Simplifying the Top 10 Poker HUD Stats | Podcast #204

I simplify the Top 10 poker HUD stats by telling you the 3 things you MUST know about each.

In episode 203, I discussed how recording and reviewing poker play sessions is the #1 strategy that you MUST employ.

If you can’t explain it simply… (2:50)

This episode is inspired by a quote from Albert Einstein:

My goal today is to simplify the Top 10 HUD Stats so you can get more out of your HUD starting with your next session tonight.  But we must begin with the type of number HUD stats present to you… percentages.

Percentage

Most of the HUD stats you’re presented with are in terms of a percentage. A percentage is simply a part of a whole.  Once you understand the whole, you understand that smaller part.  $1 is 100 cents, so, 50% of $1 is 50 cents.  1 hour is 60 minutes, so, 25% of one hour is 15 minutes.

HUD Stat percentages are parts of 2 different wholes:

  1. This first whole is the number of starting hand combinations you can be dealt in NLHE
  2. The second whole is the number of opportunities presented to the player

1. Total Starting Hand Combos = 1,326

You can be dealt 1,326 starting hand combos in NLHE.  The stats that relate to this whole number are VPIP, PFR, Raise First In, 3bet and Fold to Steal.

  • 10% of hands = 133 combos (rounded down to 130 for simplicity)
  • 20% of hands = 260 combos
  • 30% of hands = 390 combos (rounded up to 400 for simplicity)

Let’s look at the 10% range in relation to the Raise First In statistic:

  • A 10% RFI might be somebody’s UTG range of hands.
  • 10% might be 55+, AT+, KQs and KJs for exactly 132 combos.

Now, let’s look at a 10% Call 2bet statistic:

  • This is still 130 combos, but it’s not going to contain AA, KK, QQ or AK.
  • This 10% calling range might be 22-JJ, AT-AQ, QTs+ and T9s+

Both ranges above were 10% and 132 combos, but the cards within each vary based on the preflop action taken.

2. The Number of Total Opportunities Presented

The other “whole” used for HUD stat percentages are the total opportunities present. These are stats like Fold to 3bet, Cbet and Fold to Cbet.

Let’s look at the Cbet stat.  A Cbet of 70% means they cbet 70 times out of every 100 opportunities.  It’s important to note that most ranges hit the flop with a TP+ and a good draw about 35% of the time.  So, if somebody is cbetting at 70%, half of the time they are cbetting with worse than TP, weak draws and complete bluffs.

Before you draw this conclusion with everyone who cbets at 70%, it’s important to consider how frequently they have the opportunity to cbet.

Somebody raising only 10% of hands preflop gets to the flop less often but with a stronger range of hands.  The 10% range flops TP+ and good draws about 40% of the time.  If they cbet at 70%, more than half of their cbetting hands are TP+ and good draws.

Conversely, somebody who plays 50% of hands flops TP+ and good draws only 29% of the time.  If they cbet at 70%, more than half of the time they’re doing it with weaker hands and draws.

Here’s a rule of thumb for HUD stats: the higher the percentage, the weaker their range.

Somebody playing 50% of hands and cbetting at 70% is much weaker on the flop than another who is playing 10% of hands and cbetting at 70% as well.

Another way to look at this is you should be more inclined to believe the person with the smaller range.

Trusting the Stat Percentages

Here’s a question for you: How do you know a stat percentage is reliable?

As you gain experience using stats to exploit your opponents, you’ll begin to gain a sense of when to rely on a stat and when to ignore it.

Stats aren’t so reliable at 10 opportunities.  They begin to become reliable at 20 opportunities.  At 50 they’re very reliable and at 100+ they’re extremely reliable.

So, a 10% 3bet seems high, but 10% is only once out of 10 opportunities.  That’s not enough to say that this player is a 3bet bluffer.  If it’s still 10% after 50 opportunities, it’s likely they like to 3bet bluff.  And at 10% over 100+ opportunities, you’ve found a 3bet bluffer.

The Get More From PokerTracker 4 Program will teach you how to study HUD stats:

The Top 10 Poker HUD Stats (8:50)

Here are a few guidelines I gave myself for simplifying the stats:

  • I’m only allowed to give you 3 sentences per statistic
  • I’m going to assume that you know some common poker terms (ex. “positional awareness”)
  • I’m also assuming you know the definition of these stats and how they’re calculated (ex. I won’t define nor give you the formula for “3bet”)

So, this is geared towards people familiar with HUD Stats, but they might not know HOW to use all the stats HUD.

The 10 stats are broken up between 6 preflop and 4 post-flop.

