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Exclusive interview with Ace Poker Solutions founder


Who are the people behind the poker software we use every day? In this interview, we talk with John Anhalt, founder of Ace Poker Solutions, the company behind DriveHUD, a state of the art tracking software.



Question 1: Hello John! Thank you for taking the time for us. Let’s start with something simple: How are you? How old are you? 

JA (APS): Overall I’m usually in a very positive place. I’ve now past my 45th year on this planet, and I’ve never felt better.

Question 2: Why did you found Ace Poker Solutions? What’s the story behind the company?

JA (APS): I started Ace Poker Solutions to help diversify myself and my family financially. I had already had a successful corporate career, and a successful professional poker playing career, but I knew that the money in poker wouldn’t last forever. 

When my first child was born a little over 14 years ago, I started thinking about forming a company to teach poker but was still at the beginning stages of my career. But I knew after she was born, that the poker lifestyle wasn’t going to work ideally for me anymore. I also knew that poker was just starting to hit a major upward trend, and I could be at the forefront of that trend. 

Question 3: What do you think of regulations in countries like Spain and USA where players can’t play against other countries or event can’t play at all?

JA (APS): I think governments do themselves and their people a great injustice when they try and prohibit popular past times, and people’s reasonable indulgences. It’s never worked throughout history, and it only creates more dangerous black markets for people they are sworn to serve and protect. 

Question 4: What makes Ace Poker Solutions products different from the competition?

JA (APS): As a general whole, we create products with ease of use in mind. We’ve been innovators in several areas of software development, and over the years other people, of course, have come into the same space and mimicked those processes. That’s to be expected of course, and we take that as a compliment. Most importantly we take customer support and service very seriously. We don’t just give lip service to saying we want happy customers, the whole team goes above and beyond to make sure our customers know they are fully supported.

Question 5: How do you choose the poker rooms to add support to your software?

JA (APS): We mainly look at the most popular rooms of course. But then we also look at other niche markets that are underserved and try and serve those.

Question 6: What are your main prospects for the future?

JA (APS): We have a lot coming down the line with add-on products in DriveHUD, which is our latest HUD and database software. Leak Buster 2, which was our most popular software for over 8 years running is having a complete update and will be released in Q1 of this year.

Question 7: Some poker players and even new poker sites are against the use of software like DriveHUD, they say it gives unfair advantages to the players. What do you think about those comments?

JA (APS): It does give an unfair advantage. It gives an unfair advantage the same way that if you were playing tennis against someone, and your opponent spent the time to get his racket strung properly before the match, had the best tennis shoes on, had his rackets gripped properly and spent time analyzing and studying his game on film. 

The advantage in any game and in life, in general, is going to go to the person who does their due diligence, puts in the work, and gives their best effort. It’s always been a silly argument to me that people want to say HUDs are somehow unfair. It’s a tool, and an amazing tool that every poker player should have, and I’m not saying that just because I sell one. It’s honestly the way I improved the most as a poker player, which was tracking my results, running filters, reviewing my hands in re-players, exporting and posting them on poker forums.

But it's a tool. It's not going to magically make you a better poker player, just like having the best tennis racket isn't going to make you the best tennis player.

Online poker is NOT live poker. Anyone who is trying to make online poker live poker is just selling you a gimmick. The sites that want to ban HUDs to have the appearance of being fairer are doing themselves a disservice because it will just push the software into the black market where good mid and high stakes players will pay a lot of money to have custom developed personal HUDs that no one else will have access to.

You can’t stop HUDs on any site. It’s not possible. Sites like Pokerstars did the intelligent thing, which was regulating the use of HUDs. That’s the more reasonable position, but people generally tend to sway from one extreme to another extreme in a lot of areas of life. Common sense regulation is the better way to approach things so that all groups’ needs are met and satisfied, and you eliminate creating unfair advantages for small groups that can afford to pay extreme amounts of money. 

Question 8: Online poker is an ever-changing industry; how do you think it will look in 5 years?

JA (APS): I had “industry experts” over 5 years ago tell me that online poker would be dead by now. Between the crackdown of anti-poker laws in various countries, and the rise of A.I., people wouldn’t want to play online that much anymore. I, of course, saw things a bit differently and didn’t believe that, but A.I. will eventually bring new challenges for online poker. 

I still think there’s a ton more poker to be played online, and with the rise of math and data-driven approaches in games, and sports, there will forever be new opportunities to grow and learn. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more new variations of common poker games, in order to keep the games fresh, and the A.I. and analysis one small step behind.

We would like to thank John again for sharing his thoughts with us and invite all our grinders to try out DriveHUD.

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