Using the assistance of a Heads Up Display, or simply HUD, has almost become the norm in today’s online poker environment. Once you move up the stakes and especially if you’re playing cash games, you’ll be at a serious disadvantage if you aren’t using a HUD of some sort.
A HUD basically provides you with the breakdown of the statistical information you have on a particular player. Knowing what their playstyle is over a decent sample of hands can give you a big advantage and there are almost no serious players who don’t use these tools when playing online.
For a less experienced player, though, numbers shown by a HUD can look confusing and even intimidating. If you don’t know what you’re looking at and how those numbers translate into an actual poker strategy, the whole thing may seem like a huge waste of space.
Today, we’re going to look into two of the most important and fundamental stats you’ll find on every single HUD, namely VPIP and PFR. These two numbers will tell you a lot about the kind of opponent you’re up against and once you learn how to interpret them correctly, you’ll be able to adjust your strategy against them in a very efficient way.
VPIP: How In Love With the Flop Are They?
The abbreviation VPIP stands for Voluntarily Put Chips/Money In Pot and is a great indicator of someone’s general tendencies and the way they approach poker. Every time you’re in a hand and you aren’t sitting in the blinds, you have full freedom to play the hand or fold your cards. Whenever you decide to play the hand, you’re voluntarily putting chips in the pot.
So, even if you don’t know much about poker stats, VPIP is pretty self-explanatory. Players showing a high VPIP number are the ones who get involved with more hands and don’t like folding. Those with a low VPIP percentage are likely to be more selective and on the tighter side overall.
But, how should you know what is actually a high VPIP number?
While it is hard to give a definitive answer to this question, you can use certain simple guidelines to quickly place players in one of three large groups:
- VPIP under 10% for full ring or under 15% for 6-max: tight & nitty
- VPIP of around 15% for the full ring and around 20% for 6-max: decent TAGs
- 30% or more is usually a sign of a loose player who plays way too many hands
If you’re looking to adjust your strategy according to this number, there are some simple ways to improve and start noticing results almost immediately:
- Attack blinds of players with low VPIP
- 3-bet more against loose players when you have a big hand
- Be careful about playing big pots against nitty players if you don’t have the goods
While VPIP alone may not tell you all you need to know about a player, it is an excellent starting point and a great way to start learning how to take advantage of stats in your game.
PFR: How Aggressive Are They Before the Flop?
Just like VPIP, PFR is also an abbreviation and it stands for Pre-Flop Raise. So, this number tells you how often a player raises when they have the opportunity. It takes into consideration all raises before the flop and can tell you a lot about how aggressive someone is before the first three community cards are dealt.
The best way to use this information is by looking at VPIP and PFR together. The PFR number will always be lower of course (as everyone just calls sometimes) but if there is a big gap between someone’s PFR and VPIP, it’s usually a sign they’re a passive player who lets other drive the action.
If you want to know what a PFR number looks like for a good player, it will usually be around 70% of their overall VPIP. So, for a solid TAG, it will be anywhere from 14% to 18%. Of course, there are some good players out there who play a more aggressive style and who will have PFR in the 20s, but this is a good baseline to use.
Even if you don’t figure out everything at once, trying to incorporate these two important HUD stats into your decision-making process will be a great exercise. You should also take these into consideration every time you are analyzing your hands and aren’t under pressure as you’ll have much more time to actually think things through and see just how important these numbers can be.
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