Monday, March 12, 2007

Bluffers Guide To Playing Poker On Your Home Network

The laptop died this week. Not a sudden death but a gradual ebbing away of its life force, as the connection between power supply and motherboard grew ever more erratic.

It's out of warranty, and appears to be suffering from the effects of having a toddler use it as a trampoline, so a replacement is the only option. Which should arrive from Dell later this week.

We have grown accustomed to the convenience of wireless networking in a short space of time, and I doubt we could do without a laptop for long now.

When we first 'went wireless' it gave us great flexibility, but it also presented a challenge in relation to one of my most commonly used poker tools - Poker Tracker.

The problem was my Poker Tracker database was on my main PC, so playing poker on the laptop meant I couldn't access all that juicy data I had accumulated.

At the same time, I was encountering an increasing delay on the main PC as the database grew to the point where auto updates could cause temporary screen freezes - which was quite alarming in the midst of a big hand.

So, I decided to kill two birds with one stone by making use of an old PC that was still functional.

Step one was to wipe the Windows 98 operating system from this old piece of junk, and replace it with Linux. Installing Linux gave me the opportunity to also load PostgreSQL.

I then ported my Poker Tracker Access database to PostgreSQL and loaded it on the old PC.
Poker Tracker set-upSo, now I had a simple client-server system where my main PC was running Poker Tracker and my old PC was running the database. Which took some load off the main PC, thus eliminating the freezes.

Step two was to install Poker Tracker on the laptop, and get a new key from Pat - the creator of the software.

I'm not sure about the intricacies of the license but I explained the situation in an email and a new key was issued very rapidly.

I think it's fair to say that having Poker Tracker installed on two machines is fine, so long as you only play on one of them at a time.

With the database held on a separate machine, either Poker Tracker client can access it. Thus making the data available on both desktop and laptop.

For most people, I'd expect that should be just fine.

However, if you happen to have a fairly slow laptop, then the screen freeze may still be an issue. If this is the case then a solution is available...

First you need to fire up both desktop and laptop.

Share the directory on your laptop to which hand histories are written, and start Poker Tracker running on the desktop PC. Configure it to read from the shared drive on the laptop, kick off the auto import job, and presto, the work of loading and rating players moves from laptop to desktop PC.

Now you can start Poker Tracker on the laptop - but DO NOT start the auto import job - and your laptop will read the updated stats from the database without ever needing to do the calculation.

Thus you are free to roam with your laptop, whilst still making use of all that helpful data you have spent months collecting and without fear of timing out in a big hand when the auto rate kicks in.


Charlie said...

Wow Awesome, how exactly did you get that all set up? This is what I want to do, but im not very good with linux.

Div said...


I'm no Linux guru either. What I did was buy a book called "A Practical Guide to Red Hat Linux: Fedora Core and Red Hat Enterprise Linux" which came with a set of install CDs.

The setup is as simple, if not simpler, than loading Windows on a new PC and I've very rarely referred to the book.

The PostgreSQL settings needed a little tweaking but there's lots of online resources for getting help on that, including the Poker Tracker forum.