practice. For example, in a twenty person home tourney it is very unlikely there are more than perhaps 3-4 Tough players, maybe 1-2 Aggro players, and the rest would likely be amateurs, despite what they might have you believe. The biggest mistake new users make is in setting their games to 100% 'Tough' thinking this will be the hardest game. What it does is create a very tight game you are not likely to encounter in the real world except at the very highest levels, and rarely then. Any Tournament or SnG should possess at least 50-65% Dead Money (amateurs), including WSOP events. The single exception might be an all-pro event, where you might use a low DM setting, but would want to raise the Aggro level of opponents to compensate. Right-click the percentile settings box and it will give you an explanation how to best simulate your own games.

Does setting the 'User Skill Level' higher make the game more difficult?

No. The User Skill Level setting is not a difficulty setting. It is a practice setting to advise MP of your actual skill level in the game. Have you ever heard the saying, "You can't bluff a bad player?" This setting helps MP decide whether or not to waste its time running complicated bluffs against you or not. Complicated bluffs may sound like a difficulty setting, but it is not. Complicated bluffs are wasted on novice players because novice players are unlikely to see the signs an advanced computer player is putting out there in the message it's trying to convey (as a bluff). To a novice player, who can't read these complicated messages, the strategy will not only fail, it may be perceived as say, a 'Tough' computer player losing its mind for one hand. Instead of trying to code for every type of weak human player in the world I created this setting for you to give your computer players a quick heads up, as if they're getting a peek at you as you sit down to the table. It is there for your own good, be honest in your setting to get the most from your software.

Why does my player (the human player) ALWAYS get his higher card first?

As I tediously tested the software I found it much easier to read the hands quickly if the larger ranked card were placed first. I figured most players would prefer to have them delivered in this manner for the same reason, particularly those power players who found themselves zipping through large quantities of hands. All computer hands are sorted in the same manner for when they are displayed to you (for ease of view). As the inner workings go--Master Poker deals out all hands in a completely random manner, then arranges them in order of rank within each player's hand, then displays them to the User.

Are all the players in my tournament actually playing behind the scenes?

Yes, they are actually playing every hand, just as you are. Master Poker does not use fill-in arrays or standby player lists to draw from when a seat comes open at the human player's table, as this would not create real-world conditions. In MP, each active table out of your view plays a complete and legitimate hand each time you push the Deal button. When players fill the empty seats at your table they are being pulled from other active tables which are being broken down as the total number of remaining players dwindles. The players you eventually meet at the final table, whether weak or tough, have actually earned their way there, just as you have. This is all part of the overall MP concept of making your event as close to the real world as possible.

Does Master Poker control which cards are being dealt to make my hands more dramatic, or constantly take me out on the River? I seem to see Pocket Aces and miracle River cards far too often.

Never. Card dealing for all computer card simulations is controlled by a simple random number generator, a mathematical algorithm that says, "Look at my deck of (52) cards and randomly deal a new card that has not been dealt yet." As the programmer I exert no control over which cards have been dealt to whom. As a poker player myself, to do so would be cheating (stacking the deck), and violate everything for which I stand in regards to quality poker software (and life). In fact, I would guess this implication would be blasphemy even to my competitors, whose software might look at your hand (to support a weak AI), but would never likely stack the deck against you.

As for frequent pocket aces, you will be dealt pocket aces 1 in 221 hands (220 to 1). With a full table of (10) players you will see them in someone's hand every (22) hands. With the dealing animation turned off and using the Zip feature for garbage hands Master Poker will deal the average player (22) hands in around 2 minutes of play time (with only a small portion of them playable). This means you will see Pocket Aces in someone's hand about every two minutes. That might seem like a lot to an inexperienced player, or someone used to watching TV poker (where you might not see (22) hands in the whole show), but it's just math.

As for miracle cards on the river, I'm reminded of the players we all see at online poker sites. They flop a nice Set of Aces then sit there quietly slowplaying it to gain maximum value on their hand, checking and calling all the way to the River. By trying to wring as much money as possible out of your vulnerable hand you're letting the entire table catch up. Good opponents on big draws will call your small bets and take their free cards when you check. Then bam, you've been "Rivered!" Even a basic flush draw is going to get you one time in three. Imagine having several draws out against you at once! These players then shout that the online site itself is crooked and part of a conspiracy to cheat this particular player out of his deserved pot. It's not a conspiracy, it's just the math catching up with you through your weak play. And it happens to everyone at some point.

Master Poker is professional-grade software. It never controls how the cards are dealt (either in your hand or on the board), it never looks at your cards, and it never cheats. The idea is to improve your game, not entertain you with fallacy.

Note: By the way, you're actually making a case for the skill of MP's computer players. By not falling into your slowplaying traps and finally drawing out on you they are doing their job. ;)

Exception: The one exception to all this is of course when you preset your holecards or the Board cards to be dealt specific cards for every hand (a practice feature). Then the program is just doing what you tell it to do.

Is there a way to see the size of the average player's chipstack at any point in a tournament?

Yes. On the Table Screen, left-click the yellow Leaderboard label and hold the mouse button down to see a breakdown of all of the following running data:

Can I turn off the dealing animation to make play faster?

Yes. Turn off the personal preference 'Show cards being dealt' (remove the check). This should eliminate the dealing animation and instantaneously start all dealt hands in front of each player.

