Utilizing Poker Software Effectively, Part 1: Your HUD
If you have experience playing live poker, you know it's hard to keep track of the specific styles of one person playing, much less a whole table, even just playing one table. It's especially difficult when you haven't played most of the players before. Fortunately for online play, a few years ago Poker Tracker was created, and a little while after Poker Ace HUD. Suddenly playing more than 4 tables became a viable option because software was able to keep track of the minute details that poker players didn't have energy to. We all know that the more hands of poker we play, the more money we will make up to a certain extent. Crucial to playing more tables effectively is having the right information in your HUD.
Ideally in your HUD you want to have the pieces of information that you have to reference the most frequently while playing a certain player. For example, having the RFI, raise first in, for each position of a player is extremely useful because it helps you determine preflop how you should play your hand. Having VPIP/PFR is useful because it lets you know if someone is a weak player or not as quickly as possible. Having stats like W$WSF and 4-bet % in your HUD is less useful because they are more subject to variance and difficult to interpret.
I would recommend starting off with a basic HUD, and building on it gradually as you get more comfortable with it. Having a ton of numbers isn't going to be useful if you don't have the skill to reference them efficiently yet. Start with the basics, like VPIP, PFR, 3-bet, Fold to 3-bet, fold to steal, C-bet, Fold to c-bet, and the RFI for each position. As you get more hands on your opponents and get more comfortable with your HUD, add stats like turn c-bet, fold to turn c-bet, aggression frequency, etc. If you are playing on a site that allows street-by-street HUD, take advantage of that. I recommend color coding each stat based on the range of values of the stat that you think are tight normal and loose. I avoid having anything but numbers in my HUD because it makes it more cluttered, and if I am just getting used to a new layout I have a guide to my HUD near me.
I've played with my current HUD for a couple months now. Here's what I have in my HUD. First line: VPIP, PFR, 3-bet, fold to 3-bet, fold to c-bet in a 3bet pot, fold to steal. Second line: RFI EP-SB. Third line: Cbet, fold to c-bet, turn c-bet, fold to turn c-bet, aggression frequency. Fourth line: 3-bet vs hero, fold to 3-bet vs hero, limp fold, raise c-bet, fold c-bet to raise, fold after checking as PFR. When I have to make a decision, I know exactly what stats I am looking for so I like to have the most commonly used ones in my HUD, then the others in hte popups. Don't copy my setup if you're not grinding a ton of tables like I am though - start off with the basics and add more as you go.
No Limit Hold'em is a game where similar situations come up very frequently, so having the right information to play correctly in them is quite important. You want to be able to classify your opponents into different categories so that you can adjust your game plan accordingly. Stats often aren't going to be definitive evidence that an opponent is employing a certain strategy, but they will definitely indicate what your opponent is capable of doing. Mastering stats is at least half of developing reads on people when playing many tables. In the next part of this series I will focus on building pop-ups for your HUD to organize the information you have about your opponents efficiently.