POKER TIPS & STRATEGY

The Easy Way to Learn Poker HUD Exploits – Target the Extremes

By Sky Matsuhashi
February 10, 2024

When learning to use a poker HUD to make reads and exploits against players, I recommend looking for extreme statistics. This means extremely high percentages (close to 100%) or extremely low percentages (close to 0%). Utilizing poker HUD exploits is easiest when targeting players who do something almost every time, or almost never at all.

Smart HUD for PokerTracker

The Smart HUD for PokerTracker 4 gives useful information about Villain 3’s tendencies.

In the Smart HUD readout above, we can see five extreme tendencies for Villain 3 (a loose-passive fish):

  1. Raises then Folds versus 3bets 0% (0 out of 3 opportunities).
  2. 4bets 0% (0 out of 3).
  3. 3bets 1% (1 out of 131).
  4. Cbets the Turn 100% (4 out of 4).
  5. Folds versus Flop Cbet 26% (5 out of 19), on the turn only 29% (2 out of 7).

How would you exploit this player’s extreme tendencies? In what situations would you put yourself in to either gain more value or steal more pots? Answer this for yourself before you read my answers in the paragraphs below.

1 & 2: Because he doesn’t fold to 3bets, I would only 3bet for value with AKs and JJ+. “If he ain’t folding, we ain’t bluffing” is perfectly applicable to this player. Because he doesn’t fold nor 4bet, I expect him to call and we would see a flop. And given that he Raises First In at only 8% (another extremely low percentage) I expect his 3bet calling range to be full of the best Broadway hands and medium to high pocket pairs. Knowing this, I can more easily gauge how well the board helps him and use that to my exploiting advantage. And, if he 4bets me, it’s likely just AA, so I have an easy fold.

3: His 3bet at just 1% is extremely low (at just 1 out of 131 opportunities), so he probably only does it with AA and KK. It’s an easy fold versus any large 3bet. But players like this often make sizing mistakes. If I open to 3bb and he min-3bets to 5bb, I can call (with good implied odds) with hands that can crack big pocket pairs like suited connectors, small-medium pocket pairs and suited Aces.

4: He’s barreled the turn 4 out of 4 times so far, so we can expect him to do it again. I’ll keep this in mind before calling any flop cbets. If I would hate facing the turn barrel for any reason, I’m better off folding on the flop or bluff raising instead of calling.

5: He hates folding versus cbets on flops and turns, so I’m mostly cbetting for value and using a larger size. If I’m bluffing, I need to plan on 3 streets as he’s more honest on rivers where he’s folded 76% (19 out of 25 times). So, I might want to bluff flop and turn for a smaller size, say 33% pot to keep the pot size under control, then make a 50% pot river bluff.

Poker HUD Exploits: Is That Reliable?

Some of you might be thinking, “Sky, out of just 3 or 4 opportunities, we can’t rely on many of these tendencies just yet.”

We’re not “relying” on these numbers, we’re using them to make reads on tendencies which help us make exploitative plays. By looking for extreme percentages, it’s more likely this is a reliable player tendency, or habit, we can exploit.

Plus, we don’t have the luxury of playing hundreds or thousands of hands to make a “more reliable” read. We’re playing this hand right now against this player with these tendencies. We don’t know if we’ll ever play against him in the future and there’s no time like the present, so let’s go for exploitative glory right now!

Poker HUD Exploits: The Other Extreme

Each statistical extreme, high or low, can be exploited. Let’s imagine instead, Villain 3 has these opposite extreme statistics/tendencies:

  1. Raises then Folds versus 3bets 100% (3 out of 3 opportunities).
  2. 3bets 19% (5 out of 26).
  3. Cbets the Turn 0% (0 out of 3).
  4. Folds versus Flop Cbet 74% (14 out of 19) and turn 80% (4 out of 5).

Now, how would you exploit these opposite extremes? Answer for yourself before you read my answers below.

1: I’m happily 3bet bluffing this player until he decides to fight back. When you find somebody who folds a lot, you want to exploit this by stealing whenever profitable. However, they might pick up on your exploit if you do it too much. So, 3bet bluff a player like this with good hands and in good position, but maybe not just willy-nilly with 92o or J4.

2: Before I open raise, if this player is still to act, I’ll expect a 3bet bluff, especially if his current position is where he seems to like 3betting. You can get a good idea of this in a popup that details 3bet by position. If I expect a 3bet bluff, I have a few options:

  1. I can fold to avoid the 3bet.
  2. I can open-raise larger to try and discourage his 3bet.
  3. I can narrow my range and only open with hands that I’m willing to defend. I’ll call his 3bet with a post-flop plan, or bluff or value 4bet accordingly.

3: Because he’s a turn honest cbettor, I can call most of his flop cbets and then bet as soon as he checks the turn. And if he happens to cbet the turn, and I have the nuts or near nuts, it’s a great opportunity to raise for value.

4: We love players like this who are fit or fold on the flop and on the turn. We can bluff most of our hands on the flop and we can barrel bluff as well. And if he happens to raise us, we know he has the goods, and we can easily exit the hand.

Poker HUD Exploits: Take Action

Over your next three play sessions, look for extreme statistics and figure out ways to exploit them. The goal is to get comfortable with exploiting extremes. Eventually, you’ll start experimenting with non-extreme exploits, like cbet bluffing when they fold just 55%, or bluff raising cbets when they cbet just 60% of the time.

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Sky Matsuhashi poker author
Written By.

Sky Matsuhashi

Sky Matsuhashi is the creator of the Smart Poker Study Podcast. He has authored 4 poker books including ‘How to Study Poker Volumes 1 & 2’, ‘Preflop Online Poker’ and ‘Post-flop Online Poker’. As a poker coach, Sky is dedicated to helping his students play more effectively, earn more money and be 1% better every […]

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