Just about everyone who plays multiple tables at one time uses some sort of software to keep track of wins/losses and some sort of heads-up-display, or HUD. The purpose of these tools is to help the player to make decisions a bit quicker. PokerStars is one of the most multi-table friendly rooms on the Net, and therefore has a lot of people using this type of software. If you are just getting into playing multiple tables and want to start using a HUD, this article will explain the basics of using one of the best and most popular HUDs available, Hold'em Manager (HEM).
Also keep in mind that you want to check the poker site's terms and conditions to be sure that they allow this type of software. You'll be happy to know that PokerStars has approved this type of tool for use during play since it gives the user no information other than that which would already be available. It just makes it easier to keep track of.
First thing you want to do is make sure you have the latest version of the Hold'em Manager software. This can be done from the forum on the Hold'em Manager website. They keep the most current beta version available, as well as general release stable versions. Beta versions will give you the most up to date software, but as with all beta products, there are also more bugs that will need to be worked out.
Hold'em Manager is the most comprehensive hand database software available. There's very little that it cannot do and even that is probably in development. With that in mind it would take a book to explain how to use every feature available on HEM (their website is very good for specific questions). This article will go over the basics to get started.
Looking at the picture below you can see that there are several tabs and "layers" to HEM. "Import" is where you begin and end your imports each session. "Cash Games" is going to be for ring-game play and the "Tourney" tab will be where your tournament hands are displayed. The "Reports" sub-tab will display your basic information. From the dropdown menu you can select to display the report "By Stakes", by various hands options, by position, as well as a number of other options.
You can also see on the left of the screenshot that you can choose which stats you want to display on your main report. You can add stats by clicking the "+" button and choosing a new stat. There are hundreds of stats to choose from, so don't overwhelm yourself. Select the ones that you think can best help you to analyze your game.
Another important thing to do is set up your HUD. You do this by selecting "HUD Options" in the top menu, then "Player Preferences". That will bring up the menu below.
Once again there are hundreds of stats you could choose to display on your HUD. Most players will suggest you start simple. You can see an example of a HUD setup above, but you should play around with it and find what works for you. There are also a number of HUD setups available on the HEM website that other people have shared.
There are a couple more things you want to do before you are able to use Hold'em Manager with PokerStars. First, you want to set-up your import folder. This is pretty simple to do, although at first it may seem a little complicated. All you need to do is click "Options" from the top menu, then select "Configure Auto Import Folders". That will bring up a menu of all the folders you already have (probably none at this point). So select "Add Folder". That brings up this menu:
Here, you click on "Select" by "Folder Name", then point to wherever you have set your hand histories to save in PokerStars, which is usually something like C:\Program Files\PokerStars\HandHistory\"your PokerStars screen name". Then it is best to select "Import from Sub Folders". Finally, from this menu you can set up an archive folder. What this does is organize all of your hand histories in one place after they are imported by Hold'em Manager. You can create a new folder and point to that folder by clicking "Select" next to "Archive Folder".
The other thing you need to do to configure HEM for PokerStars is make sure that the HUD knows where you are at the table. We do this by clicking "HUD Options" from the top menu and selecting "Seating Preferences". That brings up the menu below, where we choose the correct poker room from the dropdown menu, then choose our seat.
The seat numbers start at seat #1 from the top of the table (where the dealer would normally sit) and then around the table from there. Then hit "OK" and you're ready to go!
Now it's time to fire up some tables and start getting used to your great new tool. It is usually best to start up one table and make sure your setup is working correctly and make any adjustments necessary. If you have more questions about using Hold'em Manager with PokerStars you can try the HEM website, or ask questions in our Tools of Poker Forum