So you've been using poker tracking software and its accompanying poker HUD for a while now. Do you fully grasp what each stat is within your HUD and how to use them for maximum benefit and profits at the tables?
This is the second in a series of posts dedicated to understanding the various stats within your poker tracking software and your poker HUD. This first stat is one of the most useful and easier to understand stats: PFR or Pre-flop Raise. Please check out the first post in this series revolving around the pre-flop stat, VPIP.
Here's a bullet list of the important aspects to PFR that every serious online poker player needs to know.
- PFR is counted every time you make any type of raise (2b/3b+) and it's a great indication of aggression (high = aggressive and wants to build pots or bluff, low = passivity and keeps pots small)
- This stat needs to be in your poker HUD as you should be using it in every hand you play against each of your opponents.
- It's calculated as:
- This is a good indication of their raising range, so use the % to equate to the range of hands they play using the Poker Range Chromatic (or create your own).
- To increase your PFR %, open wider IP and avoid playing hands OOP. And please, don't ever open limp.
- Pre-flop aggression tends to carry-over to post-flop play; so if you don't have good post-flop stats on an opponent, PFR can give you some insight into how he plays post-flop.
- You should keep PFR in a pop-up by position as well as this can let you know if your opponent is positionally aware or not: PFR should increase as position gets later. Here's an example of PFR by position in my RFI pop-up (PFR is the fifth line):
- PFR is very useful on its own, but gains greater significance when coupled with VPIP.
Understand the Gap Between VPIP and PFR
- VPIP and PFR are a powerful combination to look at when making pre-flop decisions. You need to have enough pre-flop aggression in poker to take advantage of the timidity of other players and to have initiative post-flop.
- VPIP is a player’s raises + calls, so if a large part of their VPIP is raising, then they’re an aggressive player.
- VPIP on its own tells you if a player is loose or tight, but VPIP & PFR together tells you if they’re passive or aggressive.
- You need to be raising at least ½ of the hands you play, preferably you should be at 75%+. If you’re raising less, maybe you’re a 20/8 player, you just aren’t being aggressive enough pre-flop, which makes it harder to take down pots post-flop. Inversely, a player at 20/18 is playing 20% of hands (33+ A2s+ A4o+ KTs+ and KQo) which is a pretty strong range, and he’s raising almost all of these hands. This is good b/c you don’t know if he’s raising w/A7o or KK. The 20/8 player on the other hand is prolly raising only the top 8% of hands, or 88+ A8s+ ATo+ and KQs, a much narrower range and easier to play against.
- The bigger the gap, the more often they cold call bets or limp pre-flop. Narrow gaps cold call with a smaller and stronger range.
- Most fish have a large gap which means they’re passive players and they have a passive and weak preflop strategy as they call too often.
- You don't want your own gap to be too small or big (but you want to look for these opponents to attack). Even a 20/18 is a very tight gap, and 20/8 is too big of a gap. Small gaps mean you play too fit or fold pre-flop or you're just overly aggressive with weaker hands, and both can mean less money won without showdown. Big gaps mean you cold call too much and play without the initiative, and you'll probably loose to a lot of cbets and on too many rivers due to weak holdings.
PFR Tutorial in PokerTracker 4
I use PokerTracker 4, and highly recommend it. Please check out this post where I discuss and show you (via video) some of the PT4 basic features.
In the video below, I show you specifically how you can filter your hands for PFR and how you can review your hands by position or hand strength in order to assess your PFR skills. The filters you choose can help you either learn how you can increase your PFR or decrease it, depending on which is your leak.
PFR Analysis – In-Game HUD Usage
Not only is understanding your own PFR % important, but you need to understand what this number means for each of your opponents at your table. What types of info can you glean from each opponent's HUD by analyzing the gap between VPIP and PFR? Is there an optimal seat at the table?
Please check out the next HUD Stat post on the 3bet statistic (pre-flop 3bet).
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them for me below and I'll be sure to get back to you.
Make your next session the best one yet!
A special thanks to poker coaches Assassinato and SplitSuit for the valuable info they've given regarding PFR. Also, thanks to PokerTracker 4 for the great training and Leak Tracker videos and all the other coaches I've learned from via articles, books and training videos.
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