How to Use Sharkscope
Sharkscope for Sit n Gos
Sharkscope is one of several online services that track the results of online players. Sharkscope is specifically used to track tournament results, not cash games like Poker Tracker does, and includes both sit-n-go (single-table tournament) and MTT (mutli-table tournament results). Many casual players use Sharkscope (available at sharkscope.com) as a quick tracking reference for their own play, while many others buy paid subscriptions to the service and use it as a tool for obtaining a quick overview of their opponents at a given table. Sharkscope gives no information as to a player’s style of play, but instead serves up short- and long-term profit and loss information.
Despite the fact that Sharkscope uses information (tournament results) generally available in the public domain, its use – or perhaps misuse – by some of its users makes Sharkscope a controversial tool among online players. Sharkscope provides an aggregate of information on given players not generally available through independent means, and the use of sites such as Sharkscope (and others that are similar) during live play is viewed by some large sites as a violation of their Terms and Conditions (ToC). Because of this many dedicated players run Sharkscope on a second computer or only when not actively engaged in tourneys on a site where Sharkscope’s live use is forbidden.
Despite this, Sharkscope offers much useful information, and offers five free name searches a day for free. The graphs show trends over time and can often be a statistical indicator of tilt, and its self-contained breakdowns according to buy-in level are a quick tool for evaluating the level of one’s own game. When you should you move up in stakes? Sharkscope is an easy tool for determining that answer. Sharkscope is also site- and network-independent, meaning that you can compare your results on one network against those on another, and easily see which is the better use of your time.
Who’s Business is it?
That’s some of the good of Sharkscope, but there is also the bad. One of the reasons behind Sharkscope’s controversial position is the belief held by many poker players that the overall amount of money a player wins at the tables over time is that player’s business, not anyone else’s. Sharkscope, as with many tools of the computer age, shreds those beliefs in a cold and often harsh way. Online players often feel safe behind the relative anonymity of their computer screens, freely berating their opponents in ways that would be unacceptable, perhaps even dangerous to one’s personal well-being, in a live poker setting. (Successful online players quickly develop a thick skin toward this type of player.)
Use Sharkscope Smartly
“Sharkscope baiting,” in particular, is one of the most counterproductive methods used by a small segment of online players to denigrate their opponents. While talking trash has always been part of the game, looking up an opponent’s Sharkscope stats and using them to insult that player in the online chat happens far too frequently. Not only is it poor form and a violation of poker etiquette, it falls into the category of “educating the fish” and shows you’re on tilt.
Showing or reminding a bad player of just how bad he is either serves to incentivize that player to become tougher or better, or gives him an excuse to leave the game. In either case, the player doing the berating is worse off for the loss of the perceived fish. Part of being a truly good player is allowing bad players to be bad, and Sharkscope, for better or worse, tends to make a lot of players better.