Misinterpreting HUD Statistics

Misinterpreting HUD Statistics

VPIP and PFR are pre-flop statistic which are commonly found on heads up display (HUDs) when using poker tracking software like Poker Tracker and Holdem Manager. One of the common mistakes made by new players who are familiarizing themselves with HUDs is that they label their opponents as being tight or loose based on VPIP/PFR and then proceed to assume that tight players are good and never get out of line post flop, and that loose players are bad and always looking for bluffing opportunities. This can be a huge mistake because pre-flop statistics don’t always translate to how a player will proceed to play on the flop and later streets.

For example, it would be wrong to assume a loose player can never have a hand when they are showing aggression with their betting on the flop and turn, just because they have loose pre-flop stats and play a lot of hands. Thinking players realize that players who are inexperienced with interpreting HUD statistics will not use their statistics correctly, and will purposely manipulate their stats to try and be deceptive.

If you really think about it this can be easily achieved. Competent players know that position is crucial in poker and will raise when they are on the button a lot, especially if they know the players in the blinds are tight and will only play back if they have a monster. By always raising on the button with the majority of their range, this is artificially inflating their VPIP/PFR making them appear more loose pre-flop then what they really are.

You need to understand that some players can be loose pre-flop and play many hands, but will play more passively post flop. Even if a player is very loose pre-flop and showing aggression before seeing the flop, they can play very straight forward on the flop and will tend only to be aggressive if they have a made hand.

Players will often misinterpret statistics from HUDs in another way. It’s important to realize that VPIP/PFR takes into account the percentage of hands you have raised or voluntary put into the pot from all positions. Looking at the big picture and failing to understand that poker is situational can be a costly mistake, and I don’t just refer to pre-flop statistics, the same thing will apply when interpreting all HUD statistics such as 3bet %.

For example, let’s say you were playing in no-limit hold’em 6-max game and you are dealt JJ in the big blind. UTG who is a tight player raises to 3bb, MP calls, and the player in the small blind who has shown to be an aggressive player pre-flop with 10% 3bet decides to re-raise. You could be quick to assume that they don’t have a hand in this spot due to their high 3bet frequency, but considering a tight player has raised in early position its unlikely they are not 3betting for value in this spot and their value range has us crushed, so it’s best just folding a hand like JJ in this situation instead of misinterpreting their aggression and playing back.

By analyzing statistics such as VPIP, PFR, 3bet % according to position, we see that these stats can differ greatly. If you were to assume that players will play the same way regardless of position at the table, you’d be making a big mistake because positionally aware players will 3bet you a lot more when they have position and will raise from the CO and BTN with a higher frequency.

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