Mike Gagliano (Gags30) Discusses Online Poker HUDs

Date: 2011-05-21
Author: Paul Ellis

Poker pro Mike “Gags30” Gagliano has more than $1.7 million in career online poker earnings from multi-table tournaments.  “Gags30” is an instructor at Premier Poker Coaching and recently was added to the staff at PocketFives Training.  We sat down with Gagliano to talk about what kind of poker software he is using as well as his heads-up display (HUD).

PSW: What kind of poker software are you currently using when you play?

Mike Gagliano: The only program I use is PokerTracker.  I mean, I use things like PokerStove as well, but not while I play.  That’s more during hand history analysis.

PSW: Do you always have PokerTracker on?  Or just when you hit a certain number of tables?

Mike Gagliano: In the past, I’ve always used it regardless of whether I was playing one table or 15.  But more recently, I’ve tried some new things to try to focus on exploiting players more, one of which has been to turn off my HUD to try and make myself pay more attention and get more reads.  For the past few sessions, if I’ve had more than six tables, I’ve had the HUD on.

PSW:  What kind of information do you have in your HUD?

Mike Gagliano: I have the basic stats showing the number of hands, VPIP, and PFR, as well as Aggression Frequency and 3bet Percentage for MTT play.  I really don’t play ring games that often online, so I mainly just leave it the same.  If I were to play more ring games, then I would change it a bit.

PSW: What kind of changes would you make?

Mike Gagliano: Well, since the blinds don’t change in ring games, people tend to fall into more patterns and so I would put more positional stats in my HUD, such as steal percentage.

PSW: Would you keep these stats in your pop-ups?

Mike Gagliano: I do look into pop-ups, but only in very rare circumstances.  As an MTT player, there are so many variables in the game.  The blinds are constantly changing and players’ stacks are changing.  So, what a player does at 10/20 blinds might be totally different from what they do at 1,000/2,000.

Same with their stack – if they have 25 big blinds, they might play a hand one way, whereas if they had 50 big blinds, they might play it another.  So generally, the way I approach a hand is to just look at their overall HUD stats (VPIP, PFR, AFq, and 3b%) and extrapolate those numbers to other parts of the game.

If they have aggressive pre-flop stats and they 3bet a lot, they’re likely to be aggressive post-flop and play draws quickly… things like that.

PSW: What spots might make you access the extra data?

Mike Gagliano: The only times I really go to my pop-ups are post-flop spots when I’m trying to figure out if a player is likely to be bluffing.  I may check a stat like how often they check-raise the flop.  Usually, this info can be figured out by looking at their overall HUD stats.

It’s pretty much the same as before – if they’re really aggressive pre-flop, they 3bet a lot, and their AFq is high, then they’re probably likely to check-raise bluff some percentage of the time.  And again, this holds true for MTTs because the info we have in our HUD might not be current with the same blind level or stack size, so we have to make assumptions.

PSW:  There is a lot of information that is accessible in the PokerTracker HUD.  Even if you don’t have the opportunity to review it mid-tournament, is it still beneficial to study it during review sessions?

Mike Gagliano: There are so many stats that PT3 can give you that it’s almost overwhelming.  But, the stats are really useful and certainly can help you with situations.  With that being said, every stat isn’t going to be 100% useful in tournaments because so many things are changing.  How often someone is check-raising the river might be a very useful stat when you’re 100 big blinds deep, but when you’re 30 big blinds deep, all the money is usually going in before the river, so that stat becomes irrelevant.

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