What Does WSD Mean? An Extremely Simple Explanation

What Does WSD Mean?
People often ask me what WSD means in poker. Well, here is a simple explanation:

WSD or W$SD or W$SD% are technical terms that we use in modern poker tracking programs like PokerTracker to indicate the percentage of the time that someone wins money when they reach showdown (when all the cards are shown).

This is why WSD is a fairly useful HUD stat to have on your screen especially if you are multi-tabling low stakes poker.

In this article I am going to briefly discuss how I use WSD or W$SD at the online poker tables to get better reads on my opponents, and ultimately make better decisions.

What is WSD? How Can You Use It at the Poker Table to Your Advantage?

So as mentioned, WSD or W$SD just refers to the amount of the time that somebody wins money when they show their hand down on the river.

This gives you a good idea of what player type you are up against because really splashy recreational players will typically have a very low WSD.

And that is because they love to play all sorts of ridiculous hands, call you down with a wide range of nonsense including every draw, bottom pair and sometimes even ace high.

I am sure you know the type!

While on the other hand, tight fearful regular opponents will often have a very high number for WSD, 60+.

And that is because they are the exact opposite. They are extremely risk averse and won't play a big pot without a big hand.

The best players, as usual, are somewhere in the middle, right around 50.

So when people ask me what is a good WSD these days, I usually say to aim somewhere around 50 over the long term, because that's what most of the biggest winners have.

But this is why this is such a useful HUD statistic to use, especially when multi-tabling small stakes online poker. Because it gives you key range information on everybody at your poker table.

The poker HUD that I use and have relied on as a pro for 10+ years is PokerTracker.

And it is very easy to add the WSD stat to your PokerTracker HUD so that it always shows up for everybody at your poker tables.

In fact, in my hugely popular how to setup your poker HUD article, I actually show you step by step how to add WSD to your PokerTracker HUD (among many other stats).

Average WSD Statistics at the Micro Stakes

Here are some rough rules of thumb to go by for WSD:
  • Tight fearful player: WSD = 60 or more
  • Good aggressive regular player: WSD = 50
  • Fishy recreational player: WSD = 40 or less
These are some very rough rules of thumb that you can go by when you are using the WSD stat on your poker HUD.

This will also help you determine a player's range when they are calling you down.

If they have a very low WSD, then it is probably a fish and they can have almost anything. If they have a high WSD though, then it is probably a nit who has the nuts, or close to it.

If their WSD is somewhere in the middle around 50, then you are up against a good poker player, and it is going to be more difficult to determine their range, because they are well balanced.

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What Does W$SD Mean?
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How Variance Can Affect Your W$SD

Now I do need to add a couple of quick caveats with these stats for WSD though.

I have noticed many times over the years that my WSD% can fluctuate quite a bit depending on how I am running at the poker tables (also known as your variance).

And what I mean by that is, am I on a heater hitting every card in the deck?

Or am I on a big downswing where I can't win a hand to save my life?

Both will happen regularly to you as a serious poker player.

When I am on big heater, then my W$SD will often be considerably higher than normal, as much as 5 or 10 points higher.

And this is simply because I am nailing every flush draw, coolering people nonstop, getting AA when they have KK and so on.

On the flip side though, when I am on a big downswing my W$SD might be 5 or 10 points below what it is normally.

And this is because I am missing every flush draw, they are coolering me nonstop and I am running my KK into their AA and so on.

So please keep this in mind.

If you are new to poker, a "cooler" by the way is just a situation where one person has a really good hand, but another person happens to have a really, really good hand.

For example:

You have AK and your opponent has AQ and the board on the river is:


They are going to lose quite a bit of money to you in this hand no matter what because you have coolered them pretty badly with top pair and a better kicker.

This is something you can easily check in PokerTracker by the way.

You can just filter for all your most recent big hands within the program and find out if you are coolering them or they are coolering you.

Please also note that the W$SD stat will level out and converge to its true value over the long run though. But over small sample sizes, it can fluctuate pretty wildly.

How I Change My Poker Strategy Depending on WSD

So, how can you actually use WSD against your opponents at the poker table?

Well, I already use a proven winning poker strategy to beat all player types at the lower stakes. That's something that you need to know before anything.

But W$SD helps me make small changes to my overall strategy especially in river situations when I am considering making a big bluff or not.

Usually when I see that I am up against a big fish with a WSD of 40 or less, I am going to be less likely to bluff, because I expect to get called too often.

On the flip side though, when I see somebody with a really high WSD of 60 or more, this tells me that I am up against a fearful risk averse player.

And this is definitely the type of player that I want to be running big bluffs against. Because I expect them to fold to me too often.

Sample Size is Very Important When Determining WSD

The last thing I want to mention is that, like always, your sample size will play a critical role when you are using the WSD poker HUD stat.

As a rough rule of thumb to go by, I would not pay any attention to this stat unless you have at least 100 hands on your opponents.

And quite honestly, I prefer hundreds of hands.

The reason why is because over a small sample size of say 50 hands, you might only even go to showdown a couple times.

This means that your WSD can be extremely swayed in one direction or the other because of the small sample size.

That's why it is extremely important that you don't make quick judgements on what type of player somebody is until you have a good sample size on your HUD.

Final Thoughts

So I hope this article gave you a brief introduction to the WSD stat in your PokerTracker HUD.

To be honest, I don't use this HUD stat every single time I am involved in a hand with someone at the poker tables.

But I do find it to be fairly useful in key situations especially on the river when I am deciding whether to bluff or not.

The other thing to note is that you don't always even need to include WSD on your PokerTracker HUD. In fact, sometimes I decide not include it.

And that is because you can easily find this HUD stat by simply using the PokerTracker popup display which I discussed in massive detail in Modern Small Stakes.

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What Does WSD Mean?