Besides accurately tracking your wins/losses, live poker tracking software like Poker Tracker and Hold’em Manager track every move your opponents make. Using the heads-up display (HUD) you can convert that information into easy-to-understand, good poker stats and display them beside your opponents’ names in real time, right on the table.
You can find information and precise details about your opponents' playing tendencies on the poker HUD explained. 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. Here's a quick run down of the most popular poker hud stats explained.
HUD Poker Meaning: A “head-up display” (HUD) is an app that you use together with your poker site in real-time to collect and display stats about your opponents. You can have the info appear in floating panels next to each player on the table itself. This is arguably the main component of poker hand tracking software.
Poker stats software may be the biggest difference between online and live poker play. These programs help track and analyze your own leaks and other players' behavior through the poker site’s hand histories. Then using a variety of hud stats, turn it into useful info to access and update in real-time as you play more poker hands and gain more info. Because quickly discerning what kind of player you’re up against is vital to making good decisions. If you want to improve or play for a living, then these programs are almost essential. Because they record and crunch data in ways that would be impossible otherwise.
Hold’em Manager and Pokertracker are the OG of the online poker tracking software world (trial versions available for both). Beginners may be reluctant to invest $60-$100, which equates several buy-ins. And the pace of playing poker online is faster than live play, so new online players may find the extra poker analysis software distracting. In fact, we don’t recommend using tracking software until you’ve played at least 1,000 hands of your poker game type. But even if you’re just getting started, it’s worth getting familiar with HUD poker. HEM and PT are some of the best poker tracking software around.
HUDs and poker hand tracker software are even more useful when multi-tabling, and perhaps this is why we still see waves of disapproval for these tools. As multi-tablers may drive the fish away from the game, which is bad for poker. Yet without any tools, fewer players would be able to compete successfully in today’s field. So many real poker sites, like PokerStars and 888poker, allow poker tracking software so players can analyze and adjust their games as they go. Other operators like GGPoker have a no-HUDs policy and offer their own in-house Smart HUD and PokerCraft tools.
The most useful aspect of tracking software for beginner poker players is that you can use recorded hands to see if your stats look “normal.” By comparing my poker stats with those of other winning players, I can get a general idea of where my leaks might be. Note that because of different player styles, not every respect in which you differ statistically from winning players will necessarily be a leak. Also note that you can’t really analyze huge data sets before you’ve played 10,000 hands.
But luckily, tracking software has more useful features too. For example, recording isolated hands to ask others about later. Or just to revisit your own play. Especially because time banks are unforgiving, and you may have made another play without the time pressure.
Online poker tracking software lets you get a better sense of how your opponents play, so you can exploit them. You can look over hands they played, examine their poker statistics and see if any leaks stick out. If you use a heads-up display (HUD), you can see all these stats while playing, and use previously-developed reads to exploit. This is no excuse for not taking notes, as your most useful info will be more specific than raw statistics. HUDs are extremely useful tools for beating online games today, and a large number of players are using them.
These are the most popular pre-flop stats. But it’s not just about knowing what the stats mean - you must also understand how to use them to draw useful conclusions from your opponents' games.
This is the average total % of times your opponent puts money into the pot. That could mean raising preflop, cold calling and completing big blinds. The higher a VPIP, the looser the player is - and vice versa. For 6-max no-limit hold’em most regulars fall between 19-25% VPIP. See a PokerStove of 19% VPIP to get an idea of what hands that player would play.
How often your opponent raises preflop. Most players' PFR is 4-6% of their VPIP. Hence, if they play 20 VPIP, the PFR is usually 14%-19%. The bigger the gap between VPIP and PFR, the more often a player cold calls and so has a wider cold-calling range with many weak possible hands. For example, a player with a 35% VPIP and a 10% PFR has a 25% cold-calling range and is most likely a poker fish. A player with a close VPIP and PFR is also going to have a higher three-bet%, because they're cold-calling less often.
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 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 is someone you can three-bet wider for value.
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, they’re 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.
Most players fall between 20 and 32%. Having a low WTSD can either mean they fold often pre-showdown or they make opponents fold often before showdown. A good way to tell the difference is using WTSD % in conjunction with AG. Seeing a WTSD poker stat is helpful, but seeing a number and figuring out why they go to showdown as often as they do is invaluable.
