Interview with Poker Copilot Developer Steve McLeod


MacPoker: Have you read the review of your software on

Steve McLeod: Yes I have… I thought the article was honest and it pleases me to hear people talk about good points and bad points. When articles just talk about good points and that’s all then they don’t seem real. But the major negative point they had was that the HUD was not to their liking. Since then I’ve released a new HUD which is more in line with what people expect of a HUD where the statistics are directly above each player’s name and avatar on the table.

MP: Why did you develop the software? Is it because there’s more out there for PCs and not much out there for the Mac poker player?

SM: There was another product. For some reason the developer stopped supporting it and stopped responding. I tried that software and I couldn’t get anywhere with it. Because I am a software developer, I did what every software developer does when they can’t find the software that they need: I just wrote my own. At first it was just to satisfy my own needs and I mentioned it to a couple of my poker-playing friends. Their enthusiasm made me realize that I actually have something other people might want.

MP: You have the registration files and names of people who have downloaded your product. Any professionals or big name players on that list?

SM: I haven’t had any yet. I don’t think that many professionals have switched to Mac yet but I’m hoping that changes. I’ll keep my eyes out. It would be very cool to have some pros using Poker Copilot.

MP: Do you find that Poker Copilot has actually helped your game? Are you a winning online player, Steve?

SM: Like most of us I have good streaks and bad streaks but I think I have more good streaks now than I used to. It’s definitely made me realize that I was too loose as a player and passive. Since I’ve been using Poker Copilot I’ve improved both of them dramatically and really seen a big improvement overall.

MP: Quite an amazing program you have there. Before I started using it I didn’t realize how many hands I’d play or the frequency of the different hands that I played.

SM: You know one of the features I’m planning on adding within the next month or so is a hand replayer. You’ll be able to go into the Aces and Ace-Kings or whatever and you’ll be able to see which hands you lost and why you lost. You can look at each step and see if you made the right decision or the wrong decision.

MP: Is Poker Copilot only compatible with Full Tilt and PokerStars?

SM: As far as I know they’re the only two that have full-featured Mac clients that write hand history on a Mac. Basically for a poker tracker program you need the hand history being written by the online poker room. If PartyPoker or Pacific Poker or another big one makes a full native Mac client, I’ll happily add support for their product.

MP: Internet Poker used to be really big in the U.S. before online gambling came under fire. Do you still find that most of your downloads come from the United States or are they from other countries?

SM: The U.S. is still 50 percent. No surprises there… well actually I’m a little bit surprised because of the unsure legality of it. Here in Europe it’s very popular with the French. There are always French people downloading my software and buying it.

MP: Live and online play is very different so how does Poker CoPilot keep track of moves like blind-stealing attempts?

SM: Well the hand history tells you who paid what money when and who folded when. Blind-steals I do by finding out if the person one to the right of the small blind was the first person to bet. If so, did he or she bet higher than the big blind. That’s counted as a blind-steal attempt and then it divides it by the blind-steal opportunities, which is calculated in a similar means. These definitions are often quite hard to get right because there’s no standard definition. For example some people might call it blind stealing if you’re on the small blind and you try and steal the big blind. Some people might think you’re trying to steal if you’re two to the right of the small blind. I do the best I can with just user feedback. If it’s clear that I have something wrong then I change it in line with what people expect.

MP: When do you plan on releasing the next update?

SM: There will probably be another minor update within the next week. The next update with significant features will be in about a month’s time. Currently I’ve been releasing month-to-month because there’s so many features people keep asking me for. The ones that get asked for the most are the features I do next. Once I mention to somebody that I’ve got [an update] coming, I get so many e-mails asking me to release it.

MP: What features are you planning on adding or updating for a future release?

SM: I’ve just added continuation bet statistics, which I’m currently testing. It was the single-most requested feature. I didn’t realize continuation bet stats were so popular. Another thing I’ll be adding soon is the ability to view by day. So you can see if you’ve been winning one hour or losing the next. I’ve created a graph that splits up the statistics by hour. You know for me this didn’t feel so useful but it just shows that as the software developer I really don’t have a firm idea of what people want which is why I love it when people tell me what they want. Some more statistics and customization will be added to the HUD. For example we’ll use little symbols to represent on the HUD the nature of a player. Is this person a donkey, shark, mouse, rock, etc. I’ll determine a range to categorize people with the help of my most vocal users. This is also a very highly requested feature.

MP: How many downloads have you had?

SM: I posted this on my blog recently. I had 5,186 downloads in December and roughly 200 a day now. The number of downloads just keeps going up. I think as more people find out about it, word gets around and as I add new features people keep coming and downloading it.

MP: That’s very impressive and assuming that those who have downloaded your software are only a fraction of Mac poker players…

SM: Yeah, you know it’s amazing just how many Mac users there are who play poker that are desperate for software. I’ve been blown away by all this… I thought I might get a couple of hundred downloads a month but I get that every day now.

MP: Is there anything that you would like to say in closing about Poker Copilot?

SM: If you have suggestions let me know. If you have complaints let me know. And really that’s it… I thrive on user feedback so that’s the best thing I can say. People let me know what you’d like to see in Poker Copilot. If enough you let me know what you’d like to see, it will get there.

MP: And finally why are you a Mac user?

SM: For twenty years I was only a PC person and the Mac I have now is my first one ever. Well I always thought that Macs were just something to try and be cool. I had friends who day-in and day-out would tell me that Macs are just a nicer computer to use, the software just works, and the whole design ethos made computing a joy again. What they didn’t tell me is that if I go to a café with my Macbook and bring it out and start typing away, before too long somebody is likely to come over and ask me about it. Computers I thought were an antisocial thing but I’ve realized that with Macs they’re a real good way of meeting people.

To give Steve user feedback on Poker Copilot go to For more information on Poker Copilot or to download the software go to You can read the MacPoker review of Poker Copilot at


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