Using a Heads Up Display (HUD) has become the norm in modern online poker. You’ll struggle to find a serious player who plays without a HUD as the advantages of using HUD are just too big to pass on. But just having a bunch of stats on your screen won’t really make you a better player.
Understanding what all these different numbers stand for and how you can utilize them to make proper adjustments is vital to your success. HUD will tell you all you need to know if you have enough hands on a particular player but it won’t tell you how to act. That part you have to figure out on your own.
This article brings a quick overview of the most important HUD stats and some quick adjustments you can make based on these numbers. These are simple but very effective strategies that can help you improve your win rate and stay out of trouble for the most part.
Key Preflop Stats to Look At
Every hand of Hold’em begins with preflop. Tendencies players have before the flop should dictate how you build your strategy against them. While you can stick to GTO and play the same style against almost everyone, you’ll usually be better off resorting to a more exploitative approach based on the information you have.
Preflop Raise (PFR)
Some players are more aggressive than others when entering hands. A high PFR percentage (over 25 in 6-max and over 20 in 9-max) usually indicates an aggressive player who likes to enter pots with a raise. Once these numbers start to get into a crazy territory (30%+), you’re probably dealing with an overly-aggressive player.
There are different ways you can counter someone who opens too many hands. One approach is to try and 3-bet them frequently but make sure they are actually someone who folds to 3-bets (check their fold to 3-bet stat). If they’ll call or 4-bet often, there is very little point in doing it with weak hands.
Instead, you can try and call more often with solid hands in position and 3-bet your strong holdings. As they hate folding to 3-bets, you’ll be able to build big pots with hands that are likely to be favorites to win. Of course, you should combine this knowledge with the information on their important postflop stats, which we’ll discuss in a moment.
Dealing with frequent 3-bettors is rarely fun. Even if they’re bad, they’ll put you in tough spots every time you have a solid but non-premium hand. It’s not that you can’t find a profitable strategy against these players but having to deal with them will likely increase your short-term variance.
There are different adjustments you can make to counter their aggression but the most important thing is to be aware of it. If you’re about to open a hand and you know there is a trigger-happy player behind you, take that into account. You should know ahead of time what you’re going to do when you get 3-bet as it will happen often.
Sometimes, 4-betting will work wonders. They’ll have to give up way too often and eventually they might give up 3-betting you light altogether. Against some of these players, though, you’ll simply have to shrink your preflop range and only open with hands that you feel confident playing a big pot with.
Crucial Postflop HUD Stats
The information you have about someone’s preflop tendencies should always be combined with the knowledge of their postflop play. When you put these two together, you’ll be able to come up with a very solid plan for every hand.
Continuation Bet %
If you’re dealing with someone who opens a lot of hands but only fires a c-bet when they actually connect with the flop, you’ll have a lot of incentive to play many hands against them, especially when in position. If they check and give up every time they don’t like the flop, you’ll be making a lot of money off of them.
On the other hand, someone who has a too high c-bet percentage can be exploited in a different way. If someone fires out on 75% or more boards, they’re doing it too much and you can afford to call them wider and take the pot on the turn when they check to you. You can also raise with solid draws and force them to give up on any equity they might have in a hand.
Went to Showdown
Went to Showdown (WTSD) is one of those stats that’s often overlooked but it tells you a lot about the player. This number basically tells you how likely someone is to get to the river and showdown their hand and it is very indicative of what kind of a player they are.
If someone’s WTSD is very low (under 20%), you should be looking for bluffing opportunities wherever they might present themselves. These players simply like folding too much and will look for excuses to give up. You can and should provide them with a good excuse.
On the other side of the spectrum, someone with WTSD of over 40% is someone you shouldn’t be bluffing too much. These players like to stick to their guns and will often get to a showdown with all sorts of weak holdings. When you have the goods, though, keep on betting and raising and make them pay for their stubbornness.
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