Knowledge is power in poker. A Poker HUD can offer plenty. How about having information for each opponent at your table displayed directly onto the poker table for your benefit? Information that includes how often they call or raise and how aggressive they are. Ever wondered how to identify the pro player and the fish in a matter of seconds by looking at a couple of numbers? Fortunately there are a few HUD (heads-up display) programs available for your convenience but the issue isn’t which one to choose. Most of the players have trouble selecting the appropriate stats and HUD layout.
What stats do you display on your PokerAce HUD, and how do you arrange them? Here is my answer…
The HUD trinity (Voluntarily Put Money Into the Pot (VPIP), Preflop Raise (PFR), Total Aggression (TA)) tell us much about a player. Loose players play loose; tight players play tight. Aggressive players play aggressively and passive players play passively. These 3 stats are the most important and should be displayed clearly. That’s also the reason to use a larger font size, so that they distinguish from other stats.
(From 2+2 forum) Voluntarily Put Money Into the Pot: the fundamental indicator of a player’s preflop looseness, and one of the best gauges of a player’s hand range. You want your opponents’ VPIPs to be as large as possible. The more hands they play, the worse they are, and the more money you’ll make against them.
Preflop Raise: the fraction of the time that the opponent raises preflop. This number indicates how you will have to adjust to this opponent preflop. First off, if it is incredibly small you need not worry about this opponent raising you off a speculative hand. If the players left to act all have miniscule PFRs, you can limp with extremely speculative hands and expect to see very cheap flops, giving you marvelous implied odds. Take advantage of it. However, if an opponent with a PFR of 2% makes a raise preflop, you can fold most of your speculative hands without worrying. (NOTE: if you’re going to be heads-up against a full-stacked opponent with a PFR of under 4% who raises to 4 or 5 BBs, you can very safely call with ANY pocket pair on implied odds alone, because if you hit your set, you’ll stack your opponent VERY frequently. The tiny PFR tells you much about their holdings, and most of these opponents will commit a full stack to the pot with a hand that is powerful enough to convince them to raise preflop.)
Total Aggression: the best overall indicator of how aggressive this opponent will be postflop. Preflop play and postflop play are two different channels, and you should not expect a player to be either passive in both or aggressive in both. There are players who are highly aggressive preflop but turn into calling stations postflop, and there are sluggish limpers preflop who go hyper-psycho postflop when they hit a hand. If you see an opponent with an incredibly large total aggression rating, you will probably have to play passively against this opponent if you hit a solid hand, letting them do the betting for you. NOTE WELL: players with a very large total aggression come in two fundamentally different flavors — the ultra-weaktighties and the maniacs. An ultra-weaktighty is someone whose aggression is high because he folds whenever anybody else bets and he doesn’t have the nuts. A maniac is someone whose aggression is high because he bets and raises with any random crap. If you can tell these two apart, you will make MUCH more money. (Hint: look at the kinds of hands that they show down. If they’re reaching showdown infrequently and always with a monster, they’re probably ultra-weaktight. If they’re losing most of their hands at showdown, they’re probably maniacal.)
However, there are 3 more stats to make good use of. Those include the Went to Showdown Percentage (WtSD%), the Won Money at Showdown (W$SD) and number of Hands (H). I suggest larger font sizes for them as well.
(From 2+2 forum) Went to Showdown Percentage: the larger this number, the more of a calling station the opponent is. There is no “magic number” here that tells me an opponent will be profitable or unprofitable; rather, this number tells me how I should start to adjust to this villain. Against an opponent with a big WSD%, I value bet lighter and bluff much less often. Against an opponent with a very low WSD%, I value bet much less often and bluff much more frequently.
Won Money At Showdown: another very useful statistic, this is a rough measure of an opponent’s postflop skill. The larger this number is, the more likely a villain is to have the goods when we reach a showdown. It helps me decide how lightly I can value-bet an opponent, and it helps me decide how lightly I can call an opponent down. It helps me sort good LAGs from bad LAGs, nits from TAGs, and maniacs from smart but aggressive opponents. If an opponent’s W$SD is extremely high, I consider them weak tight and bluff frequently. I also shrink the size of my bets, knowing that it won’t take much to push villain off his hand. If an opponent’s W$SD is extremely low, I value bet with all sorts of crap, expecting my opponent to call me down. I also raise the size of my value bets, fully expecting to get paid off even if I push hard.
Total Hands: an incredibly important number, this tells you how much trust you can put in all the other numbers in your HUD. At about 50, numbers like VPIP and PFR start to be meaningful. At about 10,000/VPIP you can start to rely on total aggression (e.g., 200 hands for a player with a VPIP of 50, but 500 hands for a player with a VPIP of 20). W$SD doesn’t really lock up for several thousand hands, so treat it with a grain of salt, but WtSD becomes meaningful noticeably faster.
Moving on, it’s a good idea to know how positional aware is your opponent. You can find that out by looking at his/her stealing frequency. HUD offers you 3 stats regarding stealing, Attempted to Steal Blinds, Folded Small Blind to steal, Folded Big Blind to Steal.
(From 2+2 forum) Attempted to Steal the Blinds: From CO and Button, I treat this number as the person’s PFR%, and I adjust my behavior accordingly. Also, if the person’s steal percentage is markedly larger than their PFR, I assume the person has more of a clue about how to play the game, and I give them a bit more respect when they go to war. I also figure that I’ve got much more folding equity against them in general, since savvy players are less likely to be calling stations and more likely to be capable of folding a decent hand.
Folded Big/Small Blind to a Steal: Another basic indicator of hand strength. If the person folds to steals all the time, then I know that when they call a raise from the blinds they’ve actually got a hand. If the person is a habitual blind defender, I can assume they have crap even if they call a sizeable preflop raise. Combined with the Fold to C-Bet percentage, these numbers tell me whether stealing against an opponent will likely be profitable or not.
Finally I also keep 4 more stats shown on my display, just under the player’s name. Those include the Cold Call Preflop, the Continuation Bet %, the Folded to Continuation-bet % and the Check-Raise %.
So, altogether I’ve got around 13 stats shown at the same time around a player’s name. Soon we’ll discuss how to categorize each player according to those stats and how to exploit their weaknesses.