What's in Your HUD with "iamthedeck ftw" and "mattdb9er"

Date: 2011-12-01
Author: David Huber

Recently, PokerSoftware has featured a number of interviews with online poker players regarding how they use their Heads-Up Display (HUD) in order to make better decisions at the virtual tables. Online poker pros Tri "SlowHabit" Nguyen, "wackyJaxon," and Alexander "RedIceRap" Gerlach have all provided detailed information on what they believe is the best way to make use of detailed statistics on opponents' tendencies.

This time, we caught up with "mattdb9er" and "iamthedeck ftw," who have a combined career cash total of nearly $500,000 from online poker tournaments. On July 29th, "iamthedeck ftw" took first place in the PokerStars $100,000 Guaranteed Big $55 for $18,495 just a few months after he finished as the runner-up in the Full Tilt $80,000 Guaranteed Knockout for over $16,100.

His colleague "mattdb9er" final tabled the PokerStars $55 buy-in Sunday Special in February for $12,891 and is currently ranked #886 in the world at online tournament play according to PocketFives.

Both players said they find HUDs helpful at times. "Using a HUD certainly helps to get a general idea about someone's play. Tournament poker is largely based around pre-flop play. HUDs track several pre-flop stats, which can be valuable when facing a bet from an unknown player," said Canada's “iamthedeck ftw.”

Although “mattdb9er” has less experience using real-time poker software, he agreed, telling PokerSoftware, "The one thing I did find helpful was being able to glance at the basics that I had on display like VPIP and 3bet%. [For example], if I had a bunch of tables up, it would help to look up and see a guy running 40/3 and pretty much know he's the limp station type of player and I can try to exploit him."

“mattdb9er” went on to add that he mostly prefers playing online poker without the HUD active: "Overall, I prefer not to use one. I'm not a huge volume guy to begin with, but I would rely on numbers too often and feel I make better decisions using more feel in spots and not letting those numbers have too much of a influence." However, he conceded that more than half of the online poker players he routinely associates with use some form of HUD, although he feels the need is much less for someone who does not put in a large amount of online volume.

Online poker pro "iamthedeck ftw" also feels there are certain circumstances that arise in which not relying on a HUD could be to a person's advantage. "Perhaps at a final table where ICM is a big factor as well as on money bubbles for the same reason. People play differently in these stages and you must be able to interpret one's play behind their early tournament play statistics," he replied. He also offered, "HUDs can be very valuable for multi-tablers. For a player only playing a couple of tables, I think it may be better to watch hand for hand and take notes on a significant play."

The common sentiment between the two online poker pros we interviewed is that a HUD may not be as necessary for a casual player who only competes at one or two tables at a time. Critical moments in a tournament could also call for a player to rely more heavily on reads and gut instinct instead of statistics. However, high-volume poker players would almost certainly benefit from constant use of HUD stats.

PokerSoftware would like to extend a special thanks to online poker pros "iamthedeck ftw" and "mattdb9er," who were kind enough to take the time to answer our questions regarding HUD use. If you are interested in downloading a program that features a HUD, we recommend both PokerTracker and Holdem Manager.

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