Introducing HRC v3: Enhanced Preflop Solver with Postflop Modeling
The new HRC version introduces state-of-the-art postflop abstractions, providing users with cutting-edge tools to improve their poker game. With enhanced features and a new two-tier licensing model, the new version caters to both cash game and tournament players.
As the world of poker continuously evolves, so does HRC. Our development team consistently works to enhance and update the software in response to user feedback, industry changes, and new research. After a two-year public beta testing period, we are proud to introduce HRC 3.0, which includes state-of-the-art postflop abstractions as a core addition to the software.
We have made a significant effort to ensure that our users have access to the latest features and improvements. By staying up-to-date with HRC, you can be confident that you are utilizing a cutting-edge tool in your poker journey. We are grateful for the valuable feedback from our users during the beta testing phase, which has been instrumental in refining and optimizing the new version.
- A Quick Overview
- Modeling Postflop Betting
- New Features in Action: A video tutorial
- Licensing changes: Introducing Classic and Pro
A Quick Overview
There is an abundance of new content in this latest version that accumulated over the span of the beta period. This section offers a brief overview of some of the new features. We will reserve the discussion of the primary new feature, postflop betting, for a separate section.
In conjunction with this new release, we have also created online documentation, where you can access more comprehensive information.
If you updated directly from the previous stable version then you may be wondering about the new Home tab. Previously this tab had four hand mode options: Basic Hand, Advanced Hand, as well as Basic Monte Carlo Hand and Advanced Monte Carlo Hand.
Most importantly: All that functionality is still accessible, we simply cleaned up the tab to show only the most common options.
- Enumerated Hand is identical to the old Basic Hand, this is still useful for quick push-or-fold calculations. You can even enable the Advanced Betting setting in the hand setup under Hand Mode to get the old Advanced Hand functionality, but we'd discourage using this option since it can't take advantage of the new Postflop model.
- Monte Carlo Hand is essentially the old Advanced Monte Carlo Hand. Unchecking the Advanced Betting setting results in the same behavior as the old Basic Monte Carlo Hand. You should be using Monte Carlo mode for all hands that aren't strictly push-or-fold.
The range grid got a complete do-over in this iteration, with new tooltips and a total of 6 different view modes.
The colors of the grid can be customized at Window: Preferences: Color Configuration.
Save, Load and Hand Configs
For Monte Carlo hands we've added full support for saving and loading, along with free lightweight viewer mode.
Using the Save As button in the toolbar, hands can be saved in the following formats:
- .hrcz (Complete Save), this saves the full state of the hand and it can be loaded back later to resume the calculation.
- .hrcv (Viewer Save), this is a partial save that includes the hand settings and the preflop results. These files are typically small enough to allow easy sharing with others.
- .json (Hand Config), this includes only the hand settings. The files are very small and can be used to re-create the hand setup. This can be especially useful when seeking help about a calculation, include the hand config file when posting questions on our discord, so others can quickly re-create your settings.
Working with the saved files:
- Load Hand supports .hrcz files and fully restores the calculation.
- View Hand works with both .hrcz and .hrcv and quickly loads the hands in read-only mode. This mode has very low memory requirements, even when working with large files. The view option does not require an active HRC license, so feel free to share your calculations with friends that way.
- File: New: From Saved File can be used with all three formats and restores the settings for the hand setup dialog. This is useful whenever you want to calculate variations of a previously saved hand, simply load the settings back and then make the changes as needed.
The new Table View component replaces the Quick Graph view in the default perspective. It's a simple graphical presentation of the game state at the selected point in the game tree. If you updated from an older version then use Window: Reset Perspective to switch to the updated default. Quick Graph is also still accessible via Window: Show View.
Various Smaller Features
Throughout the 2 year beta phase we also added a large number of minor features and quality-of-life improvements. The following list is by no means complete, but can be used as a starting point to explore some additional new features.
- Right click range: Node details
Visualize card bunching effects or analyze the range EVs of the selected node.
- Hand: Export node to Pio
Export the ranges and equity model so the line can be analyzed in Pio or GTO+. The file includes the equity model data calculated by HRC, which allows other solvers to calculate postflop strategies for large field MTTs or KO/PKO hands.
- Hand: Export Strategies
Added a new export format that includes all strategies and EVs in .json format.
- Hand: Duplicate Hand
Clone the current hand.
- Hand: Start new calculation
Loads the settings of the hand back into the setup dialog so modifications can be made.
Modeling Postflop Betting
The main addition in the new HRC version is postflop betting for Monte Carlo calculations. In previous versions, pots not all-in preflop were assumed to be checked down after the flop. Users were advised against using limps or flatting lines, except for setting up previous actions. Now, calculations can accurately model postflop equity realization, considering ICM/KO factors and full card bunching. This feature builds a postflop game tree, not just applying a static equity realization approximation.
This allows HRC to calculate useful general-purpose preflop ranges for deep stacked play.