If your opponent is passive and doesn’t go to showdown often, then they’re weak-tight. If they're aggressive with a low WTSD, they make people fold often pre-showdown. If your opponent shows down 35% or more, they're showdown happy. If their aggression is low, they may not be betting with the lead often enough. If, however, they're aggressive yet still have a high WTSD, they probably call way too often with weak hands on the river.
Most players have 55% - 88% so look at the PFR stat too. The lower the PFR%, the higher the player’s CB%. That’s because the fewer hands the player is raising preflop, the stronger the hands they’ll have. Making them more worth betting on the flop. As a player’s PFR gets higher, they’ll miss the flop more often because they’re raising more marginal hands preflop. If the CB stat remains high, then they’re likely c-betting air often and are therefore exploitable.
Obviously you should use this with the CB stat. If your opponent has both high flop c-bet and turn c-bet pokerstats then they're barreling air often. And you should, in turn, call down lighter. If your opponent has a high flop c-bet and low turn c-bet then you’ve identified your opponent as a one-and-done. 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.
The higher a player’s FCB poker stat, the more “fit or fold” he plays. The lower the number, the more often he calls the flop with marginal hands. Used 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 lots of flops and turns. This could indicate the player is a fish, but if it’s a regular, look at their bet-when-checked-to stat. If that’s high, then you’ve found an opponent who loves to float.
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 best poker hud stats are VPIP (voluntarily put in pot), PFR (preflop raise) and AF (aggression factor). Because they tell you what type of player you’re playing against over even a small sample size, like 10 hands. Also make sure to include your opponent’s fold to cbet stat, fold to turn cbet, their cbet and turn cbet, their 3bet, fold to 3bet and steal percentage.
If somebody has a 90% VPIP (playing 90% of their hands) in an orbit or two, you can feel confident they’re a bad player. On the flip side, if their VPIP is only 10% you can be pretty confident this is a tight regular. PFR also tells you how aggressive a player is. So if the 90% VPIP player has a 10% PFR, you can discern this is a passive fish. If their PFR is 80%, then this player is a maniac fish.
A good rule to remember is that preflop aggression usually translates to postflop aggression and the reverse is also true. Preflop passiveness usually indicates postflop passiveness. But the player’s AF will also help you determine this. You’ll need a bigger sample with this stat than VPIP /PFR. However, 3 or less is a fairly passive player and 4 or more is aggressive.
An overlooked key to success in online poker is table selection. A lot of your profit comes from bad players, especially at the micros. One of the easiest ways to spot them is going through your poker tracker online database and looking at the big hands you recently won. You’ll find most of them involve bad players. However, using notes or color tags, which all sites provide, also goes a long way. When you tag a weak player, you can exploit them more easily.
Online players who use poker stat tracking tools like Hold'em Manager or online Poker Tracker software know all about the "redline." For live players, or players just starting out, "redline" winnings are your non-showdown winnings. That is, the hands you win without having to flip over any cards. You can see non-showdown winnings in HEM or PT by going to your graph page and hitting "display showdown winnings."
If you have an upward-sloping redline - that means you win more money than you lose in non-showdown pots. Losing more than you win in non-showdown hands is a common leak that many players have. However, you can be a successful poker player even with a negative redline, since different playing styles do different things to your graphs. Where you run into problems is if your redline looks like a sharp, downward slope.
It’s putting money in the pot and then folding hurts your redline. So your overall win rate is going to suffer if you’re guilty of the following:
One of the best things about playing online vs live poker is that you can play many tables at a time. Hundreds of hands per hour instead of a gruelling 20 hands. But almost everybody that has a sharp, downward-sloping redline plays too many tables.
Now “too many” differs from person to person. Some can play 12 tables simultaneously without rushing decisions or going on autopilot. Others may struggle with two. So notice how you feel when multi-tabling, because if you're playing your session on auto-pilot you're playing too many tables.
The more tables you play, the less attention / focus you can dedicate to each. Meaning you make more mistakes. No longer are you thinking, "My opponent is tight-aggressive and will probably peel with 9-9 on T♣ 3♠ 4♦." You're just thinking, " I raised pre-flop I c-bet, hurrrr." So when they call, you shut down on the turn or river - and bam, money wasted.
C-Bet Less and C-Bet in Better Spots. If your opponent is a calling station, you should be c-betting a lot less. C-bet when the board seems to help your range, or if you plan on firing multiple barrels. If you're going to "one-and-done" the board, don't c-bet at all. Double barrel cards that strengthen your perceived range and hurt your opponent's range.
