Using a Poker HUD
When you play poker at live brick and mortar casinos there are many clues and give aways for making better reads on players at the table. You can study facial expressions and nervous twitches, or you might simply know how a regular at the cash tables plays.
However in online poker the number of clues and reads are limited since you cannot see physical reads on that player or process his actions. Some high stakes online pros might suggest you can deduce an opponent’s holdings by his betting patters. An instant call to a large raise means that he is drawing or a delayed raise means that he has a very strong hand. These are all creditable arguments but the end of the day one of the most effective poker tools for analysing players online is a poker hud.
What is a Poker HUD?
A Poker HUD is a heads up display used in concatenation with live tracking software that provides statistics next to your opponents icons at the table which help you to analyse their hand strength. Using a range of top level and bottom level HUD stats you can make effective reads on players for each street and also categorise the regs from the fish. For example, the VPIP% represents the number of hands players call to see the flop with from different table positions. You can easily target the fish from the pro’s using this figure and identify who playing TAG and who is limping more with non-premium hands. As a starting point, a VPIP of 10% or less is indicative of a very tight player. He will normally only play his top 10% of hands such as JJ+,AK+, broadway cards and some high suited connectors. A VPIP% of 30% however means the player is LAG, and will probably be open-raising and limping into pots from the CO with marginal hands like 67s or 10Jo.
In terms of how much a Poker HUD can help you, it will not only help you make a higher bb/`100 win-rate but is also something that you’ll probably need to start using at the low and mid-stakes games. Above NL50 for example, I would strongly recommend the usage of a poker HUD since without one you’ll be left with a massive disadvantage to fill. Every profitable player with a 5+bb/100 win-rate will highly likely be using a HUD.
A Poker HUD is especially useful for multi-tabling. The figures and stats that you can us helps to fill the gaps left from a lack of concentration and focus at each table. If a player 3bets at you from LP and you don’t have any quality reads then you can view their positional 3bet% or Attempts to Steal to look at the merit of their bet. A 3bet% of more than 10% or a large Attempt to Steal% will indicate that his is trying to steal the blinds with air. Personally, I would be much more willing to 4bet for value with hands like AJo. At the higher stakes you might even be able to 4bet bluff him if you both have enough chips and you are confident that he is capable of folding. A lot of it is really based on multi-level thinking and out-levelling your opponent so that you can make him fold and re-steal from him when he is bluffing.
For more information on Poker HUDs and how to incorporate them into your strategy I recommend visiting PokerHUD.org for user guides, stats explanations and reviews.