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StrategyPoker Basics

Stats (2) - Interpretation


In this article

  • How to interpret stats correctly
  • Why stats need to be seen in context
  • The dangers of sample size

In the first part you learned about the pyramid system and now know which stats are related to which. The importance of sample size to stats and the principle behind interpreting a stat were also explained.

In this second part you will gain more in-depth knowledge about stats and will learn how to interpret stats and how to deal with sample size. You will also be given an introduction to the concept of an interpretation chain.

At the end of the article you will understand why certain stats with the same value can lead to different conclusions about Villain. Depending on the context, you can interpret the value one way or another. Other important aspects that influence your decision such as board texture, hand history and reads will not be examined specifically in the examples.

You need to familiarize yourself with the thinking process, i.e. understand the formulas, rather than learn certain outcomes by heart.

Interpretation on two levels

To interpret a stat in a specific situation, you need to form a complex chain of interpretations. This means you make a series of interpretations on every street, where each of these series has two levels. The first level is examining the stat in relation to other relevant stats.

On the second level you interpret the results on the basis of the actual playing situation. This involves taking all the previous series of interpretations into account and including future streets. The second level of a series is thus the actual interpretation of the conclusions you've drawn about a stat, including the contexts, while not losing sight of all the specific influences that vary depending on the situation, such as board texture, hand history, table dynamics, reads, metagame, etc.

  • First level: forming a context chain

You examine a number of isolated stats and look at them in relation to relevant stats for the same street or other streets.

  • Second level: interpreting the context chain in an actual playing situation

Added up, this gives you the node of a chain of interpretations for a street.

Of course you base your considerations on the flop on your pre-flop considerations. On the turn you base your considerations on your pre-flop and flop considerations, etc. This in turn forms a complex chain: the interpetation chain.

The following illustrates the structure of an interpretation chain. You can see that every node is connected to all the others. This indicates that you should not only take conclusions from previous streets into account, but also include the stats of future streets in your considerations.

Why are stats actually interpreted? Is it necessary?

Poker is and always will be a game where you never have all the information, despite all the stats you have at your disposal. The player's form on the day, tilt, distraction and other similar factors can make a player suddenly adopt a very different playing style from the one he usually has. Depending on the player type it's therefore a slippery slope to reduce a Villain to nothing but his stats. 

So not only the distribution and succession of cards are subject to variance, but also the playing style of a Villain during every session.

Stats have a unique way of treating this variance in a poker player's playing style as a statistical average...

Experienced players can get accurate reads on their opponents by observing them closely. They can see how willing a Villain is to take risks at any given time, whether he's on tilt, whether there's a table history between him and the other players, whether he's in good or bad form and suchlike observations.

These metagame factors must be taken into account when interpreting, if your playing style or limit allows for this.

So as you can see, stats must be adapted in many different ways when you are in a hand with a Villain. This basic principle is all the more important the stronger your opponents become and the more you deviate from the usual ABC poker.

We will now take a closer look at one structured way of adopting the necessary thinking processes: the interpretation chain.


That's not the entire article...

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Comments (16)

#1 wlcKeD, 06 Oct 10 10:30

Which software is best and supports playing SNG's?

#2 fewri, 06 Oct 10 10:47

Play at i-Poker or Pokerstars

#3 Hajler, 06 Oct 10 11:11

PT3 and HEM are both very good and I would recommend you try them both and see which you prefer. Personally I use HEM.

There is also Elephant which is free but I have not used it very much.

#4 fewri, 06 Oct 10 11:51

Hjler he ask about software not tracking program??!!

#5 fewri, 06 Oct 10 11:53

Sorry my mistake

#6 psydreamer, 06 Oct 10 12:18

good article
i didn't know WTSD is so important

#7 wlcKeD, 08 Oct 10 12:22

Thx Hajler! :)

#8 genia2q, 12 Jul 13 15:53

Very useful information good to know thanks.

#9 biggood, 07 Sep 14 18:58

thanks for articel

#10 toske1, 13 Mar 15 18:36


#11 briccius, 30 Apr 15 11:06

Can you still get the elephant? On PS tools it is not listed anymore. Plz help.

#12 LyToLV, 13 Jun 15 15:45

is ther a some prog that makes all this on hear own and u just need to read it? becose lots of thing i dont anderstend. and is this works whyt MTT or onli whyt SNG?

#13 vinkojudi, 31 Jul 15 11:38


#14 Leonventer112, 17 Oct 15 03:35


#15 hassux, 25 Jan 16 21:33


#16 bubamarasr, 20 Feb 16 21:03

Read it. Thank you!