What's in Your HUD Interview with Online Poker Pro flashdisastr

Date: 2011-12-11
Author: David Huber

The "What's in Your HUD" article series here at PokerSoftware.com has received a large number of views among interested readers who want to see the ways online poker pros make use of this all-important feature. This time around, we caught up with Luxembourg's flashdisastr, who is currently ranked #28 worldwide in online tournament play according to PocketFives.

His largest cash came in May 2011, when he won the PokerStars SCOOP $2,500 NLHE Knockout event for $113,300. He also has a victory in the Sunday Second Chance for $52,600.

Check out our interviews with "iamthedeck ftw" and "mattdb9er," Tri "SlowHabit" Nguyen, "wackyjaxon," and Alexander "RedIceRap" Gerlach.

PokerSoftware.com: What are the main benefits of using a software program with a HUD?

flashdisastr: The main benefit is that you can pick up players with extreme tendencies, like people who call way too much and people who raise way too much. This is very advantageous while multi-tabling. I would say it’s an indispensable tool for people who play more than six tables. It's just impossible to keep up with the action on every table without real-time software.

PokerSoftware.com: Roughly speaking, how many of your poker friends use a HUD?

flashdisastr: I'd say approximately 80%.

PokerSoftware.com: Which HUD statistics do you use most frequently in order to make decisions at the tables?

flashdisastr: The stats I use the most are VPIP, Pre-Flop Raise, and 3bet percentages, but there are people out there who are a lot better at exploiting stats and make super good decisions based on stats alone than I am. They are basically just good at using the information to their advantage. I'm pretty sure I could still learn a lot about how to use HUD stats in the most optimal way.

PokerSoftware.com: Can you tell us a little bit about your experiences with Holdem Manager and PokerTracker?

flashdisastr: I have been using PokerTracker since I first started playing online and have never tried Holdem Manager. I'm not going to change, though. While doing this interview, I noticed I have 18 GB of data stored in my PokerTracker database.

PokerSoftware.com: Do you feel some players undervalue or overvalue certain HUD statistics? If so, which ones?

flashdisastr: I can't think of a specific one, but I guess at the beginning, I was making mistakes by overestimating the power of the HUD statistics. I had to go broke an infinite number of times until I finally got a feel for what the HUD stats are useful for and what they are not.

The main problem is that the stats are often (at least in my case) not filtered, so they will be super biased if you played somebody a lot during the early stages of a tournament as opposed to deep in an MTT on the final table bubble. In the last scenario, this villain will probably have some insane 3bet percentage compared to the first villain, who is basically just 3betting monster hands in early stages before the antes kick in.

On the other hand, HUD stats such as Attempt to Steal seem to represent a much more accurate picture of the villain's playing style and are less biased than the 3bet percentage stats, in my opinion. I would guess that most players, if not all, have to find the advantages and disadvantages the hard way - through trial and error.

PokerSoftware.com: Are there some instances in which you believe it is best not to use a HUD when making decisions?

flashdisastr: I can't imagine a situation where it's best to have less information. That doesn't make sense, in my opinion.

There are situations where other factors are more important than the HUD: for example, the final table bubble of a huge buy-in MTT with lots of money at stake and with pretty deep stacks. In this case, you will be facing "better" villains and also a lot of ICM considerations, so I guess the current table dynamic, history, stack sizes, and pay jumps will dictate your decisions way more than some random stats.

Overall, the HUD is a tool that helps a lot in standard decisions, but it's not something that is going to make you get better at poker in itself. Poker is about using information to your advantage and not about storing raw data in an isolated environment.

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