Select Page

Poker Sherlock Guide

Below is a comprehensive “Getting Started” guide provided by the folks at Poker Sherlock. The guide will give you an idea of what Poker Sherlock can do, and how it can help benefit yourpoker game!

1. Introduction

Welcome to the Poker Sherlock™ (PS) Getting Started Guide. In order to simplify the use of this document, we will use the term Poker Sherlock to make reference to this online tool through the whole document.

Before we continue, I want to emphasize that Poker Sherlock can help you make a lot more money from your online poker play, but you still have to play intelligently. In the words of Louis Pasteur, always keep in mind that “Luck Favors The Prepared Mind.” Poker Sherlock will digest your opponents play and present you some key facts of their overall game. All of this so you can maximize your profit during a particular hand while capitalizing on their mistakes. Even though Poker Sherlock tracks the habits and betting patterns, always remember that you still MUST adapt your playing style and your game to the type of table and site you are at.

We will walk through a lot of examples and key stats to look at in certain situations to give you an idea of how to put Poker Sherlock power to use, and we always encourage you to check out our member forum at

1.1 So, what is the first thing I should do when I get Poker Sherlock installed?

Launch Poker Sherlock, and choose the poker room that you want to play at from the menu.

IMPORTANT: You must launch Sherlock first, or it will not report statistics for your online poker play. Also, if you currently own a license for Paragon Poker Pal™; make sure to manually open it after you have Poker Sherlock and the poker room fully operational. Sometimes, depending on the speed of your connection and computer, you will need to wait a minute or two so Poker Sherlock can be able to run smoothly after it has collected all the player data for the table(s) you have opened.

Then, once you have launched your poker room, open up a handful of tables within your threshold for blinds and style. Observe those tables for a round or two of blinds before joining, while you decide on the one that is going to give you the best chance to win.

IMPORTANT: The number of tables you will be able to open will depend on the card room and the support Poker Sherlock has for it. It also depends on the speed of your connection and computer. If you notice Poker Sherlock slow to load, wait until all data is loaded for the current table before opening more tables.

1.2 How do I know where I can win the most?

Good question! Now we’re talking.

The exact table you are looking for will vary depending on your playing style, so let’s start with something that we would all like to see at our table, then get more advanced from there.

The first thing to look for is the number of fish and sharks at your table. This is easy to see with Poker Sherlock, because the user will have a background image of a fish or a shark behind their dashboard display. You can pre-define this classification by adjusting the default settings for a player under the options tab.

Personally, I look for a table with at least one or two fish that are aggressive. The rock types of players at your table really aren’t going to affect the table dynamic nearly as much as having a loose-aggressive player.

I prefer to find tables with an average VP$IP of 30% or more at a full 9 or 10 handed table. Those are going to be your loose tables where the most money is exchanging hands.

2 Game Types

This is where your playing style comes into consideration. There are many different approaches to take to a table, but lets look at a good standard strategy for each type of table you may encounter.

2.1 Loose-Aggressive Tables

You are at a table with a couple of maniacs, driving rampant loose bets with pot odds that don’t quite make sense. There’s a lot of going way over the top, which causes a lot of take-downs(as opposed to showdowns).

Profit Tip:

Take a sizeable stack to the table, and play quality hands. Wait until you hit a strong hand, then take down a big pot from the people playing too loosely.

2.2 Loose-Passive Tables

The most common example that comes to mind here are your limit games or very low limit games, where people are seeing every flop trying to draw out.

Profit Tip:

I like to attack tables like this by entering with a small stack, and playing aggressively trying to double up. I have found that coming with an aggressive change of pace will often get several folds. Once you have played a few rounds aggressively, tighten up. Your aggression has most likely already changed the dynamic of the table, however, a lot of novice online players make a poor transition from playing passive to aggressive, so your window of opportunity opens to exploit their blunders as they try to match your level of aggression(which you’ve already changed, and now your playing good cards!).

2.3 Tight-Passive Tables

A tight-passive game has fewer players calling before the flop and even less staying until the showdown. This type of game can reduce your overall profit since there is less money being passed around, but some players prefer a tight-passive table since tight-passive opponents are rather predictable.

Profit Tip:

A tight-passive table gives a player the opportunity to steal more pots, since you can often make other players fold with a well-timed raise.

2.4 Tight-Aggressive Tables

Generally speaking, your tight-aggressive players are the ones to watch out for. They generally play only premium hands, and the bets make the pot odds difficult to call. If you recognize a player with a low VP$IP and high aggression levels, you may take this into consideration when playing against them. Count on these opponents playing premium hands and betting hard when they hit.

