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LAG’s, HUD Stats & Poker Math | Q&A | Smart Poker Study Podcast #17


Sky Matsuhashi

on January 29, 2016

Two questions about LAG's, understanding and using HUD Stats in-game and some poker math discussed today…

Download and listen to this episode as you follow along below.


LAG's, HUD Stats & Poker Math | Q&A | Podcast #17

Two Q's today from Mr. Happiness & eroc93:

Q1 from Mr Happiness:

Hello Sky,

Thanks for your help, I truly appreciate it. I just finished listening to your podcast #2 and it was the second podcast I have ever listened to. Your podcast #1 was the first. I'm 62 years old and I am not good (gross under statement) with computers.

He says some very nice things here (about me and himself), but I left it out for time considerations.

I was checking out your sheet on 7 characteristics of a poker player and I had a question for you. Under the Loose Aggressive (LAG's) type it says “chase only strongest draws against his post flop aggression (nfd or high oesd or pair+ draw)”. Could you please explain that to me in laymen's terms?

Once again I appreciate everything you do for me.


Mr. Happiness

  • Thank you so much for the question and for all the kind words.
  • LAG's can often barrel to push you off your hand.  You’re better off chasing the strongest draws like nut flush draws, high open-ended straight draws and good pair+draw hands.  You want to have the best odds possible of hitting your hand if you’re going to be paying multiple streets for it, plus you want to be drawing to a nutted or near-nutted hand.  Drawing to weak fd’s (56s on AQ7), weak oesd’s (like 56 on 78J), weak gut-shots (like 78 on TJK) or weak pair+draw hands (like 56 on 589 board).
  • Everything is situational, so if you know the LAG's you're up against always bet flops but only barrels the turn w/a made or strong hand, then you can float with the intention of taking it away IP on the turn after he checks, or the river if you’re OOP and he checks behind the turn.  So if you have a plan, you can have ATC (any two cards) and continue in the hand, but having solid draws gives you equity when your planned bluff gets called.

Q2 from eroc93:

One of the things i still struggle with is using my HUD stats effectively in real time. I am pretty solid at reading ranges using VPIP,PFR and 3 bet stats. I am talking more the math of being able to exploit villians who fold or call too much in certain spots postflop. I understand the theory behind it but still for some reason draw blanks when trying to make math decisions while multi tabling in real time. Math was never one of my strong suits but i know to be the player i want to be i am going to have to get better at it. I am also currently reading a book called “Poker Math that Matters” by Owen Gains to try and simplify some things in my head. What helped you out in being able to effectively use all the combo hud stats?

Thanks, eroc93

Thanks much for the question.

  • I became proficient at using stats by utilizing four different methods:
  1. Warm-ups – podcast #5 – As part of my nightly warm-up I include 2 strategy focuses to keep in mind as I play.  Over the course of a few months I systematically chose one stat each night to pay attention to in every hand I played and for each decision where that stat could help me.
  2. Focus Sessions – podcast #8 – I would really drill down on HUD work with Focus Sessions where I played just 2 tables and really used the stats before every decision, even before folding Q5o.
  3. HH Reviews – I always do this as I’m reviewing hands, but the key is to try and dissect your opp’s plays with regards to their actions and stats combined.  Off the tables you have more time to consider all the info available to you, so you should see if your opp’s stats could’ve choreographed his moves.
  4. Creating my own HUD’s and Popups – Getting in there and making my own HUD’s and Popups really helped my understanding of the stats.  Also, making my own color coding for stat numbers helped in my understanding and in-game usage of the stats.  You can find some of my HUD and Popup videos on my YouTube channel.
  • Regarding poker maths and stats, you need to make sure you know is how to calculate break-even %’s (article here).
  1. Calling Break-even %’s – how much you have to call and how often your hand has to win to break-even
  2. Bluff Bet Break-even %’s – how often a particular bluff sizing has to succeed to break-even
  • Compare these %’s to how often you think he’s doing what he’s doing and make a decision.  The best way to practice this is to find a situation you have difficulty with and filter your database for it.  As you review each, think about:
  • What is my bet trying to accomplish? Bluff, value, something else?
  • Thinking about his stats and any reads, is he likely to fold or call my cbet?
  • If going for value, how likely will he call and what could he call with on that board?
  • If making a bluff or semi-bluff, how likely is he to fold to the bet and if he calls, what will I do on the turn?
  • Regardless of what I’m trying to accomplish, what will I do if he raises? What will I do on the turn if he calls?
  • If the math is what you’re trying to drill into your head, run the math for every hand you review. How often did it have to work (as a bluff) or how much equity do I need to call?

Final Conclusion: deliberate study with one specific idea at a time will get you what you want.  Don’t try to study bluff sizing, calling with outs, 3bet resteals, cbets and river bet sizing all in one session.  It takes FOCUS (Follow One Course Until Success), so pick one thing and run with it each session.


Sky Matsuhashi

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