HUD's To Be A Casualty Of A Legalized Online Poker Industry?

As American pros and players take a forced break from playing online poker, many people in the US poker community have taken time out to contemplate what a future legalized online poker market should look like.
One player whose opinion should carry much weight when taking a hard look at the online poker industry is Dusty “leatherass” Schmidt. Originally a talented amateur golfer, Schmidt then turned his attention towards poker in 2007 and has since earned more than $3 million online without suffering a losing month.
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As well as writing several books on poker, Dusty Schmidt also writes a regular column at, with his latest article focusing on the role of the heads-up display (HUD) in online poker.
Interestingly for a man who plays up to 20 tables at a time, Schmidt has come out pretty strongly against the use of HUD’s, arguing that their use should be banned from a future regulated US online poker industry.
HUD’s are software programs that allow players to statistically track opponents while breaking down their hand histories and how they play the game. Consequently, new players can often find themselves at such a disadvantage when playing recreational poker that they may feel cheated, disillusioned and stop playing altogether.
As Schmidt explains, money from recreational players is largely responsible for keeping the poker economy buoyant. Therefore, keeping these players happy by ensuring a level playing field should be paramount to maintaining a healthy poker environment.
Dusty “leatherass” Schmidt then goes on to state: “For several years now, as the popularity of these programs and websites have shrunk pros’ win rates by at least 50% on average. The programs are aiding players so much in the decision-making process, it has tremendously reduced the amount of skill needed to play the game. The programs practically scream the answers out loud to you. Some very mediocre poker minds have enjoyed quite a bit of success at the tables simply because they spent some time understanding their HUD.”
Schmidt then concludes by saying in a new legalized online poker environment, the game should more closely reflect live poker where a players’ observation skills are more important. He then suggest that an independent overseeing body should be set-up to ensure market-wide compliance as each individual poker site would otherwise worry about losing business to rival sites who failed to enforce the ban.

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