Poker HUDs (Heads Up Displays) can be a polarizing topic among poker players. Some players, like Jason Somerville, do just fine without them and advocate playing by feel. Others, like Nathan Williams, stress their importance and generally always use a HUD. In my case, I split my time between Nevada and Mexico and legally play poker in both locations. In Nevada, HUDs are illegal to use and the poker sites here block them. In Mexico, I can use a HUD while playing PokerStars.
When it’s available, I do decide to use a HUD because it can provide quick information while playing multiple tables. When you’re playing, say, 8 tables, that’s a lot of opponents (70+) to keep track of and make quick decisions against. A HUD can help you in these situations because it can keep track of the vital statistics you need and show them in a quick manner.
It’s easy to come up with a basic HUD setup. Knowing how many hands a player is involved in (VPIP) is an obvious need. You can even download HUD templates that other people use (successfully) and not have to worry about configuring your own. However, there is one statistic that I rarely see included in HUD setups and I think there’s a lot of benefits to it.
A poker player once said, “I love poker because it’s a great game, the money is just a convenient way to keep score”
Poker HUDs: A Vital Statistic
Read the quote above . . . so, if you’re a poker player, start keeping score! The one statistic that I rarely see used is the Money Won in a HUD. It can be extremely beneficial to understand which opponents (if any) are actually making money in the games you are playing in. Over time, you can develop a feel for who’s feeding the game and who’s actually taking money out from the game. Know who the better players are by keeping score of the game.
Another benefit of this approach is that it can help you understand who is applying their poker knowledge in the right (profitable) way. Just because a player has a tight range VPIP (<15%) doesn’t mean that they know how to play post-flop. Just because someone has a maniac VPIP (>28%) doesn’t mean that they are a net loser. In other words, including the element of Money Won, can take you beyond just looking at statistics and playing everyone by numbers to a level where you’re balancing the player statistics with that player’s actual feel for the game. Plus, you can easily mis-interpret the results of some statistics – do you really know how to play against someone with a 10% 3-bet range? But there’s no mis-interpreting Money Won – the player is either a net loser or a net winner, that’s all there is to it.
I hope that adding this statistic adds a new dynamic to your game as it has to mine.