Maximizing Your HUD Part 1: HUD Essentials | Podcast #54

This is the first episode in my Maximizing Your HUD series: HUD Essentials. In this one, you will learn best practices in how to gradually adopt a HUD (heads-up display) into your game and the 7 essential elements you must learn first.

Listen to episode #54: HUD Essentials

Gradual Implementation (3:00)

Step One: Learn what the stats tell you.

Answer this one simple question for every stat on your HUD and popups: How does this stat help me exploit my opponent?

Step Two: Learn the layout

Write the layout of each HUD and popup on separate pieces of paper.  Make additional notes regarding the stats there and how you can use them to exploit your opponents.

Step Three: Play with intent

Each session you play, choose two specific stats to focus on as you play.  Try to find spots where you can use these stats to exploit your opponents.

The 7 HUD Essentials (7:30)

1. Note Editor

While not a stat, it’s still super useful.  Take notes on opponent reads, tendencies, what they’ve shown down, plays they’ve made and your general thoughts on the player in question.  Don’t use the notes feature within the poker site’s software.  This will be very useful during HH reviews as well.

2. # of Hands Abbreviated

Helps to determine how reliable your other stats are on the player in question.  100 hands is ok, 250 hands is good, 500 hands is very nice, and 1,000+ hands is great.

3. VPIP (Voluntarily Put Money in the Pot)

How often the opponent chooses to play hands.  The higher it is, the weaker their range of hands.  For example, a VPIP of 10% means they play all pp’s, AJ+ and KQ.  At 30% it’s all pp’s, almost all Aces, all broadways and connectors and suited connectors down to 64s, and some weak suited and off-suit K’s and Q’s as well.  The stronger the range, the less likely a bluff 3bet will get them off, and the wider the range the more likely I can get them to fold post-flop.

4. PFR (Pre-flop Raise)

How often the player gets aggressive with raises pre-flop.  High PFR means they raise with lots of junk, so 3bet resteals could be in order.  A very low PFR like 4% means they only raise w/TT+ and AK, so it’s pretty easy to play post flop with these guys.

Together, VPIP and PFR can tell us what player type we’re up against.

The gap between VPIP and PFR is crucial to understand as well.  A gap of 30% means they call 30% of the time, which is most pp’s, most Aces, lots of suited and connected cards and every broadway.  A smaller gap of 4% means they call with small-med pp’s to set mine and some suited broadways like KJ, QJ and KT maybe, and maybe some suited Aces as well.

5. 3bet pre-flop

How often they come over the top of another raise pre-flop.  The higher this is, the more likely they do it as a steal, and lower is more likely just for value.  A 3bet of 2% is only JJ+ and AK, whereas a higher 3bet of 7% is 99+, AJ and KQs.   Beyond this, and over a large sample, you’ve found a restealer, so a 4bet resteal might be in order, or possibly calling with intent to extract value post-flop from his cbets and barrels.

6. Fold to Steal

Knowing how often opponents fold to a steal is key in MTT’s and SNG’s, but also helps improve win rates in cash games.  Players with Fold to Steal greater than 80% must be stolen from 100% of the time.  If they don’t give up vs steals, you can size your bets bigger with your value range to make money from their unwillingness to fold.

7. LIVE Amount BB’s (for MTT/SNG players)

This is only for MTT/SNG players.  Having this stat saves you the time from calculating it for every player in every hand.  This saves your brain space for more difficult decisions and helps you to notice when it’s push/fold time for yourself or other players at the table.

HUD Essentials
A basic HUD with all the essentials

Podcast Challenge (13:10)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Get your HUD on.  Choose two stats to focus on during each session you play.  Write out the 2-3 ways you can use each to exploit your opponents, and make sure you look at these stats as you play each hand to get comfortable using them.

Other Episodes in the Maximizing Your HUD Series

2nd Part: Exploiting Opponents

3rd Part: Using Popups

4th Part: Percentage Form and Color Coding for the Win

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Sky Matsuhashi