I’m giving you all these stats in order of importance.  So, if you can only use one stat in your HUD, #1 is it.  If you can only use two, use #’s 1 and 2… and so on

Preflop Stats (9:50)

#1: VPIP or Voluntarily Put Money in the Pot
  • The key word here is “voluntarily” and this stat refers to an exact range of hands they choose to play.
  • A VPIP > 40% indicates a very loose player that you should try to play hands against.
  • Make sure to also keep this stat as a pop-up displayed by position because positional awareness is an important indicator of your opponent’s skill level.
#2: PFR or Preflop Raise
  • This is a sign of overall preflop aggression and includes 2bets, 3bets and beyond.
  • Anything over 25% is too aggressive and must be fought back against with value 3bets and bluff 3bets if they’re capable of folding.
  • Also keep this as a positional pop-up because again, it’s an indicator of their positional awareness and how strong they are as a player.
#3: RFI or Raise First In
  • This correlates exactly to the range of hands that they choose to open the pot with when they’re first to act or it’s folded around to them.
  • Keep it as a positional popup because this will tell you exactly which positions they choose to steal pots from.
  • Positionally aware players have an increasing RFI as position gets later, with the CO, BTN and SB numbers being the biggest.
Start your audiobook learning by picking up ‘Preflop Online Poker’ through Audible.com. Click the pic above to begin your free 30-day trial or to purchase the audiobook version if you’re already a member.
#4: Preflop 3bet
  • As a total %, it’s useful in your HUD but takes on greater significance when it’s broken down by position in a popup.
  • Percentages by position less than 3% is a strictly value-oriented range and you should only 4bet or call with your strongest starting hands.
  • Anything greater than 6% by position tells you where they like to 3bet bluff from, so plan for it and respond accordingly.
#5: 2bet/Fold to 3bet
  • Make sure to use the “2bet/Fold to 3bet” instead of the regular “Fold to 3bet” stat because this gives you more relevant information that you can use to exploit the preflop raiser.
  • If it’s over 70% by position, then you can make very profitable 3bet bluffs with good bluffing hands like suited blockers, suited-connectors and pocket pairs.
  • If the stat is below 50%, you only want to value 3bet against them or bluff when you’re in position with a good blocking hands like suited Aces and KQs.
#6: Fold to Steal
  • Great stealing targets have a Fold to Steal above 70% and the higher it is, the better.
  • At less than 70% look at their 3bet and their 2bet Call stats before stealing from them.
  • You can multiply the Fold to Steal stat of the SB times the BB to see how often they fold together to steals.

Where’s the Attempt to Steal Stat?

Observant listeners might have noticed that I left out the Attempt to Steal stat.  It’s not a necessary stat because this is the same as RFI from the CO, BTN and SB.  You should have these in a popup, so there’s no need for ATS.

Post-flop Stats (17:00)

#7: Flop Cbet
  • This is the part of their preflop raising range that fires a bet on the flop, so the smaller their preflop range, the more likely a cbet is for value.
  • 70% is a “standard percentage” for most solid players, and because ranges only hit the flop at 35% on average, a 70% range contain at least 50% marginal pairs, bluffs and semi-bluffing draws.
  • Keep this stat in a popup as well so you can exploit any difference in Cbet % when IP vs OOP.
#8: Turn Cbet
  • This is the famed “double-barrel stat” that tells you whether or not a player is one-and-done on the flop or if they fire the turn as well.
  • Compare the Flop with the Turn stat to see which street they get honest on as the honesty street has the lower percentage.
  • Again, relative position is useful so have this in a popup for in position or out of position honesty: most players cbet more frequently when in position than out of position.
#9: Fold to Flop Cbet
  • The higher and closer to 70% this number is, the more honest they are versus cbets, which makes these players good bluffing targets.
  • You want to view this by relative position and actual position in a pop-up because seeing these will tell you when the opponent is most honest so you can make profitable bluffs.
  • The wider their calling range is preflop, the more marginal pairs and draws they’ll have in their flop calling range.
#10: Fold to Turn Cbet
  • Compare this with the Flop % to see which street they’re honest on versus cbets and make sure you have the chips and stack sizes big enough to bluff on this street.
  • Fold to Turn Cbet at around 60% or greater must be bluffed frequently.
  • If below 40%, you can semi-bluff with your drawing hands and when in position, but keep your cbets mainly for value when they hate folding.

Challenge (19:35)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Pick one stat that you’re not at all comfortable with and practice using it to exploit your opponents in your next session.  Keep in mind the 3 pieces of info I gave you on each stat, and do some research on your own to learn more about it.  The research and learning are easy.  The tough part will come from putting your knowledge into action and using the stat to exploit opponents.  But, the only way you’ll learn how is by doing it.  So, do it!

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.

Support the Show

Jeremy Thiam purchased the PokerTracker 4 Smart HUD and I’m sure today’s episode will help him out in his pursuit of player exploitation. Along with the HUD, I sent him some bonus videos to help him get more from it and PT4.  Click here to get the Smart HUD.

Guy Brooks purchased a webinar I did with Mark Warner of ExceptionalPoker.com called “Poker Mathematics Webinar”.  We got tons of great feedback from this one, and if you’re looking to bone-up on your poker math, click here to get $5 off the webinar.

Sky Matsuhashi