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Q&A: Becoming a HUD Master, non-HUD sites and Ranges | #227


Sky Matsuhashi

on March 21, 2019

I answer your poker questions about learning to become a HUD master, playing on non-HUD sites, Bovada and how statistical %’s equate to ranges.


Q1: HUD Master = Lots of Trial and Error (4:10)

From: Jarret Demain

Q: Did you do some videos on your Smart HUD or a manual perhaps, so I can start using it without too much trial & error?


Take a look at your HUD and list out all of the stats there. Now prioritize this list in the order that you want to learn the statistics.

I recommend putting your preflop statistics before your post-flop statistics because preflop happens with every hand dealt, so you have more opportunities to exploit your opponents utilizing those preflop stats.

Once you’ve chosen your next statistic to focus on, turn all of your studies towards it for that week. Do a Google search on that statistic and learn all you can like the definition, the formula, what is a good and what is a high percentage, and how to exploit those numbers.

For every play session this week, you will look at that ONE statistic before making every decision. Your goal is to exploit your opponents at every opportunity when their percentage tells you they have a frequency issue.


It's going to take a lot of trial and error to become a HUD Master.

Just think about what you're trying to do: you're trying to turn a ton of numbers into exploits that you can do subconsciously. That’s what being a HUD Master is: you see a number and immediately you know 3+ ways to exploit that number.

For many of you, if I tell you that a Flop Cbet percentage of 85% is way too high, you might understand this. But, have you ever put thought into how to exploit somebody who cbets too frequently? If the answer is no, then the various ways you can exploit a frequent flop cbettor are NOT going to spring to mind.

5 Potential Exploits:

  • Bluff raise them if they are capable of folding
  • Value raise if they don't fold their cbets against raises
  • Call with bluff catchers
  • Call to slow play with your strong hands
  • You can call on the flop then bet to steal the pot when they check the turn

I came up with this list of items because I've noodled on how to exploit cbettors many times.

You MUST learn all you can about each stat in your HUD and what the various percentages mean. Then you have to make sure you understand what is a high percentage and a low percentage. Finally, you can work out exploits based on the percentages shown to you.

Here’s something I’m going to discuss in detail within the webinar:

The best exploits come from the extremes.

This basically means that exploiting a player’s cbet percentage is best done when it’s extremely high, like 85%, or when it’s super low, like 25%.


Q2: Learn from non-HUD sites (7:45)

From: Rob Missinne

Q: I bought your book (How to Study Poker Volume 2) as a way to get disciplined about the game, however, I didn’t realize that I needed tracking software to follow along with the program. I was wondering if you had any ideas on how to adapt the program for someone who can’t use tracking programs? I play on a non-HUD site, which doesn’t allow trackers, but being in the US, it’s the best I can do! Please let me know what you think, I’m up for whatever it takes 🙂


Begin utilizing game tape for your play sessions.

Game tape is recording your sessions so you can watch them back later to review your play and your opponent's play. Because you’re an online player, you can record every session you play. This will give you all the details for every hand you're dealt.


Game tape is the greatest advantage you have over LIVE poker players. If they want to record a hand for later study off the felt, they have to whip out a piece of paper (or use Evernote) to record the important details like the players, the stacks, the board cards, the preflop action, the post-flop action and the showdown.

You are so lucky that you don’t have to do this. All you need is game tape.

5-step plan

1. Get a decent microphone (or a headset with a microphone) so that you can record your thoughts as you speak through the decisions you make while playing.

2. Get a screen recording software like OBS. Find some setup videos in YouTube to help you set it up.

3. Start recording every session that you play.

4. As you play, have a piece of paper in front of you where you can write down the time that an important hand took place. Example: you didn't know if a bluff cbet on the turn was a good play at 15:05 into your session. Write that time down on the piece of paper and maybe a note that says, “not sure if this was a good double-barrel bluff spot”.

5. After your session (directly or the next day), replay the game tape and go directly to the timestamp you wrote down. Review the hand, take notes, and then start using whatever method you want to study it (I often put hands and ranges through Flopzilla).

You need to improve your game, and this is how you're going to get around their restrictions.

Final advice: Find a site that allows PokerTracker 4.

Start your audiobook learning by picking up ‘Preflop Online Poker' through Click the pic above to begin your free 30-day trial or to purchase the audiobook version if you're already a member.

Q3: Bovada HUD (13:55)

From: Justin Robbins

Q: I am currently playing on Bovada which does not use HUD's I believe. I know of a few other rooms like ACR and Nitrogen but am not really sure which ones will let me use the HUD. Do you recommend any one specifically?


Get PokerTracker 4 (affiliate link) because it does work with Bovada/Ignition. People don't realize this.


PokerTracker 4 made some recent updates so that it works better with Bovada/Ignition. It'll save all your hands and allow you to use the HUD.

Check out this page for more info on configuring PT4 for Bovada/Ignition:

You just need to get the optional hand grabbing app here to make it work:

If you do purchase PT4 through my affiliate link above, forward to me your purchase receipt and I'll send you my Smart HUD in thanks.

Q4: Stat % equates to a range of hands (15:30)

From: Jim Gargiulo

Q: In your book Preflop Online Poker, in chapter 2 it talks about BE% and uses the Villain's RFI for that position as his range. Am I supposed to use the RFI stat by position instead of their overall VPIP when I'm breaking down hands?


Whip out Flopzilla or Equilab and build RFI ranges for the most common statistics you see. Print these out and keep them on your desk.

Next, review 10 hands off the felt where you faced an open-raise. Look at the player’s positional RFI percentage, and find the range on your range sheet. Now, given their range and your hand, was your play (fold, call or 3bet) a +EV decision?

Record any mistakes and try to learn from them.

Also, utilize these ranges as you play your sessions. The more you use them on and off-the-felt, the more comfortable you’ll become with ranges and the RFI statistic.


RFI is one of those stats that’s best viewed by position, and it equates very well to the exact range of hands your opponent plays.

For example, Bob123’s RFI as a total is 30%, but he raised from UTG. His UTG RFI is 12%.

You want to put him on a roughly 12% range and base your decisions on that, not the total 30% statistic.  30% would include hands like KTo, A9o and K2s. These hands aren't normally in somebody's 12% UTG RFI range.

VPIP is how often they voluntarily put $ in the pot, so it counts calls and raises from any position, so don't use that when assigning a preflop range based on a specific action.

You want to find the stat that’s most related to the way they entered the pot then assign them a range based on that.

Pick a Challenge (18:15)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  I just gave you 4 different potential Actions to take:

1. Prioritize your HUD stats and begin learning them one at a time.

2. Utilize game tape for your play sessions.

3. Get PokerTracker 4 because it does work Bovada/Ignition.

4. Build RFI ranges for the most common statistics you see.

Now it’s your time to shine! Choose the one that’s most applicable to what you’re striving for right now, and step into action. Playing and studying with purpose are the best ways to improve your game.

Support the Show

Mick purchased Preflop Online Poker in PDF/Audiobook form.

Joris Schets purchased one of my favorite webinars: Poker's Bread & Butter Webinar.  In this one, I teach you how to put yourself in the most profitable poker situation. And David Ridge picked up Getting the Most from PokerTracker 4 Webinar.

Ben F. purchased PokerTracker 4 through my affiliate link.  There's no better poker software available for keeping a database of hands or for using a HUD (I sent him my Smart HUD as thanks).

Marco Gasco purchased the Smart HUD for PokerTracker 4.  The HUD comes with 16 stats and 6 custom popups along with specialized color coding for the most useful stats.  It's perfect for getting the most from PokerTracker 4 and your online play.


Sky Matsuhashi

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