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Plugging Leaks - The Basics (Article #2)

Plugging Leaks using Holdem Manager

Article 2: Plugging Leaks - The Basics

When looking at your game, especially early on in your poker education, it is important to ensure that your basic stats are all correct. The following article was originally written by Pokey on 2+2 for Poker Tracker but it has been adapted with his permission to work with Holdem Manager and updated with new information and range / results from a data mined database along with a number of preset filters that you'll find useful in various situations. If you are new to the game you should try to spend some time ensuring that your stats are within the ranges suggested below. There are many winning players with stats outside of the normal ranges however there are many, many more losing players with stats outside of the normal ranges so if you have any doubt then most likely you should be aiming to keep your stats consistent with other winnings players.

The original post from Pokey can be found here: Pokey's Article

In the Reports tab select the Report Name dropdown and run the report “Plugging Leaks 02 – The Basics”. Stats are broken down by Heads Up, 6 Max and Full Ring. If you want to filter for date ranges or stakes then you can do that as well. Use these results to fill out this chart:

Timeframe for sample
Level you Play e.g. 100nl
Total No of Hands
Preflop Positional Awareness
Steal % Overall
Steal from Cutoff
Steal from Button
Steal from Small Blind
Overall Check Raise

Do You Have Sufficient preflop Aggression?

What we are looking for here is your PFR% divided by VPIP% and in the report you just ran it appears as a PFR / VPIP value. This tells you how often are you raising preflop out of all the times you put in money preflop. In the original article Pokey suggested your ratio be at least 50% but higher is better. In todays 6 max games anything close to 50% makes it extremely difficult to be a profitable player.

Here is the data from the mined database showing a strong correlation that high values lead to profitability although there is a point where not calling once in a while begins to impact your results as well. What was consistent is that very few people with a ratio less than 0.60 were winning players. If you are in that bottom group you need to raise more often preflop and call less often. When there are players limping in ahead of you, raise them (or fold) when you would normally call. When a player open from late position, 3bet him instead of cold calling etc.

Note: The database used hands from 4 to 6 handed No Limit and only included players with at least 5000 hands - this resulted in a sample size of about 1800 players. Using the median bb/100 is an effective way of overcoming sample size issues related to bb/100.

Median bb/100
PFR / VPIP < 0.57 -2.76

0.57 to 0.72 2.04

0.72 to 0.79 3.50

0.79 to 0.83 3.93

0.83 + 2.95

Are you positionally aware?

Playing positionally strong poker is one of the fundamental concepts separating winners from losers. The more you play in position (being last to act on each street postflop) the more you will win playing No Limit poker. In the original article it spoke of overall VPIP and how it changed based on early position vs being on the button but the games have changed - you are much more likely to be facing a raise when on the button making this comparison more difficult. With Holdem Manager we have better ways to look at this data. Instead of looking at overall VPIP we will look at how often you are raising an unopened pot from early position and compare that to how often you are raising an unopened pot from the button. This is where the Preflop Positional Awareness stat comes in and it is essentially a ratio of your PFR on the button vs PFT from early position when unopened.

Here is the data from the mined database showing once again a strong correlation that high values lead to profitability although being too high is a negative. Based on this you want to be between 2 and about 3.5. Raising this number is quite easy - simply tighten your range in early position and open many more hands on the button.

Median bb/100
Positional < 1.77 -0.62
Awareness 1.77 to 2.18 2.55

2.18 to 2.57 3.48

2.57 to 3.14 3.36

3.14+ 2.19

How’s my Stealing?

A steal is a raise from the cutoff, button or small blind in an unopened hand preflop. The goal here is generally to take the blinds although often a nice side effect is playing a hand in position which is also a good thing. The Pokey article suggested a minimum of 20% and closer to 30% being ideal for most people. This report also breaks it down by position and as you might expect this number should increase as you get closer to the big blind.

If you need any insentive to steal more often here it is.

Median bb/100
Steal % < 22.1 -1.19

22.1 to 26.6 1.99

26.6 to 29.9 2.89

29.9 to 33.5 3.25

33.5+ 3.95

We are going to go back and do some more analysis on steals in part 2 of this article but first we'll look at the last stat in this report which is Check Raise %

Are you Check Raising enough?

In the original Pokey article he used an overall Check Raise number that Poker Tracker was limited to - it was a representation of Check Raises / Total Actions which isn't terribly useful but it was all that was available. What we really want is Check Raise % based on Total Check Raises / Total Times Player could Check Raise.

This stat is not so clear cut besides making sure you are doing it above 4-5% of the time. Far more important with check raising is under what situations you are doing the check raise and against what type of opponent.

