I was going to do a post about basic poker math for my 500th post but I’m lazy/busy and never got around to it. So instead you get to listen to me waffling on about stats again .
This post is designed to help you exploit other players and to get you thinking about your own style of play and what you might need to change.
W$WSF is something that’s been on my mind a lot recently and I’m finding more and more uses for it. It stands for “won $ when saw flop” and is calculated as the amount of times you win the pot (by showdown or otherwise) when you see a flop, divided by the number of times you see a flop.
It’s a measure of how aggressive a player is postflop. It will usually take a lot of hands to become accurate but less hands for looser players.
W$WSF comes in 3 main categories:
40% - 45%
I’m also going to use PokerEV Graphs as visual aids. First I’m going to give you a quick explanation of what they are and how to interpret them. PokerEV takes hands from your database, analyzes them and gives you a pretty, graphical representation of your results. We’re interested in the “Game Analysis Graphs” tab, where it shows 3 lines; red, blue and green.
The red and blue lines are based on hands that go to showdown. Red is your EV, what you were expected to make in those hands, the blue line is what you actually made in those hands.
They should be fairly close but will deviate from time to time.
The green line is what you made over all your hands; it's the same line you'd see in poker grapher.
You have to look at the red/blue vs. the green.
If the green is far below your red/blue lines it's a sign that you're not aggressive enough. You're making money from big hands which go to showdown but losing a lot in pots which don't go to showdown, you're either folding too much or not picking up enough pots which nobody wants.
A lot of the very aggressive winning players at higher stakes have green lines far above their red/blue lines and sometimes their red/blue lines are negative. They pick up loads of pots with aggression but often have weaker hands when they do get to showdown.
If your green line tracks your red/blue lines then it shows that you're about breaking even in pots which don't go to showdown.
Now let's profile some opponents.
Typically playing tight preflop 17/12/3 type of opponent, but be careful because some looser opponents or players with TAG stats play weak-tight postflop and can be classified as nits.
These players will usually have a W$WSF below 40%. They give up on hands way too easily. Double barrel these guys.
They don't value bet thin much and are never double barreling air. Give up if they get aggressive.
This is the famous FGators graph, note how the green line is way, way below the red/blue lines. FGators is the perfect example of a weak tight nit. Regs loved to play against him because he was so easy to read and push off hands.
Very loose, passive preflop. They have stats like 53/8/1.
They'll typically have a W$WSF in the 40-45 range. A WtSD in the 30s and a W$SD below 50%.
Their W$WSF is high because they're getting into a lot of unraised pots where everybody has a weak hand. They'll often limp in and min bet the flop when checked to and pick it up. They also go to showdown a lot so are never ever folding a winning hand (unlike the nits). You might mistakenly think that they are aggressive postflop because of their high W$WSF, don't be fooled.
You should be value betting very light against these guys.
I'll write a bit about these guys because players so often misplay against them.
The maniac is loose, aggressive preflop. They have stats like 72/28/3.
Expect them to have very high W$WSF, above 45% and often greater than 50%. They'll typically have a WtSD in the low 20s and a W$SD below 50%. Take a look at their bet river% as well, it will usually be very high. Due to their high PFR they usually force out weaker hands preflop; for them to be winning so many pots postflop shows a far, far higher level of aggression then the calling stations.
Maniacs bluff constantly and love to call cbets planning to bet the river if the turn checks through. Inducing raises against these guys is very easy. Be prepared to call down light and DON'T BUILD A POT IF YOU PLAN ON FOLDING. I'm going to repeat this because it is critical. STOP BUILDING A BIG POT AND THEN FOLDING. These players thrive off it. They bluff non stop and take down pot after pot when their opponents show weakness. Don't float them, they won't slow down. Don't call with marginal hands hoping to get to showdown; plan on calling all the way or get out early.
Double barreling these guys in certain spots is o.k. because they're often calling light "planning" to take it away later (not sure if they're consciously planning or not though). But sometimes they will float 2 streets so be careful and pick your spots wisely.
Expect high variance and huge edges against these guys. Bet 2 streets with middle pair and check-call their overbet shove on the river, whatever, it's all good. But be careful trying to call down with A high expecting a bluff. These guys don't have polarized ranges. They'll be "valuebluffing" the river with middle or bottom pair. A good TAG/LAG will nearly always check down their marginal made hands (like an underpair or middle pair) and use them as bluff catchers because they'll never fold out better and never be called by worse (against good opponents) if they bet. Maniacs don't understand this and will bet with anything so you can't assume they have a monster or air like other opponents. If you know they’re capable of folding you could raise their river bets as a bluff sometimes since they’ll often be betting the river with air/marginal hands.
Expect a solid TAG or LAG, somewhere between 17/13 and 30/20, to have a W$WSF between 40% and 45%. These players are aggressive, they value bet thin, they call down light when they have to, and they have a few tricks up their sleeve. They hand read well.
It varies a good bit but expect a WtSD anywhere between 22% and 30% with a W$SD somewhere between 48% and 55%.
Expect these players to have fairly polarized hand ranges, when they raise it's nearly always a big hand or air. Or a draw if the board is wet. They'll usually exercise pot control with their marginal made hands or turn them into bluff catchers.
You'll rarely find these players at micro stakes but every now and then you will. They're more common at small stakes.
In PokerEV expect their green lines to track their red/blue lines and for them to be positive.
If you look at stats for any of the best higher stakes players (aba, jman, cts, etc., etc.) you'll see very high W$WSF, typically in the high 40s/low 50s. These players are extremely aggressive and have excellent hand reading skills. However, they'll often have W$SD in the low 40s, they make their money by forcing out their opponents and are often forced to call down light because their style gets played back at so much. This results in having weaker hands at showdown and losing money, or breaking even, in all-in situations but picking up more then enough money in other spots.
They value bet/raise thinner and won't have their ranges as polarized.
Don't worry about running into these players until you're past small stakes. A common misconception is that this style of play wouldn't work at micro stakes because the opponents won't fold often enough. This is completely untrue. The problem is that most beginners don't have the necessary poker knowledge to pull it off and playing this way would just emphasize their leaks. Good TAG/LAGs playing this way would move up very, very quickly.
This is a PokerEV graph for Fabian from 100nl to 1000nl, before he became a CardRunners instructor. These were his stats over that time.
Notice the 48% W$WSF. I highly recommend watching his CR videos if you’re a member.
Be aware that there's no solid black line separating all these categories. Some players will fall in the grey area and have different tendencies that make them unique. This is why paying attention, note taking and using other stats is so important.
You should always be aiming to get into the excellent TAG/LAG category, there’s no magic formula for this (trust me I looked), it takes a lot of study, play and experience to get to that level.
This is another great thread which should explain more of the differences in playing styles.