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How to use a HUD when playing Online Poker
Nowadays if you want to be successful at Online Poker & Texas Hold'em, you must use a HUD. HUD stands for head-up display. A HUD is an advanced software application providing real-time information about the players at your online poker table.
The HUD will let you know how loose or aggressive your opponents are, plus much more information. By profiling the other players at the table, your HUD can reveal the secret tendencies of your opponents.
Poker is a game of information. By gathering more information with the HUD, you gain an advantage. By not doing it, your opponents gain an advantage over you.
Anatomy of a head-up display (HUD) system
What is a HUD exactly? Let us start at the beginning. Head-up display is a term coined by military aviation, which is a transparent display presenting data without requiring the user to look away from his viewpoint.
It is quite amazing that military aviation technology found its way in online poker, is it not? In any case, in online poker a HUD is a transparent display overlaying the poker table and presenting statistical data related to the current game.
The image on the right side is an example of a HUD used while playing a NL50 full ring game at pokerstars. By clicking to enlarge the image, you can see a rectangular box full of numbers near each player.
One of these boxes has been surrounded by an oval pointed to by an arrow for ease of illustration. In our example, each box contains 9 statistics for each player, divided into 2 lines with 4 & 5 statistics respectively on each line.
If you look at the circled box which corresponds to the player with the username "TracyTheNuts", the first line in the HUD shows 18/10/28/1.7k. These statistics are VPIP/PFR/AF and number of hands. Hence I know that I have 1,700 hands for TracyTheNuts within my database. This is a very large number, sufficient to provide an excellent in-depth idea of Tracy's playing style.
The first number is her VPIP at 18% of hands, indicating a loose tight player, i.e. a tight player but not a rock. Her PFR is 10% which is about the optimal preflop aggression given her VPIP. Her aggression factor (AF) is 28%. This represents postflop aggression, and it is a rather aggressive level. The picture offered by the HUD is very clear. Tracy is a solid TAG.
Poker HUD stats
To continue with Tracy's HUD details, the second line shows 56/52/2/44/7. These numbers are percent of c-bet, fold to c-bet, 3-bet, fold to 3-bet and check-raise. Here is the power of the HUD, as it can provide very precise statistics and sharp profiling.
56% c-bet means that she makes continuation bets slightly more than half the time after a preflop raise. This is quite low and indicates a moderate appetite for bluffing. She folds 52% of the time against a c-bet, which is low too, implying a tendency to float or to doubt.
2% 3-bet is low, confirming a straightforward type of play. Folding to 3-bet only 44% of time is very low, which reinforce the doubting nature mentioned earlier. Check-raising 7% of the time is pretty high, demonstrating a tendency to trap.
This case study is a perfect example of the power of the HUD. By just glancing over the HUD's box, I instantaneously obtain a summary of Tracy's playing style. This is very important as every action at online poker must depend on your opponent idiosyncrasies.
In my example I showed 9 statistics and a specific display, but HUDs offer a lot of customization and you can change that. Usually more than one hundred statistics are available, and you can choose to display either a few or dozens per player if you wish.
I like my display with 9 statistics. I believe that the downside of using more statistics is that it can slow down your computer system, especially if you are multi-tabling. Also it is confusing to have too many statistics.
As many players at your tables are unknowns with no history, most statistics will not have yet converged anyway. It is safer to stick with just a few solid reference statistics. Alternatively you can buy hand histories.
There are two types of HUDs on the market. The first type of HUD uses your own database which you created by gathering your hand histories or by data mining. Holdem Manager is the best product on the market. It is a poker tracking software plus a HUD.
The second type of HUD utilizes its own central database. The best product in this category is PokerEdge. Their database contains millions of online poker players.