Median bb/100
Check < 4.7 1.15
Raise % 4.7 to 6.3 3.06

6.3 to 8.1 2.37

8.1 to 10.4 3.27

10.4+ 2.71

Now we will continue to go through the Pokey article to highlight some other areas where you may have leaks.

Stealing Results

Choose the Overall Report in Holdem Manager and remove every stat except for bb/100 and then click on the "+" and add the Steal Success stat which will show you how often you take down the pot preflop with your steal. Now, click on the Filter button and then choose "Load" and load up the "Steal Attempt Made" filter.

You should see that you are exceptionally profitable when stealing - if not then you probably have some major postflop leaks in steal situations. If you want to see these same stats based on hole card simply choose the "By Holecard" report and select bb/100 and keep the filter the same.

Defending the Blinds

Again, using the Overall Report click on Filter - Load and choose the "Defend the Blinds" filter. Now you will see how you perform when defending either blind against a steal attempt. If you have a value here of less than -75.0 then you would have been better off folding. If you are aggrresively 3betting steal attempts then you could very well see a positive number here and that's what you should be aiming for.

Heads up on Flop

This time load the "Heads up on Flop" filter and again look at your winrate. This shows you have you have done when the flop is 2 handed. If everything looks ok then try the "Heads up on Flop No PFR" filter and again look at the results. Is your bb/100 positive using this filter? If not it could be an indicator that you have trouble postflop when you are not the preflop aggressor especially without padding in the pot.

Multiway Pots

Now load the "Multiway Flop" filter and look at the results. If things look ok here then load the "Multiway Flop No PFR" filter and check your results. This shows how you have done on hands that were multi way on the flop and you did not raise preflop. If this number is still positive then you are choosing good times to play / limp multiway pots and you are playing them well postflop. If this number is negative then you should go over your big hands and try to tweak your game as you may have some leaks here.

Pocket Pairs

Now load the "Pocket Pairs" filter and choose the "Holecards" report. Make sure bb/100 is one of the stats in the report so you can see your results and you need to also include VPIP, PFR and 3Bet%. Your VPIP for all of these hands should be extremely high and all of them could very well be above 90%. If you have any pocket pairs below 85% for VPIP you are probably losing out on a lot of money since hitting a set is a well concealed big money play. Your PFR should also be very high for all pocket pairs. In Unopened or Limped pots you should be frequently raising and against preflop raisers 3-betting with pocket pairs is often a good strategy. Over a reasonable sample size, all of your pocket pair total winnings should be positive and in most cases very significantly so. If you have any negative numbers, especially between 88 and AA, it may indicate poor play. Look over individual hands where you lost lots of money and see if you played too timidly early on in the hand or if you went too far into the hand unimproved when facing resistance. Do the same for the hands where you won.

Suited Connectors

Now load the "Suited Connectors below KQs" filter and choose the "Holecards" report again. Everyone seems to play suited connectors differently - some people play them regiously while other players are much less likely to play them therefore it is hard to suggest ideal PFR and VPIP values. What is more important is that you recognize how they are working for you and adjust accordingly. If your bb/100 is not positive then you are probably not playing them well. Remember, these hands play well in multiway pots or as a steal / 3bet. Now click on Filter - Edit and go into the More Filters and choose Did Cold Call = True and look at your results again. For most people this will be extremely unprofitable and ideally you will not have many hands returned in this filter. If you do you really need to evaluate how you play suited connectors and replay the hands identifying why you though calling was better than raising or folding in each of these spots. Some good reasons are "The Raise was small", "Villain is passive postflop", "I had position on the villain", "we were both deep stacked" etc. Now, this doesn't mean that you should never cold call with suited connectors but rather it should never be your automatic play.

Unsuited Connectors

Now load the "Unsuited Connectors below KQo" filter and choose the "Holecards" report again. Your VPIP for these hands should be quite a bit lower than the equivalant suited hands and you will probably notice that for the most part these are money losing hands. Now do the same thing as you did before selecting "Did Cold Call = True". All of the reasons listed above apply and the reasons against doing so are much stronger than with suited connectors. Evaluate the unsuited connectors you cold called with to try and determine how much of a leak this is in your game.

The last 2 sections in Pokey's post have already been covered, Post Flop Aggression and its importance in Article 1 and Check Raising ealier in this article.

After going through this second article I hope you have found and identified some new leaks and areas of improvement and have a better idea of the type of filtering that Holdem Manager can do to expose these stats. We are still just scratching the surface of what can be done with Holdem Manager and article 3 will start to show you what I mean by that.

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