Profit Tip:

Your tight-aggressive tables take the most discipline and skill to play at. It is usually easy to steal pots at these tables, but be very leery when someone raises over the top of you. You can probably snag a fair number of blinds and rags flops if you can adjust your style of play to slightly looser than the rest of the table. Avoid big pots unless you have a very strong hand.

3. Statistical Indicators

In this section we will discuss the different statistics that Poker Sherlock offers. There are many different configurations, and which statistics you choose to rely on depend upon your approach to the game. We invite you to ask any questions you may have about these statistics in the Poker Top Dogs Forum.

3.1 Pre-Flop Statistical Indicators

Here we discuss the statistics that you will use in determining your play in the pre-flop action. These may encourage you to fold, call, or bet where you normally would not due to knowledge about a players habits and tendencies that Poker Sherlock has revealed.

3.1.1 VP$IP (Voluntarily Puts $ In Pot)

This is a measure of how often a player voluntarily contributes money to the pot pre-flop. This is a direct measure of how loose or tight a player is pre-flop, and also gives you a good indication of how loose or tight he/she is overall, since it shows how selective they are in terms of deciding what sort of hands are worth paying to see the flop with.

Players with a lower VP$IP, in the teens or lower, tend to be tight players who mostly stick to premium hands like top and middle pairs and 2 high cards. Players in the 20’s tend to be a little less selective and will add hands like suited connectors, lower pocket pairs, and high/middle card combos. Players in the 30’s are looser again, and will add hands like ace low, high card flush combos, unsuited medium connectors, etc. In the 40’s they will add things like any high low combo, any suited combo, unsuited connectors with gaps such as 86, etc. At 50 and above you’re dealing with extremely loose players who will play all sorts of extra hands. In using this stat we not only want to see how good or bad the opponent is, we also want to reference this in terms of whether a certain board may fit what they likely have or not.

3.1.2 PF Raise % (Pre-Flop Raise Percentage)

This is also one of the more important stats and something every player should have up. It tells you how often a player puts in a pre-flop raise. The average is somewhere in the range of 6%. Any time a player raises pre-flop, you want to reference this stat to get a good idea on what sort of range of hand strength is raised with normally.

The lower the percentage, the higher the requirements the player has for raising, and vice versa. Also, the lower the number, the stronger the hand you’ll need to continue in the hand with. With players that don’t raise a lot, this will save you from getting trapped, and with those who do raise a whole lot, this will let you take advantage of them by playing back with weaker hands than would normally be required if you didn’t have this information.

These are probably the two most important statistics for the new Poker Sherlock user, so let’s take some more time to examine them.

3.1.3 PreFlop Indicators – VP$IP and PreFlop Raise% (Advanced)

A player’s VP$IP percentage is one of best indicators as to what type of player he is. By interpreting this number you can get a good idea of how tight or loose he is, and what types of cards he is likely to play. To get an idea of what groups of hands correspond to what %, refer to this table:



Number of Combinations

% seen

Big Pocket Pairs




Big Cards




Other Broadway Cards

KJs, KTs, QJs, QTs, JTs



Other Broadway Cards




Mid Pocket Pairs

99, 88, 77, 66



A-x suited

A9s, A8s, A7s, A6s, A5s,
A4s, A3s, A2s



Suited Connectors

T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, 65s



Low Pocket Pairs

55, 44, 33, 22



A-x (not suited)

A9, A8, A7, A6, A5, A4,
A3, A2



Small Blind Calls




Lets see how to use the above table to analyze a tight player that shows a VP$IP number of 18%, and a PreFlop Raise of 3.5%. To make 18% for VP$IP, this player is probably playing Big Pocket Pairs, Big Cards, Other Broadway Cards (suited), and half of the Other Broadway Cards (unsuited). If you add the percentages together, you get 2.26+6.03+1.51+2.26=12.06. Assuming this player calls about half of the small blinds, that adds another 5%. We arrive at 17.06% which is very close to his VP$IP of 18%. His PreFlop Raise of 3.5% indicates that he is probably only raising Big Pocket Pairs, and AK.
Now let’s analyze a loose player that shows a VP$IP of 50% and PreFlop Raise of 15%. To get a VP$IP of 50%, this player must be playing every hand listed in the table, and calling every small blind. This still only adds up to about 38%, so he is probably playing some unsuited connectors and K-x hands as well. This type of player can be holding almost any 2 cards – a losing formula. A PreFlop Raise of 10% means he is likely raising with Big Pocket Pairs, Big Cards, all Broadway Cards, and some Mid Pocket Pairs.
The following chart shows how tight and loose typical players are at a typical High Limit game:


