What does the PT4 & HM2 merger mean for you?

Will we see price increases? Will they become a subscription model? Is a monopoly bad? We interview PokerTracker representative Steven McLoughlin to find out.

"We will still compete in a friendly way"

PokerTracker 4

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PokerStrategy.com: How long has this merger been in the making? 

Steven McLoughlin: The owners of both companies have been friendly for a long time before the merger, we frequently would discuss industry and player issues that would benefit both products. Over time the prospect of working together was discussed a few times, but the timing was not right for either brand until now.

We discussed the possibility of a business merger for several months to make sure that it was the correct decision for both companies and its customers. This was not a quick decision, it was a well thought out process, and we hope our decision will benefit everyone involved in the long run. 

PokerStrategy.com: Obviously the big fear is that now you no longer are rivals, you won't work as hard to stay competitive how do respond to the concerns of a monopoly?

Steven McLoughlin: Our merger creates a new company that will be positioned to maintain our status as the two most recognisable brands in the personal online poker tracking field, but our brands will also continue to compete with one another in a friendly way and we will also continue to have many third party competitors. This is no different from the company that owned PokerStars when it acquired Full Tilt Poker, except that our business deal was a merger rather than a acquisition.

PokerTracker and Hold'em Manager have competed against one another while being friendly for a long time, our business merger is not intended to change the way the brands will compete, both brands will continue down their own unique paths with some behind the scenes unifying technology. 

"Competition is a good thing"

HM2

PokerStrategy.com: How big a motivator has it been being such evenly matched rivals in the past?

Steven McLoughlin: There is no doubt that both PokerTracker and Hold'em Manager have pushed each other to become elite products; however, neither brands were driven to the extent that some users or members of the poker media may have assumed. The majority of HM2 and PT4’s features were determined well in advance.

Occasionally one company did something that changed the other companies' plans, most of the time this was not a factor in the planning process for either application.

We understand that competition is a good thing. It is good for the customers, and it helps us provide better software. It is also better for us as a company, better software keeps other competitors at bay.  That is why we specifically made the decision to keep our development teams separate to promote competition. We hope that this friendly competition between the PokerTracker and Hold'em Manager development teams will continue to push both brands forward into the future

"No plans to raise prices"

Hold'em Manager 2

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PokerStrategy.com: If a new player asked whether he should buy PT4 or HM2, what would the answer be? Are you able to identify if one product is more suitable to a particular player?

Steven McLoughlin: The HM2 and PT4’s teams have long admired each other’s work, we know that it is unrealistic to assume that “one size fits all”. That is why both brands have long advised that players should take advantage of the 30 day free trials for both applications before purchasing. Choose the application that best suits your own personal online poker workflow.

We say this so often, that a quick search of the PokerStrategy.com forums would prove that we have taken this approach for years. Now that the merger is complete, we see no reason to change this strategy - let the players decide for themselves which application is best for their own personal in-game workflow, or post game review workflow.

PokerStrategy.com: Some players are concerned that now you have cornered the market, a price hike is imminent. I know you obviously can’t say you will never hike prices, but can you make any specific short-mid term assurances of no increases?

Steven McLoughlin: We feel that our interests are aligned with the players with respect to the price of our products. We have always priced our products in a way that is affordable to every online poker player while providing us with enough revenue to continue building and improving our products. We are aware of customers' sensitivity to price and we do not plan on making changes that will open up room for any competitors to potentially take advantage of that opportunity. 

PokerStrategy.com: Likewise, some people are worried you may move to a subscription based model instead is that something you can confirm/deny? 

Steven McLoughlin: You can rest assured that history has shown that our management team has selected the pricing model that benefits the vast majority of our users; neither PokerTracker 4 nor Hold'em Manager 2 will be moving to a subscription based only model. However, it is far too early for us to speculate on or commit to pricing for any other future products we have in the pipeline. 

"The Cloud is coming to both products"

PT4

PokerStrategy.com: Do you think this move might actually increase competition, either from a new software creator or maybe by one of the smaller tracking software products seeing an opportunity to raise their game? 

Steven McLoughlin: We are very aware of our current and potential future competitors. That is why we will continue to innovate and work as hard as we always have to meet the evolving needs of online poker players. We do not intend to change anything that has made PokerTracker and Hold'em Manager as successful as they have been.

