What's in Your HUD with Kevin Thurman (WizardOfAhhs)

Date: 2013-04-16
Author: Jason Glatzer

We are excited to be interviewing a member of PokerStars Team Online, Kevin “WizardOfAhhs” Thurman, to discuss his use and thoughts about poker software. Thurman became a PokerStars Team Online Pro after he broke a record by earning 3 million VIP Points in a calendar year via playing 5 million hands.

PokerSoftware: What third-party poker software do you currently use?

Kevin Thurman: Holdem Manager 2, which is the database software I use to store my hand histories. These are converted into statistics I can study after my sessions or view real-time while playing with my HM2 HUD that is displayed on each table. I also use NoteCaddy, which is an add-on for Holdem Manager 2 that helps you create custom statistics for your HUD.

I use Tilt Breaker too. I don't tilt much these days, so I don't need this software for that purpose. But, there is a feature that logs me out of PokerStars after 10:00pm every day and doesn't allow me to play again until 6:00am. In the past, I would have hated this, but today it helps me maintain a healthier schedule. In the past, I would have stayed up all night, but now I use it as training wheels to get on a better sleep schedule.

I have used Table Ninja in the past, but no longer need it due to PokerStars' client having many of the features built in that I was previously using Table Ninja for, like hotkeys.

PokerSoftware: How do these various software packages assist you with multi-tabling?

Kevin Thurman: Without database and HUD software like Holdem Manager 2, there is no way I could multi-table dozens of tables efficiently. I wouldn't be able to read my opponents nearly as well. It would be very hard to keep track of that many players at once while playing. Also, my game improves every month due to all of the studying I do away from the tables, and 99% of my studying involves combing through my database and analyzing my statistics as well as the stats of my opponents.

Notecaddy is just icing on the cake. It's the next level for your HUD, which helps develop your reads even further while multi-tabling. TiltBreaker doesn't necessarily help me when multi-tabling, but it has the ability to help people with tilt problems, allowing them to use different settings in order to monitor their win/loss rate when multi-tabling and keeping things from getting out of control. Finally, PokerStars hotkeys are great for making quick actions, which is essential when mass-tabling.

PokerSoftware: Can you share your secrets about how your HUD is configured?

Kevin Thurman: Very, very carefully. Ha! I've put a lot of work into making a HUD that contains as much information that can be possibly utilized while mass multi-tabling. I have roughly 70 stats displayed directly on each person, not buried in a popup. I play mostly six-max tables, so there are roughly 350 stats displayed on each one of my tables at a time.

The stats are divided up in a logical order of approximately 15 rows by six columns. The first three rows are for general statistics like name, total hands, and VPIP. The next eight rows are for pre-flop stats such as raise by position, fold to 3bet by position, and 3bet by position. The final four rows are for post-flop stats such as continuation bet percentage by street, fold to c-bet by street, flop check/raise, and donk bet.

As I mentioned earlier, I use NoteCaddy-driven popups that contain hundreds more pre-flop and post-flop stats that I can use to get even more specific information on my opponents if necessary, which is especially useful in a heads-up blind battle.

PokerSoftware: How important is your HUD to your game?

Kevin Thurman: If you've read this far, then you're either thinking, "Man, this guy is way too passionate about poker statistics" or, "This HUD is pretty important to his success." You wouldn't be wrong thinking either! I'm not sure which came first in this instance, but I do like my job. I've played millions of hands in my lifetime and there is absolutely no way I could have made that happen without the use of a HUD.

It would have been far too difficult for me to keep track of that many players at once for extended periods of time without it. And so many instances when I've been on the fence about making a call or fold in a particular hand, my HUD has provided me with the information needed to sway me toward the correct decision.

PokerSoftware:  Have you ever misused your HUD?

Kevin Thurman:  I've misused my HUD sometimes when making a rushed decision when multi-tabling and forgetting to check the number of hands I have on my opponent first. Sample size is so important, and without a decent sample size on your opponent, your HUD statistics are essentially worthless.

So what is a decent sample size? Well, that depends. If we're talking general VPIP, then a few hundred hands will give you a pretty a good idea. But, a few hundred hands isn't a drop in the bucket for a stat like "Fold to 3bet in the Cutoff when facing a 3bet from the SB," to which you'd need thousands of hands on your opponent for an accurate sample.

PokerSoftware: How do you feel about the current pricing of poker software? Do you prefer a monthly subscription model or a one-time payment?

Kevin Thurman: Pricing of software on the market has never bothered me. I've always thought it was under-priced actually. I'd pay way more for some of it, especially my database/HUD software. But, thank goodness there is competition in the marketplace from others or I might be forced to pay "way more."

Software can help any professional's game tremendously and I definitely suggest investing if you're on the fence. Some of it can be a bit overwhelming at first, especially if you're new to poker software in general, but it's worth the time if you want to succeed.

I prefer a one-time payment any day to a subscription, especially if it comes with lifetime customer service.

PokerSoftware: Have you tried PokerStars' Mobile poker client?

Kevin Thurman: I have tried mobile poker and find it quite convenient and fun, but I'd never play any serious poker on it that would impact my win-rate. I think mobile poker is fantastic for Zoom/Rush tournaments where I couldn't make much use of a HUD or third-party program anyway, and the action is fast enough that one table can actually keep my attention.

You can play with WizardOfAhhs by visiting PokerStars.

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