Seven Key Poker Stats Explained
Best believe online pros like UlitmateBet Star Adam "Roothlus" Levy know every stat on their opponents.
If you've begun reading forums or started to discuss hands with poker-playing friends, you've probably seen or heard the terms "VP$IP" or "PFR" or "AF" thrown around.
These acronyms can seem confusing at first, but with a little background you'll see they're actually quite simple and very accurate.
Poker tracking software is an essential tool for an online poker player. It keeps track of every single hand you play, and displays all the relevant information on your playing style in an easily understood manner.
The software tracks everything from your total number of hands played, to your win rate, to how often you win with a given hand. Every stat you can imagine is nicely displayed and available right at your fingertips.
The two best poker trackers are Tom Dwan's 3bet range: Loose.
3bet is a percentage of how often you reraise before the flop.
Your 3bet percentage, depending on the game and the style of play, should be pretty low. Obviously six-max players will be three-betting more than full-ring players but regardless, a good 3bet percentage is between 3-8%.
If your three-betting range is too tight, your opponents will know your exact holdings. If you three-bet too wide, then you're going to find yourself in tough spots in big pots with weaker-than-normal hands.
BB/100: Big Bets per 100 Hands
BB/100 is the most popular way to measure win rate. It is an average of how many big bets you win for every 100 hands you play.
Obviously anything above zero is a good number; however, a good but not great player will usually win 1-3BB/100, whereas an expert player will win 3-6BB/100.
Anything outside that range past microstakes is almost always the result of a too-small sample size and someone running hot.
A Note on Sample Size
Poker is a game dominated by variance. These stats can fluctuate from session to session. One session you may get dealt aces 10 times and in that case your aggression will be through the roof.
But that isn't really how you play; you were just on a heater. Thus, you need to log a decent sample size before the stats will hold any real value. These stats don't approach an accurate representation of your play until at least 10,000 hands.
Wielding Stats Against Your Opponents
When you start to understand these stats and how they relate to you, you can start applying them to your opponents. You can compare how they play with how you play, and adjust your tactics accordingly.
Use stats to your advantage, but don't forget about variance.
If you raise 13% of your hands and your opponent raises 10%, then you can take out the bottom 3% of your range to get an accurate idea of his raising range.
These stats are designed to give you a better sense of your own play as well as of your opponent's. When you see an opponent's stats, you will often be able to tell how he plays without any actual history with him.
If you know how he plays, you have the advantage. (Keeping in mind, of course, the earlier caution about stats sometimes being misleading.)
So take a moment and familiarize yourself with these stats and with what the numbers mean. It may help you with a big decision down the road.
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