How Important Are HUDs?

Date: 2014-01-10
Author: Jason Glatzer

While poker players are often touting the merits of how their Heads-Up Display gives an advantage at the tables, owning a HUD will not automatically turn you into a winning player.  PokerListings recently interviewed PokerTracker's Steven McLoughlin, who strongly feels many poker players overvalue HUDs.

McLoughlin pointed out that most people are winning players because they are superior players who work hard at their game.  He compared owning a HUD to owning an encyclopedia; just owning one doesn't automatically make you smarter.  While I agree with the sentiment, I feel having the proper tools at hand can help you become a better player if used correctly, just like an encyclopedia can help you become more knowledgeable about a variety of subjects if you put in the time and effort.

Personally, when using a HUD, I find it helps me make difficult decisions on how to approach a hand, but I do not let the stats always dictate my decision-making.  Factors such as game flow and the current situation may override what I feel is a profile of an opponent based off current stats.

The power in the HUD is in helping you when observing game flow is not possible, such as when mass multi-tabling or playing fast-fold poker.  I rely on my HUD in many other instances, but would almost feel naked at times without it in situations where I need help understanding and profiling my opponents.

I also feel that, at times, many poker players make assumptions based off a limited sample size, which may not actually be accurate over the long-run.  McLoughlin agrees with this sentiment and feels there are many reasons HUD stats can be misleading when profiling an opponent for a decision that needs to be made.  McLoughlin pointed out that an opponent might play differently than his stats may lead you to believe since he could be playing on one table differently than another based off his perception of how tight or loose his opponents might be.

McLoughlin also pointed out that stats can be misleading and misused.  During a dinner conversation McLoughlin had with TwoPlusTwo's Mason Malmuth, they discussed what type of range they would expect from an opponent that, in the past, 3bet pre-flop 9.6% of the time.  One might think that this would be 9.6% of the best hands, but in fact the opposite can be true.  When pulling up a player profile, they found hands that were 3bet pre-flop were actually in the top 43% of the range, potentially making a decision on whether to 4bet much different than if you thought his range was much tighter.

The PokerListings article also highlighted that the best benefit from a program like PokerTracker might be the tracking of your own game and being able to find leaks to improve upon.  The more time a player invests in their game, the more likely they are to improve.  Using a tool like PokerTracker can definitely help a player get to the next level if the software is used properly and time and effort are invested.

McLoughlin's insights should be very interesting considering they are coming from someone as involved in the poker industry as he is.  Having a HUD and tracking software can be an important tool if used properly; however, it will not automatically perform magic for you and turn you into a winning player.

If you haven't already tried PokerTracker, now is a great time to do so.  PokerTracker is generously offering one lucky player a seat in the €5,300 buy-in EPT San Remo Main Event along with €2,000 in travel in a special sweepstakes to be held on March 26.  There is no purchase necessary and since PokerTracker comes with a 30-day free trial, not only can you try their software for free, but you can also potentially walk away with a very lucrative package.

Visit PokerTracker's website for the latest from this industry-leading program.

BECOME A MEMBER of today. You can chat with us and ask questions to our poker software experts in the forums and get access to EXCLUSIVE members-only content. Sign up today!

More articles


WriteSubmit Your Comment Let us know what you think about this article!


Member Comments


_mauser_658's Comment

2014-01-16 19:01:35


Like PokerSoftware on Facebook and Get the Latest Software News Plus Weekly Prizes!

recomented-softwares Recommended Software

Tracking Analysis

SNG Tools