Skip to content


The Bare Bones HUD for Tourneys and Anonymous Sites


Sky Matsuhashi

on May 26, 2021

The Bare Bones HUD is exactly what tournament and anonymous site players need to exploit your ever-changing opponents.

As online players, we love using a  HUD to give us more info to exploit players. But anonymous sites like Ignition and the ever-changing table dynamics of tournaments mean that some HUD stats just don't accumulate fast enough.

These 7 essential “bare bones” elements are just what the PokerTracker 4 HUD doctor ordered.

Listen to this podcast episode as you follow along below:

7 Bare Bones Elements

1. Note Editor

Necessary for color coding by player type once you make a read on them. Also, in case you want to put a player note for when you’re reviewing hands against them later. And, the auto-notes feature lists the hands they’ve shown down and how they played them preflop.



2. Player Name

Especially useful for tournaments when players come and go. You might miss that Bob123 was just replaced by Susan789 but the HUD hasn’t caught up yet.

3. # of Hands

The more hands you have, the more reliable the numbers. I think reliability begins at 18 hands (3 6max orbits or 2 FR orbits). However, you can start to understand your opponent after just 4 hands. If their VPIP in 4 hands is 100%, you’re likely up against a loose player. If their VPIP is 0% in 12 hands, likely a tight player.

Couple their VPIP and PFR with exact actions will help clue you in to their player type early. For example, they've VPIP'ed 100% (4/4) and the plays they made were calling twice and limp/calling twice. Yeppers… Fish for sure and it's only been 4 hands.

But, be willing to change any early read you make. As you play more hands, their stats will converge to their actual tendencies, maybe around 50 hands or so.

How to Quickly Create the Bare Bones HUD in PokerTracker 4:

4 & 5. VPIP & PFR

These give you an initial read on their player type. Over time, everyone’s tendencies play out and you can be confident that:

  • The 40/5 player is a loose fish
  • That 18/16 player is a TAG
  • The 33/27 is a LAG

By knowing their player type, you can better play the player with your list of general exploits that you know work against each player type.

6. 3bet

Helps to look ahead and spot frequent 3bettors before you open-raise or iso-raise. Remember to always look ahead for 3bettors because:

3bets are the bane of 2bets.

This is especially helpful for tournament play as stacks get shorter, you want to see the 3bet shove coming before you open-raise.

You can potentially 4bet bluff frequent 3bet bluffers. Or, you can call when you have position and exploit them post-flop. Or, you can just fold your weaker hands instead of open-raising when you suspect a 3bet is very likely.

7. Total AF

Aggression Factor (AF) is a measure of the bets and raises they make to their calls. So, an AF of 2 means they bet or raise 2 times for every call they make.

At 4 or higher, they love betting and raising, and not so much calling. At less than 1, they’re a calling station.

Use AF to help you plan for post-flop play before you enter the pot preflop. And, if a low AF bets or raises, they have TP or better. If a high AF bets or raises, they could easily be bluffing and you can respond as you see fit.


Favorite Exploit Stats to Add

3bet Bluffing: RFI & 2bet/Fold to 3bet

If they RFI > 20% and fold after raising > 50%, you’ve got a great target for 3bet bluffs. And your 3bet bluffs are more likely to succeed if you’re doing it from IP and they’re in a later position with a wider range.

Double-barrel Bluffing: Fold to Flop Cbet and Fold to Turn Cbet

You strive to be the preflop raiser as often as possible (Bread & Butter poker), which means you make more cbets than you face. So, you want to know if your opponent folds more on the flop or turn.

If they fold > 60% on the flop and they call, you know they have something. This might save you from making a costly double-barrel bluff that’s not likely to work.

However, if they fold on the flop only 35% but on the turn 65%, you know you have to double-barrel bluff them. If you're not willing to double-barrel (short stacks, terrible board, you're OOP, etc.) then don't fire the flop if it's going to require a double-barrel to steal the pot.

More Than Just The HUD

HUD stats are useful, but the most important things you can do to play lights out poker are:

  • Strive to play in position and be the preflop raiser.
  • Visualize your opponent’s preflop range and how it interacts with the board.
  • Pay attention to the action to see the plays your opponents make to understand them better. Noticing limps or 3bets or overpaying for draws will clue you in to your opponent’s style of play.
  • Watch every showdown and replay the hand in your mind to help you understand your opponent better.
  • Make exploitative plays based on your reads.



Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:

Create and use your own Bare Bones HUD in the next tournament or anonymous cash game session. See how you like having just the bare minimum stats in your HUD. It might simplify your play and at the same time, force you to pay more attention to the non-HUD information available.

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.

Support the Show

Alexandre Dutheil, Wilson, Super King, Werner Taschner, Mickster, 2 to Tango, Patrick Piff, Arnold Baron, Ionescu Antoniu, Albert Markes, Gregory, Travel Poker, Olav Reiersdal, Kian Tavakoli, Ben Rhodes, Harry Van Duin, Oliver Case, Ivan, Myron Huzon, Antonio Guerrero, Rob Ossario, Doc, Denny Euverman, Marc Epstein, James Emery, Jordan Swavel, Ola Haraldsson, Rasmus Kristensen, Harald Zink, Mark Hall and Purgi bought the Smart HUD with a 1.5 hour webinar for PokerTracker 4.  It’s the best online poker HUD in the business with every critical stat in the HUD and the 7 custom popups. This is what every online player needs to maximally exploit opponents.


Sky Matsuhashi

Don’t Miss Out!

Get expert tips and strategies straight to your inbox each week!