Master Poker's FAQ
There are always questions left unanswered, and here is where I have posted those I'm asked most often. If you have any questions left after exploring the rest of the MP website look here for the answer. If you're still left wondering about any facet of MP feel free to email me with your specific questions. For current Users there is also a small Troubleshooting section for known issues at the bottom of this page.
Q: How does the order process work, and do you accept credit cards?
A: We accept these major credit cards, direct bank account transfers (eChecks), and Paypal.
We ship all orders within 12-36 hours of receiving them, to anywhere in the world. Typically, you will receive a shipping notice directly from Computer Opponents Software within 24 hours of placing your order (unless the middle of a weekend).
As a member of Paypal Financial Services (a well respected global financial institution owned by eBay), all of our website orders are securely processed directly through Paypal even if you are not a Paypal member yourself. Since your order is being placed through the Paypal Financial Network, and we, Computer Opponents Software, are an official Paypal Business Merchant, you, the buyer, are protected by Paypal (an excellent company by the way). Paypal is vouching for our legitimacy and has an excellent built-in protection policy for all of our online shoppers. For anyone still not convinced, if you are an Amazon member, you can also link directly to Amazon from our Order Page if you would prefer to place your order through them. Order Now
Q: How long has Master Poker been around?
A: Version 1 was released in October of 2007. If you've never heard of it, it's likely because I don't advertise or push reviews of the software. I originally wrote the program only for me, and only released it to the poker community when I realized I had created something special in regard to practicing the game. I'm perfectly content with a small community of MP players who contribute word-of-mouth exposure and on whom I can give my full attention as far as tech support and guidance in learning to play the game well.
Q: Is Master Poker compatible with all versions of Windows?
A: Yes, written in a Microsoft programming language Master Poker is compatible with all versions of Windows from Win XP all the way up through Win 10. Only Mac users need fear compatibility issues, and even they can play Master Poker using PC simulation software (I recommend 'Parallels').
Q: Is Master Poker compatible with MAC (non PC) computers?
A: The program is designed for PC's, but can be played on Mac's with PC simulation software (I recommend 'Parallels').
Q: Can Master Poker run under 64 bit Windows?
A: Yes. Master Poker is a 32 bit program and 32 bit programs run under 64 bit Windows (all versions) using WOW emulation. In the case of Master Poker, it runs so seamlessly I didn't even realize one of my most computer illiterate testers had a 64 bit machine until just recently.
Q: Can I install Master Poker on my Tablet or Netbook PC?
A: Very likely yes. First you will need to check to be sure that your Tablet or Netbook can handle up to 800x600 minimum screen resolution (most today can). That is the minimum resolution possible in the game.
Second, the program is delivered to you on a CD, so if your device does not possess a CD/DVD player (many do not), it will need to have a USB port (most do). You will need access to a home or work Desktop/Notebook computer that has both a CD drive and a USB port in order to transfer the program to your device (using a thumbdrive).
Q: I've lost my CD/Case/Keycode, will you send me another??
A. Due to releasing Master Poker in a manner which allowed my buyers to install it on multiple computers 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.
Q: Is Master Poker compatible with all virus software?
A: Typically, yes. We've had some recent issues with Microsoft's new anti-malware software, Security Essentials, where MP had to be reinstalled after the user installed SE on his/her computer. After reinstalling MP, it was back to functioning properly.
Q: Is there an Instruction Manual for MP?
A: Yes, a detailed one. It is called 'MP User's Guide'. In both versions it is located in the 'Master Poker' programs directory/folder on your Windows Desktop. Click the 'Start' button, highlight 'All Programs', highlight the 'Master Poker' directory, then left-click the 'MP User's Guide' file. It is in HTML format so it can be read with any browser, and easily printed if desired.
I have found that few buyers actually read the manual before diving right in to play. For this reason the most recent version of the program now contains an imbedded Quickstart tutorial to get you up and running.
I also highly recommend taking the time to read the manual to get all you can out of your purchase. Master Poker has many hidden features, some of which are very important. My favorite, betting with the keyboard (multiples of the BB, percentages of the pot, etc) ... check it out!
Q: When installing the program it asks whether or not I want to replace my newer Windows files? How do I answer?
A. 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. ;)
Q: Are all the players in my tournament actually playing behind the scenes?
A: 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.
Q: 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.
A: 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 same vast 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.
Q: I love the ability to change table backgrounds, is there anywhere we can download more?
A: Not currently. I am giving more thought to it and may opt to provide more choices in the future, but I think the current (14) options will hold most players over for a long while.
