It doesn’t matter if you play live or online – understanding poker statistics is a vital part of the game.
Of course, it’s much easier to access these stats in online games, as you can use various trackers and software which display key online poker player statistics. But even in a live setting, you can get a very solid understanding of your opponent’s play by observing them in action.
Let’s talk about what you should look out for in your games.
VPIP (Voluntarily Put $ In Pot)
RFI (Raise First In)
Fold to 3bet
Fold to steal
Fold to c-bet
Went to showdown
Aggression % by street
1. VPIP (Voluntarily Put $ In Pot)
VPIP stands for “Voluntarily Put Money ($) In Pot” and helps you understand how often your opponent is choosing to play.
If a player performs any voluntary action like raising, calling, or even limping, and chooses to play the hand, his VPIP stat increases.
Of course, if he’s sitting in the big blind and was forced to post it because of the game structure, but then folded to a raise, this does not count as an action and does not influence this stat.
While it only gives basic information, you can profile your opponents by how often they choose to play, since many recreational players opt to get involved with way too many hands making their range too weak.
If you notice these tendencies, it can help influence your final decisions.
2. RFI (Raise First In)
Preflop raise or raise first in (RFI) shows how often the player decides to enter the pot by raising when everyone before them folds.
While good players have similar VPIP and RFI stats, since they often enter the pot by raising if they decide to play, you will find opponents who have a wide gap between these numbers.
This is a huge indication of weaker players because they usually decide to limp or call a raise instead of raising, and take passive lines post-flop most of the time.
You should look to play as many hands as possible against these players, because they will usually call your bets and rarely bluff, so you will always know where you stand.
This poker statistic shows how often a player decided to re-raise instead of calling or folding when someone already entered the pot by raising.
The higher the 3bet stat, the more aggressive your opponent is.
As a rule of thumb, you should be looking to play fewer hands against players with a high 3-bet percent because you will be forced to fold a lot when facing aggression.
It is better to avoid these situations with the weakest part of your range, and only play reasonable hands or add more 4-bet bluffs in the mix.
4. Fold to 3bet
Knowing how often your opponent folds to 3-bet after raising is one of the most important online poker statistics.
If you find opponents who are opening too many hands, they are also likely folding to 3-bet too often. If that’s the case, you can add many weak hands to your 3-betting range and exploit their mistakes.
Contrary to this, if these players choose to call many 3-bets after raising with a wide range, you can exploit it by 3-betting only a strong part of your range.
No matter what, knowing this stat will help you adjust against various opponents and put them in some tough spots.
5. Fold to steal
Fold to steal shows how often a player in the blinds folds when facing a raise, and is something you should evaluate when choosing which hands to play from later positions.
The player sitting in the big blind is especially important because they get the best odds and close the action, so will likely be your main competition.
If you find an opponent who is folding a lot, you can raise with more hands than you usually would, or even open every single one of them if the big blind is particularly weak and you find yourself on the button.
Of course, if you’re up against a tough opponent who’s not so keen on folding and chooses to 3-bet a lot, the best adjustment would be to fold your weaker hands and choose a tighter approach.
Knowing how often people fold to steal can be very valuable when choosing what hands you opt to play, so always consider your opponents and how they react to your raise.
Continuation betting (known as c-bet) is a situation where the preflop raiser opts to continue his aggression and bet after the flop.
If you notice how often a specific player is c-betting, you can adjust your play against them and even build your entire strategy based on this information.
Even though c-betting is a very wide and complex topic, people rarely change their strategy and mostly keep doing the same things over and over again. If you caught someone c-betting too much or way less than they should, you could make simple adjustments and exploit irregularities in their play.
Thinking about your own strategy, one thing that you should avoid is c-betting too often and then being forced to fold almost your entire range after checking.
Instead, put some medium-strength hands in the checking range to protect it, and you will be a much tougher opponent to play.
7. Fold to c-bet
The name is self-explanatory. This poker statistic shows how often your opponent folds when facing a continuation bet.
Often players chose to play too many hands and then fold to any bet if they miss the flop, which is probably one of the worst strategies to have.
Against these players, you should forget about balancing and c-bet every single time you miss yourself to take advantage of their mistakes.
However, if you’re up against a player who’s not very keen on folding, the previous strategy would cost you a lot of money. Instead of betting all your bluffs, you should choose to continue with hands that have some equity and give up with complete air.
Of course, it’s not as simple as that, but knowing how often other players are folding on the flop can help you make superior decisions, so always observe your opponents.
8. Went to showdown
Went to showdown stat lets you see how often your opponent goes to showdown after seeing the flop.
If your opponent has high “went to showdown” stats of more than 35%, it means you should not try to bluff them. Instead, you should be value betting more medium-strength hands, because they are not going to fold if they have any piece of the board.
Contrary to this, if your opponents rarely go to showdown, it means they are only playing very strong hands after the flop, and you should be looking to punish them every time you get a chance to bluff.
Of course, it’s way easier to observe this in online games, where you can quickly see the difference. But even in a live setting, you will notice who is calling down no matter what and who is opting to check/fold most of the hands on the flop, so make adjustments based on that information.
9. Aggression % by street
I am referring to Flop Aggression %, Turn Aggression %, and the same stat for the river.
These numbers show how aggressive players are in any given street, and how often they perform an aggressive line by betting or raising, instead of calling or checking. It’s quite a good indication of how aggressive the player is in general.
While many have reasonably high aggression stats on the flop because of an automatic c-bet, you will find plenty of opponents who play later streets passively, and this is where you can take advantage.
You can categorize various players to see when you should be barreling multiple streets or when you should check your strong hands and let your opponent dictate the action.
Many aggressive players love to bluff, so give them a chance to lose their money.
10. River call
River call efficiently shows how often your opponent is calling with weak hands.
So, whenever you see a player with river call efficiency lower than 1, you know they’re losing money when calling on the river, which is quite hard to do because of all the strong hands players have in these situations.
When you notice something like that, you can be sure they are calling way too wide, thus can value bet more often.
A final word on poker statistics
All of these poker statistics should be in your HUD (heads-up display) when playing online. When playing live, the theory behind these poker statistics should still be observed to help you make better adjustments.
Image credit: PokerTracker
Be sure to check out some more poker articles by Tadas, such as the 10 most common mistakes in Texas Hold’em or the most common poker cheats.
Lead image credit: PokerTracker