Friday, July 29, 2011

How to Setup Your Hud - Part 2

[2015 Note: I now have a much more comprehensive and up to date blog post on how to set up your HUD which you can find here.]

Assigning colors to your HUD stats can help you quickly sort through information. As mentioned in the comments in Part 1 of this post, it is probably best to use the familiar green (go), yellow (yield) and red (stop) that we are all familiar with. And I would use something totally different like blue for number of hands.

So it might look something like this in Holdem Manager:
Hud Setup BlackRain79Hud Setup BlackRain79
A couple of quick points before you start playing poker with your new HUD layout:


  • Open up a HEM replayer window and see what it looks like first. Keep tinkering with the options until you are satisfied with it.
  • Start playing poker on a single table and import the hands. Right click and drag each block of stats to the corresponding player.
  • Go to Hud Options > Table Preferences and make sure that "lock the layout" is checked. This will prevent you from accidentally moving the display around while playing.

Interpreting the stats

Now to the important part. There is no point in having all these pretty numbers on your screen if you don't know how to apply them correctly during actual poker hands. I have probably blown through hundreds thousands of dollars in the misapplication of these stats over the years.

But I am not alone. You can see unfortunate conclusions being drawn all the time when hands get discussed in poker forums. And of course, people make bad judgements at the tables all the time.

Sample Size, Sample Size, Sample Size

The most important stat on your HUD is the number of hands. It is the first thing that you should look at before anything else. In fact, it might be a good idea to create a minimum sample before a stat even shows up on your display:

Hud Setup BlackRain79We want to make poker decisions based on statistically significant information. That is, information which is very unlikely to have occurred by chance. In fact, if we draw incorrect conclusions about an opponent, it could be downright dangerous and worse than having no information at all!

With regards to the stats on my HUD display, I have some rough sample size guidelines that I use before applying them to a poker hand. I should note however that I am by no means a statistician. Or even very good at math in general! These are only approximations from my experience.

Hud Setup BlackRain79
VPIP and PFR converge towards their true value faster than any other stats. After just a few orbits or 15-20 hands you can be pretty sure what type of player you are up against.

For instance, somebody showing up as a 15/10 on your HUD after 20 hands is almost certainly going to be a TAG or a nit. They might actually be a 12/8 or even a 18/15 but there is very little chance that they are semi loose or a LAG. And there is almost zero chance that they are a fish.

With other stats such as steal, aggression factor, fold to cbet and cbet you need a bigger sample size. I prefer to have around 100 hands.

The reason for this is pretty simple. You have a chance to VPIP or PFR pretty much every single hand. Except for the rare walk or all in in front of you. You DO NOT have an opportunity to steal the blinds or make a cbet every hand. It might be every 6th or 7th hand. So you should adjust your minimum sample size accordingly.

And even rarer are your opportunities to do things like fold to a turn cbet, make a turn cbet or fold to a 3bet. I prefer several hundred hands before coming to any conclusions in these sorts of categories.

Lastly, stuff like river and 4bet stats require such a large sample size that they are almost not even worth looking at. A thousand hands or more on someone is probably a good rule of thumb.

One of the easiest ways to make sure that you are drawing good conclusions on your data is to see if there is a bracketed number to the right of it in the full HEM popup display.

Hud Setup BlackRain79The number in brackets is the amount of opportunities that that person has had to perform the action. If it is a small number then you probably don't want to put too much stock into those stats. If it is a big number or there is no number at all (I believe HEM stops displaying the number of opportunities at 99), then you can draw a lot more meaningful information.

In the above popup for instance, we probably don't want to rely much at all on this person's fold to cbet, raise cbet or donk bet stats. With his steal stats, we can be pretty sure that he doesn't do it very often. And we can be very sure that he doesn't 3bet light.

I hope this series of posts was helpful to those who aren't very familiar with using a HUD. I highly recommend using these tools if you take poker at all serious. And this doesn't just apply to cash games. SnG and MTT players should make full use them as well.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments.


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blackrain79 - micro stakes strategy

10 comments:

  1. Good post Nathan thanks for the free advice, also i liked your Youtube video .

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  2. Thanks Chris. That youtube video was pretty ridiculous haha. Gonna make some more but not while mass tabling.

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  3. Hey Nathan, I'm unsure what the numbers indicate, for example 15/10 or whatever they are.

    What they mean?

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  4. 15 refers to VPIP (voluntarily put money in pot). 10 refers to PFR (preflop raise)

    So a 15/10 is playing 15% of all hands dealt to him and raising 10% of all hands dealt to him.

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  5. Cheers man. Much appreciated. I'm thinking about getting a HUD, Something like Holdem Manager, are they really worth it? I'm unsure how to use them, is it really about trial and error?

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  6. I would recommend getting a HUD to anyone who takes poker at all seriously and even if u play the lowest limits. I used to scoff at them myself for the longest time. They pay for themselves very fast and countless times over. Having detailed information on yourself and others is invaluable.

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  8. Thanks for the post. It also made me think about getting an HUD. May I ask if there are any bugs or quirks I need to know of? I just want to know as much as I can before I get the HUD.

    poker tips

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  9. John Lazarus said...
    " It also made me think about getting an HUD. May I ask if there are any bugs or quirks I need to know of? I just want to know as much as I can before I get the HUD. "

    I bought Holdem Manager 2 in December, I find it extremely useful. People who have been using HEM 1 say HEM2 is a poor product with bugs but having never used HEM1 I can't compare and I am happy with my purchase. The amount of info it provides can be a bit overwhelming at first but by watching youtube videos and buying Nathan's book, it becomes very clear quickly.

    It definately makes you think about your plays and trying to improve, it points out your errors in many ways straight away. I would recommend it if you're thinking about trying to improve as a player.

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  10. Hey John,

    Like miked said there aren't really any known issues at least with HEM 1 or 2 that I know of. They fix them quick and do a lot of beta testing first.

    That isn't to say that PT sucks. In fact I was very impressed with their latest release when trying it and use to use PT2.

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