The following are some bad c-bets spots you should learn:
When you play out-of-position, you have to act with no information and your opponent gets the huge bonus of getting to see what you do first. What that means for your redline is that you're going to be left guessing a ton. You're going to peel with your second pairs and your weak top pairs, and then you're going to fold to further action.
You may think every play you make is plus-EV, when in reality it may be a losing proposition. So even though you’re making money, you could still have leaks that cost you. Tools like Holdem Manager are great for analyzing your game, looking for leaks that cost money and hurt your winrate. Using filters, you can find non-profitable spots and why they're non-profitable. From there it's just plugging that leak and your win rate will see a boost in the long run. Filter to your main game and remember to use a bigger sample size (+300k hands) for more accurate findings.
Preflop mistakes are the smallest you can make because the betting is small so you're only risking a small portion of your stack. However, in the long run, small leaks added up lead to big losses. Meanwhile, the flop, turn and river is where the real money is made and lost because each street has bigger bets and by the river your decisions may affect your entire stack. So using filters in your tracking software, you can look at every preflop action for non-profitable situations and leaks to plug.
Here are the postflop leaks common to many low-stakes players.
There are a lot of three-bet pots in aggressive games so you should improve your three-betting. You can filter by hands that you 3-bet to see how profitably you’re three-betting from the blinds vs a steal. To look at your play in three-bet pots, set preflop action facing player to one raiser and one raiser plus callers. Then switch to the filter by actions tab and filter by preflop actions, and select raise. From there you can look at hands where you're three-betting light or for value by using the hole cards tab.
You can filter further for how you play three-bet pots from the blinds, on the turn when you're called, etc. Next, look at your play in three-bet pots as the caller via the filter by actions tab and select raise call and call call. That will bring up all three-bet pots where you don't have the lead.
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 online poker stats as gospel. Especially 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. A hundred hands might be more than enough to draw conclusions from the VPIP and PFR stats. But, it’s not enough to understand WTSD, barreling frequencies, or three-bet stats. As with everything in poker, the bigger the sample size the better.
You build your poker game on information. Every hand you play with someone contains valuable insights into their playing style and betting patterns. But when playing hundreds of opponents, trying to keep mental notes is futile. So take advantage of the in-built poker note-taking software. When you add a note to a player, it sticks to them, so if you run into them on the same site later, you can still see it.
Keep your notes short and informative. So not "IDIOT HITS GUTSHOT WTF", instead write your opponents' tendencies for your future self. Use abbreviations and acronyms to keep your notes clean:
You open 4BB on the button with A A and BB calls. Flop comes A 4 5 and BB checks. You bet over ⅔ pot and BB calls. Turn comes 4 , BB checks, you bet half pot and your opponent calls. River comes 8 , BB checks, you bet almost full pot and your opponent check-raises all-in. You call and they show 6 9 for the flush. Your aces-full scoops the pot.
What note would you add for the BB? You can say "Calls OOB with weak holdings vs button PFR, C/C turn with weak FD on paired board, C/R river with weak flush on paired board." Now you know this particular player overvalues flushes and defends blinds with weaker holdings against late-position raises.
The true value of hand-tracking software is underrated while poker heads-up displays (HUDs) are overvalued. It's obvious that using a poker heads-up display backed up by a database of hands will give you more information. But having a HUD won't instantly transform you into a winning player. Also, relying too heavily on stats leaves you playing a robotic game that will stunt your growth as a player. Or even lead to mistakes.
For example, it’s not a HUD that puts your opponent on a range. Say you pull up the Hold'em hand range visualizer and filter to just 3-bet pots and see the percentage was 9.6%. We know the opponent is 3-betting 9.6% of the time - but what’s their range? Most players will take 9.6% but that’s a self-weighted range. In reality, over 43% of all hands were possible in the range.
To help deal with problems like this, tools like PokerTracker may allow you to custom-tweak opponents' ranges based on what you know about their play. However, players may also deviate from their standard style for a variety of reasons. The poker player stats don’t tell the whole story. And too many players rely only on stats in a game, painting everyone with a broad, sweeping brush. When in reality, you can have three very different players with similar stats
The real power of tracking software comes from running reports and filtering to review your game. Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and combining that knowledge with what your HUD tells you about your opponents. You should use stats together with observation and non stats-based reads - take notes and figure out your opponents yourself by paying attention. It’s homework, and it takes time and effort.