Tracking Poker Stats
Poker tracking software has taken online poker to a whole new level. The old school approach of being able to outplay your opponents simply through skillful playing is being pummeled by tight play that is assisted with precise stat calculations. Tracking poker software has enabled players to have an instant screenshot view of their opponent's tendencies. This used to be referred to as tells, which is basically hints that indicate what a player is holding or the reasoning behind their decision.
To be successful consistently, most players will argue that you have to use some form of stat tracking software in the online poker world. However, being able to read opponents and take more of the old school approach is still heavily required for live play.
Most software out there nowadays offers a generous amount of statistical data but each one may not specifically offer all of the stats mentioned here. Standard software will tell players how often an opponent puts money into the pot voluntarily, meaning they called the blinds or a bet to see the flop. This is also offered within most poker sites software and is referenced as the percentage of players to the flop. This helps during table selection but tracking software helps keep tabs on each opponent during the game individually versus collectively.
Trackable stats also include pre-flop raise percentage, aggression frequency, showdown percentage, aggression factor, check/raise percentage, continuation bet stats and most recently; 3 bet percentages. Pre-flop raise percentage helps players determine playing style. A player with a high percentage here is more than likely a loose/aggressive player that can be taken by weakening hand selection and using position to re-raise when appropriate. Aggression statistics are measured by the tendencies of opponents to simply call, check or raise. Checks and calls are not considered aggressive.
Aggressive percentages show how many times a player was in the hand and made a passive move in comparison to how many times they raised or re-raised (making an aggressive move). This can be very helpful in that a player who has low aggressive stats is much more likely to be holding the best hand when they become extremely aggressive. If they have high aggressive stats, you can use position and careful betting to exploit their aggressiveness.
Check/raise percentages tells exactly that; how many times a person checks, has an opponent bet and then raises. If someone check/raises all the time, they are most likely holding weak cards. If this percentage is low, you should watch out. Continuation bet statistics can help tremendously in determining whether an opponent has a habit of betting pre-flop and firing continuation bets to act like they have the nuts when they really don't.
3 bet percentages is something different that is offered through various stat tracking software providers. 3 bet is referring to the re-raise pre-flop. The big blind is the first bet and the raise is the second bet. The re-raise is the third bet. 3 bet percentages show how many times an opponent bets the 3 bet and how many times an opponent folds to a 3 bet. The latter is probably the most important. If a player folds consistently to 3 bets (let's say 90% of the time), you can wait for the 10% that they come over the top when you have the nuts to wipe them clean. Your opponent will think that you are trying to bet them to death and possibly make a tilt move with a weak hand for the given situation due to frustration and a misread.