PokerStrategy.com: In laymen's terms, how easy would it be for someone to create a new form of tracking software?

Steven McLoughlin: It is very hard to maintain a properly working personal online poker tracker with a HUD, we have been working on PokerTracker for 13 years and Hold’em Manager for close to eight years with massive development and support teams to help us meet the needs of players. This is no easy task!

Even PokerStrategy at one time was a competitor with it’s popular Elephant tracker & HUD solution, but this project was abandoned due to the tremendous resources required to stay competitive and up to date. Both PokerTracker and Hold'em Manager are such complex programs that it takes teams of people and years of work to get where we are today. This does not even take into account the vast add-on and app ecosystem that has been built up to complement HM2 and PT4.

PokerStrategy.com: Now you are working together, can you reveal any specific improvements to either product as a direct result of the merger? 

Steven McLoughlin: It is important to be clear that the companies merged together to create a new business, but the products developed by the two companies have not merged - they remain friendly and fairly autonomous. Most of the features that will see cross-platform development will never be noticed by users, for example recently the HM2 development team used newly unified code to help them add support for a new type of iPoker tournament.

We have future plans for tools that will benefit both PokerTracker and Hold'em users, but it is too soon to discuss those plans. We can confirm that both HM2 and PT4 users will someday have server-based tools as an option (commonly referred to as “the cloud”), but we still have some time to get to that stage.

Visit our Poker Tools page and Software Forum for more information on both these products.

Barry Carter

Barry Carter

Barry Carter is the editor of PokerStrategy.com and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2. He has been working in the poker industry for nine years and in 2013 won the APAT Award for Best Poker Media Provider. You can learn more about his work here.

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Comments (8)

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  • gavinonymous

    #1

    I've been beta testing HM2 for two years now, and I think it has a chance to one day become a decent product. As it is, it hogs resources and crashes/hangs too often.

    Also the use of cloud computing is tainted by the recent scandals involving NSA.
  • andiofwbafc

    #2

    I like how he answered which product should people buy question.

    Dodged it fairly well :D
  • Phoenix2104

    #3

    Monopoly is always bad for the consumer.
    This can't be any different.
  • PokerTracker

    #4

    gavinonymous - please re-read the article, we address how our teams will be helping one another to solve problems. Already HM2 has improved, and of course you always have the option of trying PT4 for a comparison - the two apps use very different workflow and database access methods. We consider that to be a positive, it allows us to have more than one solution to fit our user's needs. As for cloud computing, if you have an email account you are already using the "cloud" - your emails and personal data is stored in servers around the world. Our cloud solution will combine processing power so our servers conduct the data analysis instead of your local computer in addition to personal poker database storage, this will be an optional solution, and it is by nature far more safe than your email server currently is. Plus it is unlikely that the NSA would care about poker hand histories ;-)

    andiofwbafc : It wasn't a dodge, we think its best to let you choose which solution is best for your own needs. Isn't that a good thing? We can't see the downside, we see nothing but good by encouraging choice.

    Phoenix2104: We would agree that HM2 & PT4 are the dominant forces in our field, but we are certainly not a monopoly. A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the ONLY supplier of a particular commodity, but we have many competitors - and that is not expected to change. Competition remains, we continue to compete with third party tracking tools (there are many) as well as each other.
  • andiofwbafc

    #5

    pokertracker: I think you misunderstood me, I was admiring the way you answered a difficult question :)

    Perhaps 'dodge' was the wrong choice of word.
  • PokerTracker

    #6

    A++ andiofwbafc, thanks!
  • h34dhunt3r

    #7

    So will they merge their products too, I mean is there goint to be one software of two still? How will interface look like? Ive been playing on PT for so long and I am so used to it that any change can really ruin my poker expirience.. I tested HM2 also but i just like PT waaay to much. Maybe I am missing some point but it looks to me that main questions aren't asked?

    How will new program look like?

    When can we expect it?

    Will there be one, merged software?
  • PokerTracker

    #8

    h34dhunt3r : PokerTrackr and Holdem Manager will remain separate apps. The business merged, but the software is not merging. Our developers will help each other when needed, but they will be working on separate competitive teams.