Should I use a Poker HUD in 2021?

A good portion of online poker players use a HUD when playing. If you are an online player that does not use a HUD, you may have asked yourself if you should be using one or not. We hope to answer that question for you today in this article. You will learn more about what a HUD is, what stats are shown on a HUD, the advantages/disadvantages to using a HUD, and whether you should be using a HUD for online poker in 2020. Let us begin!

What is a Poker HUD?

A Poker HUD (heads up display) is a program that runs on your computer and collects the data from played poker hands and displays statistics about your opponents and how they played previous hands. The information is displayed on the table next to each player in little moveable panels.  They are widely used by players of all skill levels in various formats of online poker.

What Stats Are Shown on a Poker HUD?

There are a wide variety of stats that are shown on a poker HUD.  A very basic HUD may only include a few stats such as how often a player raises preflop, how often they 3bet preflop, and how often the c-bet the flop.  A more complex HUD may include a wide variety of stats for all streets and include stats such as how often a player bets the turn vs a missed c-bet and how often they check raised the river.

Here are some of the most common stats you will come across on a poker HUD:

PFR (Preflop Raise) – How often a player raises preflop given the opportunity to do so, this includes all preflop raises such as 3 and 4bets.

VPIP (Voluntary Put $ In Pot) – How often a player puts money in the pot preflop given the opportunity to do so.

RFI (Raise First In) – How often a open raises preflop as the first player in the pot.

ATS (Attempt to steal) – How often a player attempts to steal which is when they open the pot from late position. A lot of times you will see this stat for the CO, BTN, and SB.

3B (3-bet) – How often the player 3-bets preflop given the opportunity to do so.

F3B (Fold to 3-bet) – How often the player folded vs a 3bet given the opportunity to do so.

FCB (Flop continuation-bet) – How often the player c-bets the flop after raising preflop.

Fold vs FCB (Fold vs flop continuation bet) – How often the player folds to a flop c-bet.

How Does a Poker HUD Work?

A HUD works by having its software run in the background on your computer while you play online poker.  It has access to your saved hands on your computer and extracts the data from the hand histories for each of your opponent storing it in a database.  It then displays the stats on the table next to your opponents in the form of percentages.  Once a hand has been played and the hand history has been saved to your computer, the program takes the new information and updates the stats on the HUD.

Popular Poker HUD Software

The most popular HUD programs are Poker Tracker and Holdem Manager. They have both been around for quite some time and are thought of to be the industry standard for Poker HUDs. There are also some newer popular HUDs out including Poker Copilot, Drive HUD, and Jivaro.

What are the Advantages to Using a Poker HUD?

When used correctly, a HUD can be a big help to you at the table. Here are some of the biggest advantages to playing with a HUD.

Helps You Play More Tables

By having stats on all your opponents, you can play more tables because you are not forced to pay attention to every single action that takes place. If you are playing more than one or two tables, there is too much information to process on each table. By having a HUD, you can focus on making the important decisions while keeping track on what is happening at the other tables.

Get Better Picture of Opponents Playing Style

A well setup HUD will have a wide range or both preflop and post flop stats that helps you get a better understanding of how your opponents plays and how you can exploit that player. If a player c-bets the flop 80% of the time over a large sample size, you know that player c-bets too much and can make the right adjustments to exploit them like check raising with weaker hands.

Identify and Exploit Weaker Players

A HUD will help you spot weaker players more quickly by showing you stats that only weaker players have. One example is a huge gap between the VPIP and PFR stats. If you see a player with 50 VPIP and 4 PFR you can safely assume that player to be weak.

Off Table Work / Self Analysis

One of the most underutilized functions of a HUD/tracking program is the ability to track all your hands and do off table work / self-analysis. Tracking programs like Poker Tracker and Holdem Manger are very advanced these days with many great tools to help you analyze your game to find and plug any leaks. You can filter hands by stack size, position, preflop action, and many other variables. You can also analyze your opponent’s hands to get a better idea of how they play in certain spots.

What are the Disadvantages to Using a HUD?

While there are certainly many advantages to using a HUD, there are certainly some disadvantages, especially for those players that are not super experienced using a HUD.

Misinterpret HUD Stats and Make the Wrong Decision

If you are not an experienced poker player and poker HUD user, it is easy to misinterpret the information shown to you and make an incorrect decision. One common mistake players make is relying too much on the HUD without having a large enough sample size. A lot of the stats are useless without having a large sample size.

Only Make Decision Based on HUD

While a HUD is a great tool to have and use, you must not rely on it too much and only make your decisions based on HUD stats. You still must use your hand reading skills as well as taking in any other available information to come to the best decision.

Too Many Stats, Information Overload

Information overload is a real thing that happens when you have too much information to process and end up making sub-optimal decisions. This can easily happen when using a HUD and why we recommend you only use a few stats like VPIP, PFR, 3B, and FCB when starting out. Too much information and you may make a mistake due to not being able to process it all correctly. 

Miss Out on Information Because Not Paying Attention

There are some things that a HUD will not tell you and if you are not paying attention you will not see them. This could be an opponent showing his cards after making a river bluff or an opponent moving all in the last 3 hands preflop. Regardless what it is, there will always be information available to you that a HUD won’t pick up so make sure you’re paying attention.

Can I Win Without Using a Poker HUD?

You can definitely be a winning player without using a HUD and there are numerous professional poker players that play without a HUD, but by not using one you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage. By not using a HUD you are missing out on important information that will enable you to make better decisions if used correctly.

So, Should I Use a Poker HUD?

Ultimately the choice is yours to make, you can certainly do very well at online poker without the use of a HUD but by not using one you are passing on free information that you can use.  When used correctly a HUD can help you make better decisions and exploit your opponents.  A poker tracking program like Poker Tracker is also very good to analyze your own hands and do off table work.

If you’re looking for an advanced tournament poker HUD, check out the Master HUD and Master HUD Lite.  They are designed to be intuitive, in an easy to ready display with all the crucial MTT stats along with custom popups and stats.