PokerTracker Metrics - Pokertracker is very helpful computer tracking software for an serious Omaha 8/b player.
Essentially, it takes the hand histories from all of your hands, and compiles them into a massive database (see their website for more details).
One important comment before we jump into the data here. The data is only valuable to the extent that it changes a decision you would make. Some people want to slice and dice the data many, many different ways. But the data will be most helpful to you if you continue to ask, "what do I really need to know to make a decision in this instance?". I'll call this the Principle of Critical Information.
To summarize, here are the most important metrics to look at from PokerTracker
- VPIP - tells you how loose or tight a given opponent will play. Helps you put him on a range of hands and decide whether your hand is best.
- W$SD - for limit games, tells you how often an opponent will be winning $ at the showdown. Helps you know whether your opponent is bluffing or not, and how well he can evaluate O8 situations. Also one of the best metrics for table selection as this is highly correlated with overall winrate.
- Aggression - tells you how aggressive your opponents will be post-flop. Helps you decide whether to try and check-raise, and how expensive calling with draws will be.
- PFR - tells you how often an opponent will make a Pre-Flop Raise. Lets you know whether you can limp with some speculative hands or not.
Here's some analysis of the key pokertracker metrics:
VPIP - stands for Voluntarily Put $ In the Pot. Its a measure of how tight or loose a player is pre-flop. Since O8 is a game of hand evaluation, this is a pretty important metric. You can refer to the Pokertracker Auto-rate rules built into pokertracker for guidance on exactly what numbers make you tight or loose on this. But from the correlation analysis work I've done, playing too loose is bad, but won't hurt you nearly as badly as poor play post flop. So looser play has a mild correlation with low win rates.
A good example of the Principle of Critical Information is in VPIP - what you really need to know here is "should I play some marginal but ok hands like A39J rainbow, 234K, etc." So the information you need to know is, how likely is it that my opponent has a very good hand, vs. a very marginal hand. To answer that, you just need to know if your opponent is playing AA/A2/A3 strong hands, or will play a wider range of hands. So you need to know VPIP of ~23 or so, or if he'll play top 35% or so. After that, it doesn't matter what his number is because it won't change your decision. You'll play pre-flop if his VPIP is 40 or 80 just the same.
W$SD - stands for Won $ at Showdown. It's a measure of how often you make money at the showdown, of the times you get to showdown. This is the single most highly correlated metric with winrate. However, it's usefulness as an overall metric is more fuzzy, as its actual number will change significantly with table dynamics. For example, at a loose passive table you will win fewer hands since more people are playing, while at higher $ tables where play is tighter, your actual number here will be much higher. It also takes longer for this metric to reach its natural settling point - Since it's denominator is calculated off of the number of times an opponent sees the flop, you will need to play many more hands to get a true reading. By contrast, the denominator for VPIP is based on total hands played, so VPIP will converge to a true reading much faster.
Aggression - It's a measure of how aggressive a player is after the flop. It measures how often they bet or raise, in comparison to how often they will call.
W$SD - stands for Won $ at Showdown. It's a measure of how often you make money at the showdown, of the times you get to showdown. This is the single most highly correlated metric with winrate. However, it's usefulness as an overall metric is more fuzzy, as its actual number will change significantly with table dynamics. For example, at a loose passive table you will win fewer hands since more people are playing, while at higher $ tables where play is tighter, your actual
Pre-Flop Raise - a measure of how often a player will raise before the flop
There are many, many more metrics to look at. See the PokerTracker website for specifics.