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Typical Players in Small Stakes NLHE

There are many players in the online poker community who use some sort of tracking software. I have never been one to go with the masses and while others have been knocking themselves out using PokerTracker or Hold’em manager, I have and will always continue to use Poker Office ,which in many ways is a superior piece of kit and simpler to use in my opinion.

However, even more online players don’t use these sniffers and a large percentage of my time is spent playing on Cake Poker these days, who doesn’t allow most types of tracking software. So I wanted to devise an article for small stakes NLHE ring game players and to try and make this article appealing to users and non-users of tracking software.

So here I would like to take a look at a few vital statistics of some NL100 players that I have on my database. I will look to see what types of players they really are and to try and use tracker data to arrive at a “typical” NL100 player, which I hope should have immense use for all those less technically minded out there.

Here I want to take a look at some generic 3-bet percentages at NL100 full-ring to see just what types of hands players are re-raising with on average. The following percentages are taken from my own database and I have taken ten players purely at random and their pre-flop 3-betting percentages are as follows.

2.9, 5.2, 2.8, 4.2, 3.7, 4.6, 4.7, 3.9, 3.1, 3.1

A quick tally of those percentages gives us an average of 3.82%. This may seem a really small sample size but this reflects quite accurately the pre-flop average 3-betting range in my opinion of players in NL100 full-ring. I could have easily provided far more data but the results would have been very similar and within a couple of tenths either way.

These are useful numbers to know because it means that we can get a decent picture of just what type of hand range a typical opponent is 3-betting us with at this level of poker. There are exactly 30 combinations of premium/big pocket pairs which include AA,KK,QQ,JJ and TT. This equates to exactly 2.26% of their total range. So because 3.82% is more than this then we know that a typical player is three betting with more than this.

These kinds of figures are also useful to know if you are multi-tabling or mass tabling for rakeback and simply don’t have time to use a sniffer because of too much lag. So we know that they are three betting with other hands as well, perhaps they only call with 10-10, but chose to 3-bet with AK and AQ.

Either way, these figures show us that on the whole, when a player three bets then their range is pretty narrow. However these are not optimal figures as they don’t tap into the differences from player to player. Look at the 3-betting range of the player with 2.8% (all these statistics are taken from players with sample sizes of at least 5000 hands). This player is obviously 3-betting with little more than AA, KK, QQ, JJ and possibly a combination of either TT or/and AK and nothing more. It’s possible that they may call with pocket tens and prefer to 3-bet with AQ instead, but that is really about the sum of their range.

Contrast this with the player who is 3-betting with 5.2% of their total range. We can see quite a substantial difference here as a range of 5.2% basically equates to all premium and big pocket pairs (2.26%) and other big Broadway hands like AK, AQ, AJ, AT, and KQ. These equate to exactly sixteen combinations each and those 80 combinations come to another 6.03%.

This figure added to the 2.26% is way too high so it looks like they are 3-betting with AK, AQ and sometimes AJs, KQs as well. While this range is wider, we are still in safe territory here making a generic fold to a 3-bet whilst stealing with our normal stealing range.

What do these statistics tell us? Well, while they are very important, they still cannot be taken to the bank. If you raise from the cut-off with the 9-8s and are 3-bet by the button with a 3-bet percentage of only 3.0% then this does not guarantee that your opponent is automatically only three betting you with the top 3% of their range.

If they are using a sniffer against you and detect that your steal blinds percentage is too high then they may be making an adjustment for this one hand only. As I said earlier, I wanted this article to be beneficial to numerous different players and especially those who are not using trackers or for those who are using them and have perhaps only just started.

But what this article has hopefully shown is that even if you don’t want to go down the avenue of using a sniffer, like Poker Office, then you can still utilize their data by looking at the generic statistics of your opponents at your level and try to ascertain just what a “typical” player is doing.

This alone has tremendous value and is something that I would recommend to anyone that they do. There can be differences in the relevant metrics from site to site and certain metrics take far longer to converge than others. But in a very short space of time you can build up a picture of a typical player on your site at your level without even using a tracker during actual game play. In the next article I want to look at some more generic statistics of our typical NL100 full ring player.

Carl “The Dean” Sampson is an ambassador for document.write(CakePokerA);document.write(CakePokerB);, a poker theorist and online pro.

Carl Sampson

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