Poker analysis software – how to get an edge in online poker

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Jeffrey | Poker Articles, Poker Tools

Submitted by Steve, this article belongs to the Poker Tools series.

Many online poker players use specially designed software to analyze their opponents’ and their own game. This makes perfect sense. Software like PokerTracker, Holdem Manager or SNGWiz will help you gain an insight into what goes on at your table, as well as into exactly how you’re coping with the challenge. Rest assured, using PokerTracker or SNGWiz does not make you guilty of data mining. You’ll only make use of data which is available to everyone anyway. What the software does is that it keeps track of things and compiles statistics the average human brain would be incapable to do.

As I said, many people use such software aid while playing, but few people use these programs to their full potential.
Here’s a rundown of the various statistics such programs generate, together with an explanation and pointers towards interpreting the data.

There are two basic types of statistics poker tracking programs such as PokerTracker, Holdem Manager or SNGWiz generate, namely preflop statistics and post-flop ones.

Let’s start with the preflop stats.

The VPIP% (Voluntarily Put Into Pot) expresses the number of times your opponent put money into the pot of his own will (blinds do not count here) in a percentage-based manner. The higher this stat is, the looser your opponent is. The lower the stat, the tighter the opponent. In a 6-max NL Holdem game, a VPIP% should normally be around 19-24%.

The PFR% (Preflop Raise percentage) is an expression of how often your opponent raises preflop. This one will help you asses your opponent’s preflop aggression level. When compared to the VPIP, the PFR can tell you how often an opponent cold-calls, which is an extremely efficient indication of his fish status. You can use all these stats on yourself too, in order to determine how optimal your play is.

3b% (three-bet percentage) is a measure of how often someone re-raises preflop. The lower this stat is, the tighter your opponent is on his three bets. If his 3b% is around 3%, he doesn’t really light three bet, and you can feel safe putting him on AA-10,10, AQs, AKs, whenever he does.

The F3 (fold to 3-bet) is an extremely useful stat. This will tell you how often you can light three bet against an opponent to force him to give up the pot.

Moving on to the post flop stats

The post flop stats are equally interesting, and potentially useful. The AG (a measure of the aggression factor of your opponent) will let you know when you can run roughshod over someone. For the AG, a value of 1-3 is normal. If your guy has an AG of 0.5, put pressure on him and get out of his way when he strikes back. An aggression factor of about 4 means you should take it easy with this guy, pick up a monster and let him tie the noose around his own neck.

WTSD% tells you how often your guy goes all the way after he takes a look at the flop. The normal values are between 20-30% here. Use this stat together with the AG one and find out whether your opponent is weak-tight or tight aggressive.

The CB is the continuation betting %. This stat is only useful when used in conjunction with the PFR%. The lower the PFR% is, the higher the CB should be.

The 2B is a stat describing how often your opponent fires the second barrel on a post-flop bet.

The FC is an extremely valuable stat: it tells you how often your opponent folds his continuation bets. The F2 is how often the guy folds to a second barrel bet.

When you use these stats, please take the sample size into account. The larger the sample size (the more hands you track your target-opponent through) the more relevant these stats will be. Small sample sizes have a tendency to mislead.

These stats can even be used to approximate the rakeback amount that you’ll generate through your real money play. If you’re signed up to a poker prop deal or to a rake rebate deal, you’ll be able to estimate your rake contribution and thus your due rakeback as well.

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