How to Interpret Your Opponent’s Poker Stats
One of the most effective ways to increase your online poker profits is to use and understand poker tracking software.
In addition to keeping accurate details about your wins and losses, programs like Poker Tracker and Hold’em Manager will track every move your opponents make.
using the heads-up display (HUD) you can convert that information into easy-to-understand stats and display them beside your opponents' names in real time, right on the table.
The information on the HUD tells you precise details about your opponents' playing tendencies, and understanding these stats can make a huge difference in your win rate.
Stats are something that all winning players use to a degree, but very few use to their full potential. Learn to master this powerful tool and you'll reap big benefits.
A quick run down of the most popular stats:
This is the average total % of times your opponent puts money into the pot voluntarily. That could mean raising preflop, cold calling, completing the big blind, etc.
The higher a player’s VPIP, the looser the player. The lower the VPIP, the tighter the player.
For six-max no-limit hold’em most regulars fall between 19-25% VPIP. Any tighter or looser, though possibly profitable, is by no means optimal.
See the side picture for a PokerStove of 19% VPIP to get an idea of what hands that player would play.
If you're not familiar with PokerStove get the details here.
This is the Pre-Flop Raise stat and it’s pretty self explanatory. It’s how often your opponent raises before the flop.
Most players' PFR fall within 4-6% of their VPIP. I.E if they play 20 VPIP their PFR is usually between 14%-19%.
The bigger the gap between VPIP and PFR the more often a player cold calls.
For example a player with a 35% VPIP and a 10% PFR has a 25% cold-calling range and is most likely a fish.
This is how often your opponent re-raises before the flop.
As an example a 3% three-bettor would be AA-TT, AKs-AQS, and AQo and would have no light three-bets in its range. You can adjust from there.
This is how often your opponent folds to three-bets. This stat is extremely helpful when deciding which hands to three-bet and which to call with before the flop.
Obviously someone with a high fold-to-three-bet stat is a player you can three-bet light relentlessly. Someone with a low fold-to-three-bet stat you can three-bet wider for value.
These are the most popular pre-flop stats. While most players understand what each stat means, few take the time to think how they are all related.
For example a player with a very close VPIP and PFR is also normally going to have a higher three-bet% because he is cold-calling less often.
Conversely a player with a wide gap between his VPIP and PFR is going to have a very wide cold-calling range and thus will have many weak hands in that range.
It’s not just about knowing what the stats mean. You must understand how to use them to draw real and useful conclusions about your opponents' games.
This is your opponent’s aggression factor. It tells you how aggressive he plays. Most players fall between 1-3. Anything less is very passive and anything more is very aggressive.
If a player with a 0.5 AG is playing back at you, he's probably not bluffing and you would need a very good hand to continue.
On the other hand if someone with a 6 AG is playing back at you, your top pair is starting to look pretty good.
This is how often your opponent goes to showdown after seeing the flop. Most players fall between 20 and 32%.
Having a low WTSD can mean two things: He either folds very often before showdown or he makes his opponents fold very often before showdown.
A good way to tell is use WTSD in conjunction with AG. If your opponent is passive and doesn’t go to showdown often, then he's weak tight.
If your opponent is aggressive and has a low WTSD, he’s making people fold before showdown very often. If your opponent shows down 35% or more, he's showdown happy.
Again, you have to examine WTSD and his aggression stat to get an idea of how he plays.
If his aggression is low he may not be betting with the lead often enough and intuitively lets his opponents showdown much more than they should.
If, however, he is aggressive yet still has a high WTSD, he probably also calls way too often with weak hands on the river.
Seeing a number and knowing how often a player goes to showdown is helpful but seeing a number and figuring out why he goes to showdown as often as he does is invaluable.
How often your opponent continuation bets on the flop as the pre-flop raiser.
Most players continuation-bet on the flop between 55% - 88% of the time.
CB% should be looked at in conjunction with the PFR stat. The lower the player’s PFR%, the higher the player’s CB%. That’s because the fewer hands the player is raising pre-flop the stronger the hands. The stronger the hand pre-flop the more often he’ll make strong hands worth betting on the flop.
As a player’s PFR gets higher, he is going to miss the flop more often because he’s raising so many more marginal hands before the flop. If his CB stat remains high then he is going to be c-betting air very often and therefore is exploitable.
This is how often your opponent second barrels as the pre-flop raiser when his flop c-bet is called.
Obviously it should be used in conjunction with the CB stat. If your opponent has both high flop c-bet and turn c-bet stats then he is just going to be barreling his air very often and you should, in turn, call him down lighter.
If your opponent has a high flop c-bet and a low turn c-bet then you’ve identified your opponent as a one-and-done player. These guys fire one barrel at the flop and give up when called.
If your opponent is a one-and-done player then floating becomes your best friend.
How often your opponent folds to flop continuation bets.
The higher a player’s FC, the more “fit or fold” he plays. The lower the number, the more often he calls the flop with marginal hands.
Used in conjunction with the VPIP stat you can really get a feel for a player’s overall game.
