Are you thinking about rising up the ranks in poker finally? If getting better at poker is one of your New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to make that happen. You have to understand poker statistics if you’re going to play your best poker game. We hate to break it to the math challenged, but poker is also about math. If you want to go beyond the run of the mill poker player or even understand what’s being discussed in chat rooms around the globe, you need to get your head around a few statistics. Thankfully, learning “poker math” really isn’t that difficult at all. It’s all about looking at what’s truly being measured.
There’s plenty of statistics out there, but this guide will cover only what’s really going to be important.
If you learn no other cluster of statistics, you have to learn this one. It’s absolutely a must in order to stay ahead of the competition. When you’re reviewing your own hands, you will see this number pop up. If you’re going to look at the playing style of another person, you will still need to understand these numbers.
Let’s go into each one.
VPIP refers back to the percentage of hands voluntarily played. It’s where you track what the player does in an unraised pot. The big blind has to play whether they like it or not, so those hands are stripped away from the statistic.
VPIP also covers where a player will stand on the loose-tight scale. The higher the VPIP, the looser the player. Some players with high VPIP are just complete calling stations, which means that you make quite a bit of money off of them if you play them correctly. In a full ring NLHE game, you want to hunt for VPIP around 13-20. Outside of these ranges you’re getting into excessive play, which can be gamed by the observant.
PFR stands for preflop raise, which indicates the percentage of hands a player raises before the flop comes down. It represents how aggressive they really are. Timid players are really only going to raise when you have something good. They fear being knocked down. However, you need to watch out for maniacs that will just raise merely because they have a poker hand to begin with. These people are really chaotic, and they’re never playing the way you expect. Tread lightly.
AF is the aggression factor — the ratio of a combined number of bets and raises against calls. The more you take the initiative by betting or raising instead of just calling, the higher the AF is going to be. AF is more postflop, while PFR is preflop. Take them together in order to see where someone stands.
You will also want to look at c-bets and donk bets. Cbet stands for continuation bet, and it’s made by the playing who had the initiative at the previous street. For example, if you raise preflop on one hand and get called, the continuation bet is when you bet at the flop again.
Raising preflop is ballsy; because you don’t know what the flop is going to be. It’s a sign of strength, and the person who raised has to keep betting to show that they are still leading. Otherwise it’s going to be a weak sign that you don’t have anything to show for yourself.
Now then, the donk bet is where the preflop raiser is not the first on the scene because someone else raises before them. It’s called the donk bet because nobody should raise in place of the preflop raiser. It’s a sign of being a novice player, so make sure that you study the way you are betting to keep on track.
Pot equity is discussed quite a bit, but in case you didn’t know:
Pot equity is the chance of winning the pot at a given point during a hand. If you watch a lot of poker TV, it’s the percentage that pops up on the screen next to the players’ hole cards. You will either get the entire pot, or you will get nothing at all. If you were to repeat this specific hand for a great number of times, you would win a certain percentage of the time. That’s pot equity in a nutshell.
What about win ratio?
Win ratio tells you whether you’re moving along nicely in the world of poker or if you’re having problems that need to get corrected before actually raising your stakes. Moving up in limits isn’t for the faint at heart. Aside from the obviously negative connotations, you need to realize that the possibility of losing money is quite high. There are serious pros that will eat you for breakfast and pocket your money with a smile. How you play at higher stakes will change based on what strategies are being played out at the table. It’s not for the faint of heart, so don’t make this decision lightly.
The measure is big blind per 100 hands.
We hope that this information helps you tighten your game up in a big way. Just playing based on gut feelings isn’t going to get any extra money in your pocket. Be wary and play smart!