Poker Software Revealed with John Jacobs (Jonnywatford)

Date: 2015-09-09
Author: Jason Glatzer

We sat down with English poker player John "Jonnywatford" Jacobs to discuss how he moved from being a recreational player to a professional overnight, and to get his views on poker software.  Here is what he had to say.
PokerSoftware: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your poker life.

Jonnywatford: I've been playing for around eight years and was pretty much floundering in the micros and low stakes. I was doing okay there until I joined Pocarr just over a year ago. It coincided with me graduating from university and I've got better and better ever since, moving up to low/mid-stakes. I am hoping to be beating the mid-stakes games by the time SCOOP rolls around next year.

PokerSoftware: Do you play poker for a living right now?

Jonnywatford: I had a job over Christmas since I was still playing fairly low stakes, but I got fired from that one morning in January, came home, fired up a session, had my biggest score to date, shipping the Big $22. I haven't looked back!

PokerSoftware: We understand you won a PokerFest Main Event Live ticket.  Can you tell us how that tournament went and how you felt after securing a win?

Jonnywatford: I've not played on Party for ages, but a few friends play a lot on there now. So, I saw the promo, put some money on there, and gave it a shot. I was lucky enough to win one of the tickets and used it to play the second chance tournament at Dusk Till Dawn since I was unable to attend the target event.  It was a fun event. I made Day 2 with a slightly above average stack, but couldn't get anything going and ended up busting just short of the money.

PokerSoftware: What poker software do you use while playing or while studying?

Jonnywatford: While playing, I just use PT4 and when studying, I use Flopzilla and HRC. My next investment will be CardRunners EV, which looks ridiculously complicated, but I'm sure is a really cool tool once you get used to it.

PokerSoftware: How important is a HUD to your game?

Jonnywatford: I'm sure I could still be a winning player without it; it would just mean I'd probably have to cut my table count in half and make a lot more notes than I do.

PokerSoftware: What are the most important stats in your HUD and why?

Jonnywatford: I don't think really any one stat is more important than another. They all work together to build a picture of your opponents and a lot of the time one stat would be useless without another stat to help build a clearer picture.

For example, you can try to exploit a player who opens too much from the button but if they don't fold to c-bets or 3-bets. You need to try and come up with a different approach; maybe they c-bet too much, so instead of 3-betting them you can flat and do something different on the flop, float them, or check-raise them.

PokerSoftware: Do you often use the pop-ups in PokerTracker 4?
Jonnywatford: Yes. I rebuilt my HUD at the beginning of the month and created custom pop-ups for almost all my stats. For example, under PFR, I have raise first numbers for all positions. Under Fold to 3-bet, I have information for all of the different positions and then how often they fold in position, out of position, and fold to 3-bet shoves. Under c-bet pop-ups, I have how often they c-bet 3-bet pots, non-3-bet pots, heads-up pots, and flop aggressions such as donking flop or check-raising the flop.  As you can imagine, it's quite in depth.
A few friends from Pocarr and I worked together on some ideas, shared some pop-ups that we'd made, and then had a basic starting point. I think we've all gone away and edited them individually for the kinds of things we need. I was lucky that one of the guys had made some custom stats that he shared with us. There are still a few I want to make myself, but I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

PokerSoftware: Can you share with us how you are using HRC and Flopzilla?

Jonnywatford: Flopzilla I use to figure out things like peeling from the big blind. For example, I'll see how often a particular hand will flop enough equity against a particular opening range to make it a flat or 3-bet or fold and then for calling ranges against shoves in a basic sense.

HRC is used also for calling ranges and shoving ranges, but it is more powerful than Flopzilla since it can do much more advanced hands. I think anyone who isn't running HRC simulations on a regular basis these days is going to fall behind the field.

PokerSoftware: What do you expect to get out of CardRunners EV if you start using it?

Jonnywatford: From what I've seen, it will help me figure out what will be the most profitable line to take in certain situations. So, depending on how you think a villain will react to a particular move, it will help me to figure out what will be the highest EV line.

Of course, with all these programs, there is some amount of trial and error involved. I might think that calling a lot of 3-bets and attacking c-bets versus players who 3-bet wide will be really profitable, but if I calculate their range wrong or they respond to my move in a different way, I could be burning money.

I guess it will be a good way of assessing what the best lines will be, but it's really stuff you have to try out in-game and have a decent sample on to know if the lines that CREV suggests are best will actually be best.

PokerSoftware: If you had one piece of advice about poker software to someone who is looking to take their game to the next level, what would it be?

Jonnywatford: Use the software to the best of its ability. For example, most players now have a HUD, but I think many people use it without really knowing how much they can get out of it. If you're just using a basic HUD with the standard pop-ups, sure, that is better than no HUD at all.

But, if you use all the extra things that this software can do, such as running reports to spot your leaks, using the hand history replayer to go over hands, and building a good HUD with relevant stats and useful pop-ups, you'll improve a lot more and you'll get your money's worth. So, take time to learn as much about the software as you can rather than just using the basic features.

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