To read this chart, pick a VP$IP number on the x-axis, such as 0.30. The data point has a y-value of 0.55. This means that 55% of players have a lower VP$IP (are tighter), and 45% have a higher VP$IP (are looser). If you pick a VP$IP of 0.18, you’ll see that only 12% of players are tighter than this. I like to use 0.18 as my “Loose” threshold, and 0.33 as my tight threshold in Options. This means players that are in the tightest 12% of all players will show up as red, and the loosest 36% will show up as green.
This chart was based on real data from our database, over a sample of 10,096 players that have played 200 hands or more. It includes games from $5/10 to $30/60 on tables with 7 or more players.
Have more questions VP$IP or PF Raise %? Ask us in the member forum at

3.2 Post-Flop Statistical Indicators

3.2.1 Aggr (Aggression)

This is a formula which determines how aggressive a player is post flop. It is measured by how often a player will bet or raise as opposed to how often they will just call. Aggressive players bet and raise more and call less, while passive players tend to call more. This will give you a good idea of how aggressive a player plays generally. In situations where you’re looking for a player to bet or raise as your plan, more aggressive players will tend to bet or raise for you more so than passive ones.

3.2.2 Flops

This is similar to VP$IP, only with this we’re measuring how often they see the flop, which will include from the blinds. This stat has the advantage of matching up with flop percentages that are given in site lobbies, and is good if you’re accustomed to viewing pre-flop looseness in terms of flops. It also has the advantage of knowing how often a player is involved in a hand post-flop. In addition, we can use this to determine folding tendencies on later streets, as you will see with the next 2 stat categories.

3.2.3 Turns

From this stat, we can see how often a player sees the turn, which not only gives us an idea of what percentage of hands are taken this far, which will tell us how strong a player he/she is, it also lets us see how often the player folds on the flop, measured by the difference between the flop percentage and the turn one. For instance, if the flop percentage is 35 and the turn percentage is 30, we can see this player doesn’t fold a lot on the flop, since there’s not much difference between them.

3.2.4 Rivers

The same holds true for this as for the turn percentage. We’re looking for percentages indicating how often hands are played this far, with lower percentages indicating stronger hands, in addition to being able to determine folding percentages on the turn by comparing the turn percentage with the river percentage.

3.2.5 Show Downs Seen %

This follows along the exact same lines as flop, turn, and river, and indicates the strength of hands taken to showdown as well as giving us insight into folding tendancies at showdown by comparing it with the river percentage.

3.2.6 Win%WFS

This is the percentage of times a player wins a hand when they see the flop. Low percentages indicate weaker players with weaker hands seeing the flop, whille higher percentages mean better play and stronger hands.

3.2.7 B+R

This is the percentage of times a player will either bet or raise. It’s another way to measure aggression, and will give you additional insight on how often a player tends to make an aggressive move. With this it’s measured as a percentage of aggressive moves versus all other moves, so it’s particularly helpful. With B+R though we can look directly into the hand strength a player typically has when making these aggressive moves. The lower the B+R, the higher the average hand strength, and vice versa.

3.2.8 C+F

This is similar to B+R only this time we’re measuring check plus fold percentages. The higher the C+R, the stronger the hand that a player will have when he’s involved with a hand, which includes bets, raises, and calls. As B+R tells us how strong a player is when they bet or raise, C+R tells us how strong a hand they normally have when they stay in a hand generally.

3.2.9 Bets/Raises/Checks/Calls/Folds

These are 5 separate stat categories but they all tell us what percentage a player will make a particular move. These stats are measured directly from taking all possible moves and determining the percentage of times each is made. With bets and raises, we can see directly how often each is done, and the higher the percentage, the weaker the hand. Bet percentage will give you a direct and completely accurate look into how often a player bets and thus what sort of hand strength he typically bets with. As a rule 5 to 6 percent is betting with a decent hand or better (top pair good kicker, say), and as the number goes up the average hand bet goes down.

With folds, we can see how tight or loose a player is overall. With calls we can see how likely they are to stay in a hand when they don’t have the best of it generally. And with checks we can see how likely they will make this move, when we’re looking to decide how likely a player is to do so.

3.2.10 Wins

This is a percentage of times a player wins a hand. Players with a lower win percentage tend to be better players, and those with higher percentages play too many hands and lose money over time.

3.2.11 Show Downs Won %

The percentage a player wins the hand when showing down. Higher percentages indicate higher quality hands taken to showdown.

3.2.12 Take Downs Won %

The percentage of the player’s wins that didn’t require a showdown. Higher percentages indicate more aggressive players who tend to bet out and raise more, and this also indicates lesser strength as well.