Q: Is there a way to see the size of the average player's chipstack at any point in a tournament?
A: 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:
Q: Can I turn off the dealing animation to make play faster?
A: 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.
Q: What is the maximum number of players allowed in tournament play?
A: Playing 10-Seated tables, and opening 1000 tables, the current maximum tournament size is 10,000 players (each with a unique screen name). At the time of this publication only the World Series Main Event has ever exceeded 5k players, but I wanted you to be able to simulate precisely that most important event.
Q: Does Master Poker allow me to see a computer player's hand even if I fold the hand?
A: Of course. Not giving you the option to view an AI player's cards (at any time) would be like blacking out the stars in a photograph of the moon landing or the space shuttle. It just doesn't make sense unless there's something to hide.
On the Table Screen, as you play a hand the gray/brown (v1/v2) button on the far right side of the command button bar will read 'Review Action'. Clicking this button at any time during the hand lets you see a running text review for all action that has occurred up until that point in the hand. Once the hand has completed (in this case when you folded) this button will change to read 'Review Hands'. Clicking it now will graphically display the starting hands of all players at the table, whether they stayed in the hand all the way down or not. Clicking it a second time will display the running text review for the entire hand from start to finish.
Q: Why should I buy home software when I have the Internet to play on?
A: The Internet is certainly a boon for poker and an excellent place to play ... for money. It's not an excellent place to play if you play for fun, for practice, or for real, but lose more money than you win (be honest with yourself). Even if you're already an Internet or regular live player consider these reasons as to why you should invest in good poker software to play at home:
The only players who may not benefit from quality home software are those who already spend the vast majority of their day winning money playing poker online professionally. And even then, there might be a few reasons for you to own it anyway:
Believe it or not, these are just the reasons off the top of my head. I'm sure if motivated, you can probably think of a dozen more reasons that apply to you personally. For poker players who already risk any amount of money at the tables, even just small change, there really is no down side. And we should all pray that our governing fathers resist the ludicrous urge to make Internet poker illegal (an obvious game of skill, not gambling, to anyone who pays attention). If that happens this list might grow too large to safely download.
Q: Do Master Poker's computer players use a different style when playing in Cash Games as opposed to Tournaments?
A: Yes. While a good Hold'em player can probably survive in either environment there are definite (and serious) differences between cash games and tournaments. MP's AI players know how to adjust their playing style to suit the current event, whether a large Tournament, a one-table Sit and Go, or a Cash Game.
Q: Does Master Poker have a Heads-up play option?
A: Yes, and a pretty good one. The primary AI (artificial intelligence) is geared toward a full table of players (9/10). While it is still strong as the number of players at a table are reduced, it reaches a point of critical mass at less than 6 seated players. Strategy and tactics for the game change dramatically from this point on down to Heads-up play as each subsequent player leaves the table. It didn't take long to realize I would need to write an AI addendum for Shorthanded play (3-5 players) and a fully dedicated AI for Heads-up play. I did exactly that. After working rather extensively with the Heads-up AI I feel pretty confident that it will give even most advanced players a solid run for their money (and properly annihilate weak competition). A good Heads-up opponent was one of the original demands I placed on myself back when the software was still intended only for me. To play Heads-up simply adjust the appropriate slider on the Event Setup Screen to two players.
Q: Does MP have the ability to save a tournament in progress so I can finish it at a later time?
A: Yes. Master Poker allows you to save any type of event, whether Tournament, Sit and Go, Survivor, or even Cash Games if you wish, at any stage in the event to return to it at a later date. Even after saving your session, you will have the option to quit at that point, or continue playing right where you left off.
Q: 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)
A: Yes. There are now four primary ways to enter your wagers in Master Poker. They are as follows:
The Action Buttons:
The Keyboard Numpad:
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.
Q: The Starting Hand Guide's comments seem to be aimed at a tight/aggressive style?
A: 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!
Q: 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?
A: 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.
Q: 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?
A: 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.
Q: What's the smallest game I can play as far as chip denominations?
A: The smallest chip denomination in MP is 1 chip (or $1 in Cash Games), which means the smallest game possible will have blinds of 1/2 (in chips or dollars). The largest single denomination chips allow games in the hundreds of millions of dollars, should you desire.
Q: Why does my player (the human player) ALWAYS get his higher card first?
A: 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.
Q: I average about 60 hands per hour when playing online. How many hands per hour would you say I can play with Master Poker?