A player that has a large VPIP and a small FC is going to be seeing a lot of flops and a lot of turns. And, chances are, he's a fish you can play as such.
Or, if he's a regular and has a low FC, you can use the pop-up stat and look at his bet-when-checked-to stat. If that is high, then you’ve found an opponent who loves to float.
How often your opponent folds to a second barrel.
Some fish love to call pre-flop and love to call the flop but won’t continue past the turn without a decent hand. You can instantly tell these types of players if they have a low FC stat and a high F2 stat.
Obviously you should punish these types of players by firing second barrels more often.
The thing about stats is that they can be extremely misleading without an accurate sample size. Hold’em is a variance packed game and in the short term stats can vary considerably.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is treating a player’s stats as gospel when you have a small sample size - only to find in real life they play in a completely different manner.
Hold off from drawing advanced conclusions about how someone plays until you have logged enough hands.
What “enough hands” means varies from stat to stat. While 100 hands might be more than enough to draw conclusions from the VPIP and PFR stats, it’s not nearly enough to understand WTSD, barreling frequencies, or three-bet stats.
As with everything in poker, the bigger the sample size the better.
A Tool Not a Crutch
Stats are a tool, not a crutch. Too many players rely only on stats in a game. They’ll paint everyone with similar stats with a broad, sweeping brush when in actuality everyone plays differently.
You can have three different players all with stats that are very similar. However one player might crush the game for 4BB/100, one might break even and one might beat it for 1BB/100.
If you treat all of those players the exact same, you're making a big mistake. Relying too heavily on stats leaves you playing an ABC, robotic game and will stunt your growth as a poker player.
Stats are just one tool in a successful player’s box. They need to be used in conjunction with observation and non stats-based reads.
Stats only give you an average of how your opponent plays against all different types of opponents. It’s up to you to figure out how he plays against you and you can only do that by paying attention and taking notes.
When you're able to look past the basic information contained in a stat and start to draw real conclusions about your opponent’s play, looking at his stats as a whole and how each relates to the others, you'll start to get past your inner ABC poker robot and you will start to play better poker.
If you can do that - while observing and taking non-stat notes on your opponents - you're going to be a force to be reckoned with.
More Articles from Daniel Skolovy:
- When to Call the Flop with Less Than Top Pair
- Firing the second barrel
- The C-bet for Beginners
- When not to continuation bet
- Fixing your redline: Making better c-bets
Danial: You didn't explain the "FST" stat I can see in all your pics.
HI, are these stats based on FR or 6 max????
It obviously depends on which games and which stakes you are playing.
At MSNL and above players definitely are on the more aggressive side and obviously at Heads up they're VPIP will be much higher.
But in all of my experiences at $1/$2nl and $2/$4 most winners fall in the 19%-$27% any more aggressive and they just end up being spazzy.
So which game are you playing? It might be much different then the games I play?
And I made a mistake about the three bet range. In my pokerstove I forgot to tick off AKo and AQo.
But someone with a 3% threebet probably wouldnt three-bet TT or AQo and probably only AQs half the time.
When I have time I'll update the article. Thanks for pointing it out.
from my experience today regulars are much more agressive than VPIP 19-25%. The VPIP of those winning players is very often over 30% ....????????
In 3bet paragraph is written that 3% range means re-raising with AA-TT, AKs-AQS, Ako and AQo - this range is 4.7% of all starting hands...?????
Thank you for your explanation.
why do I run so bad?
Thanks Dan for your explanations. It helped me to understand your point of view.
For example I personally beat the 9-max game for at least 20 big blinds / 100 hands. That's why it was surprising for me. But I do play only one table.
While in 6-max I'm a losing player, that's the funny part :) Of course the hands sample in 9-max is much larger for me, but still everyone has to have a favorite game :)
BB/100 is method of measuring winrate.
bb with no capitals is big blind per 100 and BB with capitals equals BIG Bet which comes from limit poker and is 2x the bb.
So lets say you're beating the game for 4BB/100. That would be $16/100 hands per table.
Obviously you're playing more than one table so that can really add up.
Yes, it doesn't seem like that much, and if you were playing live $1/$2 you could beat the game for much much more.
But with online poker there are very, very few players beating 6max or full ring for more than 4BB/100.
Hope that helps.
Huds are completely legal because they use only information gained while you were at the table. Meaning, they don't use data mined hand histories or any thing like that.
Don't sweat it, it definitely isn't cheating. I wouldn't write an article on how to cheat :)
Daniel, please tell me what did you mean by ' a player crushing the game for 4BB/100' cause it's not very clear for me. Are those big blinds / 100 hands or big bets / 100 hands. It seems a very small amount for me. In limit poker for example 4 big bets mean 8 big blinds. And in 100 hands it's still a very marginal win. Please explain me that concept. Thanks.
Great article. And very timely as I just download Poker Tracker to log and review my hand histories/sessions. I am new to these programs and plan on testing Hold'em Manager as well.
I've found this program to be EXTREMELY helpful when reviewing my hands. Far better than reviewing the text version of my hand histories.
Do these programs fall under that category?