Enable postflop betting in the Betting Setup dialog page of the Hand Setup Dialog. After the initial calculation, run additional sampling using the green Run Nash Calculation button in the toolbar, as postflop calculations need larger sample sizes than preflop calculations.
Find game tree statistics, abstraction, and bucket sizes for various streets at the bottom of the same dialog page.
How does this work?
Poker solvers require a lot of memory to solve postflop trees, especially with multiway situations and numerous postflop spots. HRC simplifies these calculations for regular hardware using imperfect recall abstractions.
Instead of learning strategies for each board run-out, HRC groups similar board/hand combinations into "buckets". The solver learns to play categories of hands, like "mid pair with a strong kicker on a low two-suited board", without knowing the exact hand/board combination.
The number of buckets determines the level of detail. Fewer buckets mean more combinations per bucket, making situations within a bucket less similar and causing loss of details. Reducing buckets may lead to more general categories, which can affect the ability to play individual hands correctly.
The advantages of this approach include lower memory requirements and quicker strategy convergence. Strategies converge faster because the solver generalizes across hand/board combinations within the buckets. This means less processing time is needed for each individual hand/board run-out.
HRC offers abstractions from 64 to 16k buckets, with the HRC classic tier limited to 256 buckets.
Larger abstractions have higher accuracy potential but require more training for a decent accuracy level.
The number of buckets isn't the only factor for abstraction quality. Strategically similar hand/board combinations should be grouped together in a bucket. Finding a metric that captures this strategic similarity is complex.
HRC abstractions consider not just hand equities but also how hands realize their equity on future streets. For more information, refer to the 2013 paper by Johanson et al from the University of Alberta linked below.
New Features in Action: A video tutorial
This tutorial was made using a slightly older version (November 2022), but it provides a great first overview of the new functionality and goes through the steps of creating and calculating a new hand with the new postflop options.
Licensing changes: Introducing Classic and Pro
HRC is launching a new two-tier license model with the new release to cater to different user needs:
- HRC Classic (99.99$ yearly) is designed for short- to mid-stacked calculations, incorporating the functionality of the previous stable version along with exciting new features from the recent beta cycle.
- HRC Pro (299.99$ yearly) is our comprehensive preflop solver, capable of running high-quality preflop solves at any stack depth, suitable for tournaments and cash games.
- Refer to our pricing page for additional shorter term license options.
Existing HRC licenses are grandfathered into the Classic tier, and prices for active subscriptions will remain unchanged.
The initial differences between the two versions are as follows:
Tree size is capped at a maximum of 25,000 nodes in the Classic version. This limitation does not practically affect calculations that do not utilize the new postflop betting feature. The limit is designed so HRC Classic users can effectively use the new postflop feature for short to medium stacks of up to 25 - 30bb.
The Classic tier offers the new postflop abstractions, but only with accuracy settings up to 256 buckets. The Pro version allows full access to all abstractions, currently ranging from 64 to 16k buckets.
Scripted tree building is exclusive to the Pro tier.
For short-stacked hands, Classic tier users can benefit from the new postflop betting model at no additional cost, albeit with slightly lower accuracy compared to HRC Pro. This represents a significant improvement over our previous stable version, where all pots were checked down after the flop.
HRC Classic licenses can be upgraded directly in the program at Help: Registration: Upgrade License. This will show the available upgrade options for the currently used key, which differ for subscriptions versus non-recurring licenses.
Subscription products receive a prorated credit for the remaining license time in the current period. The refunded amount is confirmed immediately via email and will typically show up on the card balance after 2-3 days.
Example: Upgrading a Yearly Subscription
- Assume a yearly subscription at 99.9$ / year with 250 days remaining in the license period.
- When upgrading, a refund for the 250 unused days is issued: 250 / 365 * 99.9$ = 68.42$ refund.
- The same period is then charged at the new rate: 250 / 365 * 299.99$ = 205.47$ charge.
- The price for upgrading the remaining 250 days in the license period was 205.47$ - 68.42$ = 137.05$.
- The license period will end after 250 days and then renew at the regular rate (299.99$ for 1 year).
Non-recurring HRC licenses can opt to reduce their remaining license time to convert to HRC Pro. The dialog at Help: Registration: Upgrade License will display a preview of the updated expiration date before the upgrade is confirmed.
License time is shortened by a factor of 4, so upgrading a fresh 99.99$ HRC Classic 12 month license results in 3 months of HRC Pro (also 99.99$ as quarterly option).
We hope that you find HRC v3 a valuable upgrade to your poker analysis, as the introduction of postflop betting is designed to assist you in deepening your understanding of a wide array of situations.
Don't forget that HRC has a very active Discord community where you can connect with other users, share insights, and discuss your solves. We invite you to join and be part of our growing community. As always, we appreciate your feedback and will continue to work on refining and expanding HRC to better serve your needs. Good luck at the tables!