3.2.13 Bet Aggression/Raise Aggression

Instead of lumping these two forms of aggression together, this breaks them down individually so we can measure the exact amount of aggression for each type of aggressive move. With both, what is measured here is the percentage of times that a player will bet or raise out of all the times that he/she would be selecting a passive option, which would be either checking or calling. For instance, when faced with a bet or check, how often does he/she bet rather than check? Or given the chance to raise, how often is this done as opposed to just calling? By taking these percentages, we can see directly how often the aggressive option was selected, which will tell us how strong a hand that the player needs to do so, with higher percentages indicating less strength.

3.2.14 PostFlop Aggression (Advanced)

Aggression is defined as (Bet% + Raise%)/Call%. PostFlop aggression combines the aggression ratings for the Flop, Turn and River. It is computed by (Bet% + Raise% for Flop+Turn+River) divided by ( Call% for Flop+Turn+River). The following chart shows how aggressive typical players are at a low limit table:


According to this chart, PostFlop Aggresion of 1.3 is the cut off point. 50% of players are more aggressive than this, and 50% are less aggressive. I like to consider players above 2.0 to be clear-cut aggressive and players below 1.0 to be clear-cut passive. Remember – aggressive players are much more likely to be bluffing or semi-bluffing when betting and raising.

4. Profiling Players

Here we discuss some common profiles for players and how to identify them and extract money with Poker Sherlock.

4.1 The Calling Station

Some players are passive (aggression level is low), but the percentage of flops, turns, and rivers that they see isnt drastically different. This tells me that these players probably are staying in hands too long, calling people’s bets and not being aggressive.

There are a number of ways to identify a “calling station” though, and you can also just go to their percentage of calls overall as well. This is one of the stats I have up on the dashboard as I want to see the table average for this in addition to individual player stats.

Keep in mind that players whose aggression factor is low by definition tend to call more and bet and raise less post flop than a more aggressive player, by definition. The formula here is in fact post flop bets+raises/calls.

Once we get the ability to display more stats on the main screen, you’ll be able to look into the individual actions on each particular street to get an even better take on where they call bet raise check and fold and how often. These stats are available now actually and we’re working on a way to get players to be able to view them all readily. In the mean time, the fold rates are available on the mouseover on HUD, which will give you a real good idea as far as how often they are staying in.

There’s a tendency for players to prefer “calling stations” but that’s probably more the case because it’s trickier to get a correct read on the more aggressive players. I’ve always preferred aggressive opponents myself and the more aggressive the better in fact, and especially with Sherlock where you can get a great read on these players and punish them

5. Configurations

5.1 KC

I’ve got my own favorites of course, and I’ll share them with you just so you’ll have something else to consider here. There’s merits in all the stats though.

1. Flops: I prefer this over VP$IP because, although both give you an indication of looseness/tightness pre-flop, this lines up with the stats you get in the lobby. Plus I’m used to thinking of PF table looseness in terms of flop%, so I’m more confortable with this. I’m using this to determine both the overall tendency of the table and individual tendencies. This will also give me some good insight into the types of cards people play. Tight players of course will be more likely to have premium hands, middle range players those plus things like a single high card, and suited and connected cards. The very loose ones could of course have anything. We can take the person’s pr raise percentage to further narrow down things.

2. PF raise% – this is one I’d strongly recommend to everyone. You really need to get a handle on how often people raise. Anytime someone is raising, you need to know this, as well as using it to reference the raising tendencies of those downstream when you’re looking to limp. This is also good to use as far as the table average to let you know how loose or tight you’re going to have to be in a given position.

3. B-aggr/4. R-aggr – These are my own formulas so no surprise I use them. They are in my opinion significantly superior to just using aggr. On the other hand aggr just takes up one column. Whenever someone is to act, this will tell me how likely they are to bet or raise. And when they do, I know how often they tend to do it so I get a real good read on the types of hands they bet or raise with.

5. Checks/6. Calls/7. Folds – I want to see what players are tending to do post-flop. I already have the goods on their betting and raising from b-aggr and r-aggr. These 3 give me the post-flop frequency of the other 3 types of decisions. Again, this is very helpful in both trying to predict a player’s lilkely move, planning strategies as far as trying to get more money in the pot, thinning the field, etc, and also helping to put players on a range of hand strength.

6. FAQ

Q. How can I transfer my license between more than one computer?

If you have a desktop and a laptop, or you want to use Sherlock at home and at the office(Don’t say we put you up to this!), we offer you a way to transfer your license.


Download Sherlock onto the secondary computer you want to use.
Go to your Poker Top Dogs account. The login is located at
Go to ‘Change Password/Edit Profile’ and update the license you want to use with your subscription.

You will have to switch the activated license key back when you want to use Sherlock at a different computer.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *