If you like to play online poker, you’ve probably heard of or tried out different tracking tools. Many players struggle with learning how to get the most out of their tracking software. This is true for both winning and recreational players.
There are endless tools to aid a modern poker player in making decisions at the tables. Yet, even the best tools are not of much value if you don’t know how to use them effectively. According to the Pro Team of Beasts Of Poker, configuring your poker HUD is the single most important aspect you should learn when starting out with tracker software.
In this article, we’ve laid out three steps on how to use a poker HUD and improve your win rate. Let’s start with the basics:
Build your poker HUD with the essential stats
There are two ways to view stats with a tracking software: Including them in your HUD or placing them inside pop-up HUDs. The right way to build your HUD is to include only the essential stats. You can add many useful positional stats later by modifying your pop-up HUDs.
The important stats to include in your HUD are the following:
VPIP: Voluntarily Put Money in the Pot tells you how many hands your villain plays before the flop.
PFR: Preflop Raise means how often someone raises before the flop, including open raises and isolation raises.
AF: Aggression Factor tells you how often a player takes an aggressive action (bet or raise) compared to a passive action (check or call) postflop. It’s a great indicator to show how aggressive someone is postflop.
3BET: Three-Bet is simply how often your villain 3-bets preflop.
F3B: Fold to Three-Bet is how often your villain folds their hand when facing a 3-bet.
4B: Four-Bet tells you how often someone 4-bets preflop.
CBET%: Flop Continuation Bet Percentage tells you how often someone c-bets. Most tracking software has a separate stat for this of both single-raised and 3-bet pots.
WTSD: Went to Showdown tells how often someone ends up at the Showdown after they’ve seen the flop.
WWSF: Won When Saw Flop is how often your villain wins the pot after they’ve seen the flop.
If you find any of these stats a bit confusing, just google them and you can find plenty of articles that explain them in great detail. You can color code the stats in your HUD to make the most important stats like VPIP & PFR stand out more.
Make your exploitative plays based on the most glaring leaks of your opponents
Using a HUD is great for improving your win rate as long as you don’t overuse the information available on it. You can figure out the general style of a certain player after just a few rounds, for example, how tight or loose they are. Sophisticated stats though need hundreds or even thousands of hands to be relied upon.
Situations like check-raises on the river or folding to turn c-bets in 3-bet pots occur so infrequently that variance is going to affect stats a lot in those areas. For example, a player might have gotten a good streak of cards and appear overly aggressive in those spots. In reality, they might not be generally aggressive at all.
You can easily trust stats like PFR and VPIP after a few hundred hands. Those are also the stats that you’ll need in almost every hand when making your play preflop. Glaring leaks in preflop stats can be exploited much easier than leaks in river betting strategy in 3-bet pots. Smart players rely mostly on tendencies that they recognize with the help of their HUD. Figuring out the exact strategy your villain has is not only impractical but also a process that might take forever!
Conduct a regular database audit to plug leaks
Hand history reviews should be a daily exercise to give you immediate feedback from your play. Even more important for good long-term results is conducting a database audit. This helps you identify and plug leaks you were not aware of before. There’s no better way to recognize spots where you consistently make mistakes than a database audit!
How should you go about it? Use customized and positional filters to analyze your win rate in different situations is a good starting point. If available, use a tutorial from your tracking software to set up correct filters. The more familiar you’re with the tracking software, the easier it is to dive deep into the nuances of different spots and where you might leak chips.
Keep in mind that you should not make adjustments to your game based on a small sample size. The database audit is most useful after you’ve played a decent amount of hands: 25k hands is a good sample, 50k hands is an even better one.
Beasts of Poker is a poker community focusing on bringing entertaining Twitch content and top-notch poker articles to all players. The Beasts have an impressive roster of high-stakes poker pros in their team with over $25M in combined online & live winnings.
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