Thursday, November 03, 2005

You want leaks, I got leaks Part One

In an effort to improve our poker playing, I believe everybody should be reviewing their play to find their strengths and more importantly, their weaknesses.... but how do you do that? First off, their are many tools out there to help you with this process.

First and foremost, you need to get Poker Tracker. This program will record your (and your opponents) hand histories, both ring and tourney, for most sites. Most sites now are actually recording the hands to your hard drive which makes setting up the auto import with PT that much eaiser. Also, many sites will let you record hand histories from hands that you are not in. This is called data mining and if very important. I often open up 10 tables (especially on nights that I am not playing) to record stats on potential future players. This will also let you review your results.

Also, their are companion programs that will help you while you are playing. Now Poker Tracker itself also has a companion program called Game Time. This opens a window and gives you the stats of the players at your table. Some others are Game Time + which actually acts as on overlay to your table and shows that stats right next to the player. I have used this and is very helpful. The one that I find to be the most helpful is Poker Ace HUD as this acts like an overlay similar to Game Time and Game Time +; but is also shows mucked hands for sites that support this (Party among others). Poker Tracker does cost $55; but is highly worth it. You can also get PT for free for going through sites such as Poker Source Online (use code willwonka, if you like). Game Time+ is free last time I checked and Poker Ace HUD just now went commercial and costs $25. All worth the price of admission if you ask me.

Now that you have the tools, let's investigate. Our mission for today is to evaluate my play over the month of October (excluding my 4 digit losing day on the last Saturday). Other than dreaded day, I was more or less break even and we know break even poker is not what we working towards. I am actually only going to use stats from Oct 1 - Oct 26 which I was down about $486. The month of October saw me playing many different levels from 2/4 all the way through 15/30. I had signed up on Caribbean Sun to get a PSO bonus and qualify for a $200K freeroll so I experimented on different levels to find the best path to earning the needed CPC points to qualify.

First let's look at the summarized stats for the month:

First a little glossary:
VPIP = Voluntarily put money into flop.. basically flop % - checking on Big Blind
PFR = Preflop Raise
Total Aggression = Raise % + Bet % / Call %
W$WSF = Won dollars when seeing flop
WSD = Went to Showdown
W$SD = Won $ when going to showdown
BB/100 = Big Blinds made per 100 hands


VPIP: 31.32
PFR: 10.78
Total Agression (including preflop): 1.12
W$WSF: 36.13
WSD: 37.28
W$SD: 53.40
BB/100: -3.31

A little further down, let's look at the levels to see where the problems were:

15/30: BB/100... 14.90 (220 hands)
5/10: BB/100... -4.93 (2,393 hands)
3/6: BB/100... -4.07 (745 hands)
2/4: BB/100... -19.49 (148 hands)

As you can see that most of the hands came from 5/10 play so that is where we will concentrate our effort.

OK... looking at the stats above, I am really shocked. The first leak is blatantly obvious:

Leak #1: Seeing too many hands. My VPIP was 31.32 ( 31.26 at 5/10) which is way to high. It is bordering on fishy/maniacal play. You should not be basically seeing 1 out of 3 hands. I feel that I should note that alot of this 5/10 play was on 6 max tables as that is really all that Caribbean was offering at that level. In my humble opinion, a good VPIP is somewhere between 18-22 (a little higher at 6 max). There are very good players with lower VPIPs and even higher VPIPs.. but that seems to be my comfort level.

Leak #2: Lack of Aggressiveness: my aggressiveness factor of 1.12 is way too low. I should mention that my goal is to be a tight/aggressive player. We already know that I blew the "tight" part with my above VPIP... but if you couple that with my low aggressiveness, it only leads to problems and is bordering on "calling station" status which may be the biggest insult to a poker player. This number really should be above 1.5 for total aggression (including preflop). So what does that mean... basically.. raising instead of calling. What about drawing hands.. this may depend on position; but you may know that you are drawing and the poker site may know that you are drawing (i.e. to a straight or flush); but you oppenents don't know that you are drawing. Push until pushed back... You never know, they may be drawing as well. As many have said, you need to be putting the pressure on as opposed to people putting pressure on you.

The other numbers are not too out of line given the above leaks.

That should do it for Part One of Finding Leaks. Tomorrow we will go into even more detail and look to hand analysis. Another words, let's find out what kind of hands that I am making money and more importantly, let's find out the hands that I am losing money.


fairnbalncd said...

WW... 30% VP of 2,400 hands is a bunch, although if you're getting hit with the deck it could be a variance issue. All hands for Oct are still just above 3,500. What's your YTD VP overall?

One of my big leaks is NOT using PT properly except to review a few key hands and track my play.

I don't include PF in the Agg Factor but I know my VP is far too tight - 13.90% right now. Earlier it was up to 15% but the last 5,000 hands have been icy cold too, imo.

I'm a solid TAG and cruised the .50/1 tables at 3.75BB/100. 1/2 has been fun but I'm breakeven after 35k hands.

Last night I decided to open up and move my MP requirements to EP, but didn't even see too many of those either!

Good topic and I hope others weigh in.

Ron Dickerson said...

Great article. I have been looking for some help on figuring out Poker Tracker and this article has pointed me in the right direction. Thanks.

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