You can further speed up the game by also adjusting the preference 'Turn off AI Realism Delays' (check the box). This pref kills the delay where the computer players seem to be 'thinking' about what to do (when their name is flashing in gold letters). Both the dealing animation and the AI thinking delay were installed for players looking for a casual game with a relaxed pace. Power-players need not apply.

And finally, you can further speed your game by reducing the 'AI Action Delay' (on the Main Sign-up Screen) to the lowest possible setting.

For me personally, these adjustments allow an average of more than a thousand hands played per hour. That's a bunch.

The command button bar has options to raise-minimum, raise-pot-size or push all-in, but are these the only choices? I don't see how to simply raise by the amount that I want to bet (e.g. twice the Big Blind). Is there any way to do that? (applies to Version 1 only)

Yes. There are now four primary ways to enter your wagers in Master Poker. They are as follows:

Note: It's highly recommended that all buyers take a few moments to go over the Instruction Manual in your Windows Programs Menu (under Master Poker) for specific details on the full use of your keyboard and other hidden features (or hit the 'K' key between hands while at the table to view the keyboard 'Hotkeys' graphic). This is the only way to be sure you get the full benefit of all of Master Poker's powerful feature set. From your Windows Desktop click the 'Start' button and 'All programs' to see your programs menu.

The Starting Hand Guide's comments seem to be aimed at a tight/aggressive style?

Yes, they are. The SHG is meant primarily for those players who are not yet comfortable with their playing style, their starting hand choices, or their actual level of expertise. I believe the priority of new or novice players should be to become comfortable in their starting hand decisions under dynamically changing table conditions, while developing a tight/solid style that provides protection against aggressive players.

The SHG is very powerful, and structured toward furthering these goals. If you're a new player to the game, or don't feel you have a solid grasp of the games basic-to-intermediate concepts the Starting Hand Guide alone will be worth the price of the software. Don't miss out!

MP's Tough players seem to play more hands than the Starting Hand Guide suggests. I can understand this behavior from the Dead Money and the Aggressives, but I thought the Tough players were closer to what I should be trying to achieve. Am I missing something?

As I noted above, the SHG is aimed primarily at helping novice players learn to build a solid foundation. It is by no means the only way to play, or even the best way to play. It advocates a tight/aggressive style. It is good, solid, general advice, meant to keep a novice player from getting in too much trouble. It's primarily to keep you from making obvious mistakes. To teach you what not to do. To make you more aware of what's happening at the table outside of your own hand. To give you an idea of how more experienced players might be thinking.

The more experience you gain in Hold'em the more hands you will be able to play without drastically increasing your risk (the reason MP's Tough players can play more hands). The more hands you play, the more opportunities you will see. You can do this after you have become experienced because you will learn how to recognize traps and get away from second best hands (perhaps the most dangerous condition a novice faces).

A simple example might be when the novice calls an early preflop raise with a hand like A9 suited. When an ace flops he thinks he did good and he bets it. When that early player raises, the novice calls ... and now he's in big trouble. He's already committed a bunch of chips to the pot and then what do you do if the early raiser bets again on the Turn? Most novices would call again, and since the novice is showing no real strength he might have to call another big bet on the River (and he likely will). His opponent turns over AK and he's lost 3/4 of his stack on a weak ace. Master Poker's Starting Hand Guide would have told him not to play that ace from the beginning (and explained why). There's why. To keep him out of this type of trouble.

I recommend you do indeed first try to understand the concepts being put forth by the SHG. From there, you can open up your game a bit and pay a little more attention to what other hands the Tough players are playing, but don't just look at their cards. You must also look at the conditions under which they played those cards. Were they in position, getting huge pot odds, on a huge stack, facing a single weaker player, etc ... this game is all about your opponents and the table conditions. It has less and less to do with your actual cards as your game improves. The most important tip I can give you is to be patient with your skills ... play thousands and thousands of hands (hundreds of thousands). Your skill will naturally increase with time without even thinking about it--it's about seeing the same table conditions over and over and discovering what works and what doesn't ... that's experience.

The Dead Money players in MP don't seem to be so weak as their name might imply. It's tough to win a tournament even with 100% Dead Money. How bad are they, really, compared to real world players?

The truth is, MP's Dead Money players are actually pretty good when compared to the multitude of really bad players out in the real world, both online and in the brick and mortar cardrooms. The poker community has coined the term 'Donkey' to describe a truly BAD player. With hindsight, I probably should have included another level of player personality below my Dead Money players known as Donkeys. The problem is, the intention behind Master Poker is to make you a high quality poker player by putting you into real-world confrontations with solid opponents, not opponents who literally throw their money at you. In the end your MP successes will be measured by the level of competition you've faced. Most users will gain far more confidence, experience and satisfaction doing well in a tournament against 65% Dead Money players (meaning the other 35% is Tough), than if they were to win a tournament that possessed 100% Donkeys.

While it's true you do need to learn to play against Dead Money players (it's much different than facing skilled players), you do not necessarily need experience playing against Donkeys. Let's just say MP's Dead Money players are aimed at simulating the vast number of players who know enough to get themselves into trouble, but don't know enough to get themselves out of trouble. A Donkey is another beast entirely.

Is there any way to save my personal data and history records if I have to re-install the program?

Yes. You will need to copy the 'MasterDB' file (at "C:\Program Files\Master Poker") to a safe place before reinstalling. Once the new installation is complete, copy that file back to the new Master Poker directory typically located at "C:\Program Files\Master Poker" (under 'My Computer').

Note: If using 64bit Windows your 'Program Files' folder will have an '(x86)' attached.


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