About Poker Room Player Stats

Published: 13/12/2010

“The drudgery of the numbers will set you free.” Harold S. Geneen, the late CEO of International Telephone & Telegraph, was speaking of running a business when he said those words, but they certainly apply to playing Poker. Those who know and understand the statistics available to them in the Poker room have a powerful advantage over those who ignore them.

Using the Numbers

Most Poker web sites feature several useful stats in the lobby that can be used to evaluate which room to play in for ring games (cash games). Among the most useful of these are average pot and average stack. These numbers will give an indication of how rich a game is relative to other rooms with the same blinds. Many players prefer to join tables where the average are low so that their initial buy in doesn’t have them starting out short stacked.

Another helpful stat is the Player per Flop ratio. This will show at a glance how aggressively contested the hands are. Ideally, the number should not be much higher than three. If it is, expect a considerable amount of wild play, as the maniacs (Loose Aggressive players) try to bully the table and buy hand after hand.

One other useful statistic is Hands per Hour. No one wants to enter a game that drags on too slowly. A speed game may be intimidating to others. Most players will look for a table where the pace is moderately fast, but not too fast. Beginners may deliberately look for the slower moving games.

Once inside the Poker room, there should be a display for “Stats” or “History.” This is where the player can see how many hands have been played, how often he/she has seen the flop, how many hands have been won, how much was won or lost, and other information pertinent to play in this specific room. Knowing one’s own playing style is just as important as monitoring the styles of opponents, and these stats can help in that regard.

Two Key Stats

Of all the many numbers that may be looked at in analysing Poker play, one of the most important is P2CP – Paid to See the Pot. In a ring game with a full table of ten players, each seat will be dealt eight hands per round that are not on the blind. A player who pays to see the pot on more than two of those hands is probably playing loose; fewer than two may indicate tight play.

Over the course of several rounds of deals, the stats will even more clearly define who is loose (>25% P2CP) and who is tight (<25% P2CP). And if notes are taken over the course of many sessions, a player can begin to build a library of information on opponents, much like the pros do on the circuit of Poker tournaments, knowing exactly who plays what style of game.

Another key stat is RPF – Raise Pre-Flop. Aggressive players will raise before the flop at a rate roughly equal to their P2CP ratio. In other words, if a player stays in half the time (P2CP = 50%), then he/she might be expected to raise about half of those hands in a Loose Aggressive style of play. But if the RFP value is significantly lower, such as 20%, then the style is Loose Passive and he/she just likes to pay to see hands. Such a player can be easily beat by re-raising aggressively on strong hands.

As useful as such information can be, tracking the hands and calculating the statistics may become quite tedious. As a solution, many software companies have introduced applications that take care of these two functions automatically, such as Poker Crusher, Holdem Indicator, Poker Office, and more. Best of all, many of these programs are available for free on a trial basis, so they can be tested and evaluated before committing to purchase.

Published on: 13/12/2010

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