A: I think most any player would agree, your experience level in No-limit Hold'em is directly related to the number of played hands you can tuck under your belt. Using MP's Zip function (to zip to the end of hands you don't want to play), playing a tight/aggressive style (about 12-14% of the hands dealt), and using an AI Action Speed of .2 seconds (one notch below maximum speed), I regularly book between 900-1000 hands per hour. Even at the low end that's 15 times the number of hands you will see in online play, and more than 25 times the hands you would see in a live game. As any experienced player knows, any time you're playing with other humans the vast majority of your time is wasted watching cards being dealt as you wait for the next playable hand.
Q: Are you saying I can't learn to play good No-limit Hold'em on my X-Box or Playstation?
A: I would agree with that, yes, and it's not just the gaming consoles. While many do produce excellent visual effects (and graphics of your favorite poker heroes) you just can't learn to be a good player if you're playing against bad competition. This applies to the outside world, the Internet, or any poker software. Yes, you can learn the mechanics, and perhaps some basic strategy, but your playing skill will never reach a winning level unless you're faced with the challenges provided by solid competition. As I've said before, the computer players can only be as good at poker as the folks who programmed it. If you're serious about improving your game, invest only in serious software written by actual poker players who are also dedicated students of the game. Just because you see a player's likeness in the game, or a picture of a famous player on the packaging it doesn't mean that player actually had direct input into how the program's artificial intelligence functions. I can't imagine too many pros giving up many months (or years) of their valuable time to sit down and work out each possible situation with the game's programmers. That's just not realistic.
Q: The blinds in my local tournaments go up in timed intervals, how is this handled by Master Poker?
A: In a real-world or online tournament a clock typically determines when to implement ante/blind increases (for example, every 15 minutes), but in the real world you are expected to sit in your seat until you are knocked out. Since MP has no need to impose such strict time guidelines on you, we use a 'hands-per-level' clock to determine when blind increases should be implemented. Online poker deals approximately 60 hands per hour, therefore we can simulate time by saying 1 hand equals approximately 1 minute of real time. After playing approximately 60 hands you have been playing the equivalent of 1 hour's real time. This means if you wish to have the blinds increase every 15 minutes, you would set the 'hands-per-level' slider to raise the blinds at the end of every 15 hands. This system allows you to save the game, answer the door, empty the trash, or get something to drink at any time during your tournament while still maintaining an accurate real-life tournament time structure.
Q: Does MP track the human player's tendencies and save this data from session to session?
A: Yes, and no. Yes, MP tracks your tendencies as if observing your play at the table and uses that data for the current session. No, MP does not save this information from new session to new session (unless you saved the session itself for later play). There are many reasons for not relying on this tracking data for future session decisions:
When the AI is allowed to adjust to your most recent tendencies from session to session you will consistently receive the most accurate and realistic response from your opponents. When your style changes, or when your skill improves, Master Poker's tough players will adapt and adjust their styles against you. This way you will always get the most competitive and realistic conditions possible.
Now ... all that said. You do have the option to Save your sessions for future play. I included the option to Save your cash games (as opposed to cashing out) for those players who want the AI to remember you. If you're practicing for a game in which you will be facing players who already know you're style (ie. a weekly home cash game) you can play your cash games as one long session. That is, instead of cashing out after each session simply Save the session and next time you play just pick up where you left off. This should give you stronger competition, for at least as long as your chipstack doesn't get too large for the game, then you can cash out and begin again.
Q: Can I build a brand new blind structure from scratch to match my current home game?
A: Yes. MP comes with nearly (40) built-in blind structures, but these are included just to make your life easier if you'd like to play something like the World Series Main Event. The true beauty of the MP Custom Blind Structures is that you never have to cross your fingers and hope for a pre-made structure that matches your needs. In MP, if you know the structure, you can quickly build a precise custom structure to match it (in less than five minutes). And down the line, when your home structure changes, it's even easier to update your custom structure to match the new changes, so it's never out of date or inaccurate.
As a player, what I like most about this construct is that I can go to a new Internet poker site and look up, for example, their special Sunday tournament. The blind structure for this new tourney is likely to be unfamiliar to me, but ... I pull up the tournament's blind structure and input it into MP's Custom Structure template. Five minutes later, I'm practicing tournaments with the precise buy-in, structure, and blind level intervals as the real thing. By the time Sunday arrives, I'm ready. You could do the same thing with any home game you're invited to for the first time, or perhaps a local casino tournament where you're spending the weekend.
Click the button below to order your own copy of Master Poker and join the ever growing community of those who've chosen to become part of the next generation of poker software.
Copyright © 2007-2016 Computer Opponents Software. All rights reserved. Send mail to Support at MasterPokerSoftware dotcom.