Poker has a reputation for being one of the most complex casino games around. This is true to some degree, especially if you have ambitions to take on the pros at poker tournaments. However, there’s no reason for it to be overly complicated by statistics and figures or for you to delve into advanced poker strategies. There are plenty of fun and unusual facts about poker that you can use if you’re still learning how to play poker.
Join us as we look at some little-known yet useful statistics, fun facts and a few unconventional poker tips that could change how you approach the game. We also focus on the fun side of poker — so you can put the pen and notepad down for now because there are no complicated statistics for you to jot down.
Whenever somebody uses the word “statistics,” an audible groan (or is it sigh?) can be heard from everyone else. Most of us have no interest in complicated stats such as poker percentages, flop rates or poker win rates. This is understandable because it can be a very confusing topic if explained incorrectly.
Fear not. Here we look at some essential stats and interesting information about poker that’ll help you understand the odds of being dealt a particular hand.
These are some of the basic statistics you should track regardless of what kind of poker you’re playing.
Voluntary Put Money in Pot (VPIP)
In poker, “voluntary put money in pot,” or VPIP, is a nifty way to keep track of how often you willingly throw money into the pot before the flop. Remember, the blinds and antes don’t count as voluntary actions here. So, this percentage tells you how frequently you’re calling, betting or raising. If your VPIP is on the lower side, it means you’re being more selective with your hands and playing it safe. But if it’s higher, well, you’re playing a bit looser.
Smart players know better than to toss their money into the pot without a decent starting hand. So, a quick and easy trick to check if you’re following this golden rule is to keep your VPIP at a reasonable value. In short, it’s a handy measure to ensure you’re not getting too loosey-goosey with your bets. Depending on what level you’re playing, a good VPIP is somewhere between 15% and 20%.
Win Rate As Big Blinds/100 Hands
A clever way to gauge your win rate across different stakes, table sizes and opponents is to keep an eye on your winnings relative to the big blind. Let’s say you’re playing at a table with a $1 big blind and you end up pocketing $20. Well, you can proudly say you won yourself 20 big blinds.
If that number starts dipping into negative territory, it’s a clear sign that you’re losing money. In that case, it’s probably a good idea to drop down to a lower stake level where the competition isn’t as fierce.
If you consistently see those positive numbers stacking up, it may just be time to up your game. Consider taking a leap to a higher stake level and test your skills against tougher opponents.
Preflop Raise (PFR)
Preflop raise (PFR) is a handy stat that tells you how often you’ve been raising before the flop. A high PFR indicates that you’re quite the aggressive player, while a low PFR suggests a more passive playing style.
PFR can range from a minimum of 0% to a maximum equal to your VPIP value. So, if your VPIP is, let’s say, 20%, then your PFR can’t exceed 20%. Ideally, it should be a bit lower than your VPIP — probably around 2% lower.
Poor players and beginners tend to be timid in their approach. They’re always calling before the flop. Good players, on the other hand, are not afraid to fold when the situation calls for it and frequently raise before the flop, especially if no one else has made a raise yet.
If you’re not feeling confident enough to raise, it’s often wise to just fold if you’re not confident enough to raise. Calling before the flop hoping for a lucky break, is not a winning poker strategy.
Postflop Aggression Frequency (Agg)
Postflop aggression frequency (Agg) reveals how aggressive you are in your postflop game. The higher your Agg value, the more fire you bring to the table. You will, however, need to look at it alongside your VPIP to get the full picture.
Poor players tend to take a more passive approach. They check or call way too often and lack aggression. Good players understand the power of playing their good hands aggressively after the flop because it puts pressure on those opponents with speculative hands, forcing them to fold before they can get any free cards.
Plus, if good players hit the flop or have a dominant hand, making a solid bet or raise can seriously boost their potential returns.
Lesser known Statistics
Understanding the Statistics of Hole Cards
The holder should be the only one to see a hole card in a poker game. To better understand your odds of landing on a particular hole card, think of it this way: a standard deck has 52 cards, which means the chance of receiving a particular card, such as the king of hearts first, is 1.9% or 1/52. Each deck has four kings, so the odds of receiving a king as your hole card is 7.7%.
The chances of being dealt a hole card of a specific suit is 25% since there are 13 of each suit in a standard deck. Remember that these statistics are based on the notion that your cards are being dealt first and apply to both land-based and online poker.
The most desirable hand in the preflop is a pocket pair. A pocket pair consists of two cards which have been made from hole cards that have the same ranking. Not all pocket pairs are created equal and you’d want a pocket pair of aces. But the odds of being dealt these cards are very low, with a possibility of 0.45%.
The Odds of Winning
As you learn how to play poker, you’ll quickly discover that it’s important to know how to calculate the chances of winning. This will be very useful if you have an opponent in either a live or online poker tournament who places a huge bet before the flop. An easy stat to remember is that you’ll have an 80% chance of winning if you hold a high pair preflop and your opponent holds one of lower value.
A mid-range pair, such as a pair of 8s, that goes up against a high and a low card like a 4 and a king has a 70% chance of winning. The truth is that several examples apply, so it would be tough to succeed in poker without knowing these odds.
The Strength of Your Hand
The weakest hand possible in a poker game is a high card of 7, with the strongest being a royal flush, which consists of a 10, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit. If you were to hit a royal flush with another player, they would need to split the total pot, but this is incredibly unlikely as the odds of making a royal flush is 649,739 to 1.
Fun Poker Facts
As you read this, you may be preparing for a live poker game for the first time or researching new poker tournament tips to up your game. To relax and quieten your mind, here are some fun facts about poker.
The Eight-Year Tournament
Many poker tournaments are played over a few days — even that is considered to be a draining experience by many players. But that’s nothing compared to the high-stakes tournament that took place at the Bird Cage Theatre, Arizona, in 1881. It wasn’t the stakes that were surprising, but rather the duration of the tournament, which took eight years to finish. A $1,000 buy-in was required; back in the day, that was a lot of money!
The First Online Poker Game
The first online poker game took place on January 1, 1998, at a site known as Planet Poker. The game paved the way for some of the best online poker sites, such as BetMGM Online. Times have changed as players now have access to a broad selection of poker games, along with guides that contain a wealth of information to help them improve their game.
An Official Mind Sport
There’s no doubt that poker is a mental game. In 2010, the IMSA (International Mind Sports Association) declared poker a mind sport. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise since games such as chess, mahjong, draughts and bridge are all considered mind sports.
So, if you’re an avid poker player, you’re allowed to consider yourself an athlete.
This is something you should keep in mind during your next poker game. You could unknowingly give your opponent information about your hand strength. Most players will lean forward when they’re dealt a strong hand and backward if the hand is weak. So, look out for your opponents’ tells!
Play the Best Poker Games With BetMGM Online
If you’re looking for one of the best online poker sites for US players, look no further than BetMGM Online. Register today and gain access to a wide variety of poker and other popular casino games such as slots, blackjack, roulette and many more. There are also plenty of poker guides to help you improve your skills, along with promotional offers to welcome you when you register for the first time.