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Carpal \'Tunnel

Reged: 02/28/05
Posts: 17411
Loc: Treating my drinking problem
Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ
      #2913856 - 07/19/05 08:27 PM

With the ever increasing popularity of 6 max play in these parts comes an increasing number of questions about the proper stats to have for 6 max play. btspider already wrote an excellent full ring stats guide in the FAQ (which answers 90% of all full ring stats posts here, btw), but there isn't one that covers the differences for 6 max play. For my Pooh-Bah post, I figured I'd write a complimentary guide that will hopefully live up to the high standard he set.

The problem with stats is that having stats in line with typical values does not necessarily imply good play, nor does having stats out of line with typical values necessarily imply bad play. However, seeing that your stats are out of line can give you a quick diagnosis and a place to start looking for holes. Hopefully the information I've compiled and put in here will be used as a beginning, not an end, for improving play.


VPIP and PFR: These are easily the stats about which the most questions are asked, and the answer is farly imprecise. Following this starting hand chart will get you to about 23-25/14-16 or so, and that's pretty reasonable. If that feels too loose and too aggressive, you could consider tightening up somewhat until you get more comfortable, but if you're playing any tighter than 22/12, you're probably passing up on too many profitable opportunities. Some of the most experienced posters in HUSH play as aggressively as 30/20. This is pretty much the recommended maximum, and this is not recommended for players who are just getting started in 6 max play, or especially for those still fairly new to hold'em in general. The last thing to keep in mind is that you don't want to be playing 30/12 or 21/20. Your VPIP and PFR should increase (or decrease) cooperatively.

Given the same set of opponents, you should be playing exactly the same preflop as you would if it was folded to MP2 in a full ring game. If you find there are differences between the two, you may want to consider adjusting your play as appropriate so that the two match. While differences in your reads of the players at the two different games may dictate somewhat different plays, it's not anything fundamentally different between the two versions of the same game we know and love.

VPIP from SB: This stat varies from about 25% to about 40%, with 35% being a pretty happy medium. The tighter numbers often come from people playing in 5/10 6 max with a 2/5 blind structure. Naturally, you should play tighter in that case, and tightest of all in a 1/3 structure at 3/6. For 6 max play, you're going to have fewer opportunities where there enough limpers to make completing 72s a good idea (fewer limpers = lower implied odds), but you can complete some traditionally dubious hands for high card strength against one really bad limper.

Folded SB to steal: Typical values for this are around 85%, give or take 5%. When you're defending your SB against a steal, you almost always want to 3bet to take the initiative back, and to hopefully fold the BB rather than offer him 5:1 on the call. The set of hands you'd raise preflop is, understandably, the set from which you'd usually select hands for 3betting in SB defense. Given that typical PFR values will be 10-20%, having your fold SB to steal roughly equal to 100% - your PFR% is pretty reasonable. Again, if you play in a game where the SB is not equal to half of the BB, then this number should decrease somewhat. You have relatively less to defend.

Folded BB to steal: The decision about whether or not to defend your BB depends on a lot of factors, primarily what range of hands the theif is raising (does he even steal, or is this raise legitimate?), your read on the theif's postflop play, and how comfortable you are with defending. Having this be at 70% is not a bad place to start out your 6 max play, but getting it down to 60% or so would probably be better. You can play a lot of hands getting good pot odds, especially since the theif's hand range will be large. If the SB comes along and offers you 5:1, you can really open up. Some veterans have this stat below 50%, but, again, that's not recommended for players new to 6 max play who might be less familiar with defending their blinds. A lot of the difference between your VPIP and your PFR comes from defending your BB - you won't be limping much.

Attempt to steal blinds: Following the above chart will get you to about 30% or so, which, again, is pretty reasonable. As you get more comfortable and get better reads on your opponents, you can increase that somewhat (or decrease, if appropriate). Much above 40%, however, and even the worst players will start to catch on to what your doing.

Aggression factors: Postflop aggression factors for 6 max play will tend to be higher than for full ring play, but not too much higher. They should also generally decrease by street. Flop aggression will tyipcally be between 2.5 and 3.5. Any higher than 3.5 and you're probably overplaying (looking for autobetting after PFR in bad situations is a good place to start if this describes you) and/or playing fit or fold. River will typically be between 1.5 and 2.5. Much higher than that, and you're probably folding too many winners. I've seen some posters with stats that look like 3.5/2.5/1.6, and other similarly successful posters with stats that look more like 2.9/2.7/2.5. It's not entirely clear which style is more profitable due to sample size issues, but both can be quite profitable. I guess you guys can debate the merits of each style in this thread if you have an opinion, or especially some data. I'd be especially curious to hear from people who've played both styles: not only to hear which they prefer, but also what they did to their postflop play that resulted in the transition.

This stat, though, is one to be particularly careful with. Don't increase or decrease your aggression for stats' sake. Look at hands and learn when to choose your spots.

Went to showdown: Marginal hands will tend to have more value when there are fewer players involved. Expect to show down more hands. A value of about 32 is probably about as low as is reasonable, and 40%-ish is about the ceiling. Typical values are 35-38%. As you add hands, this may decrease slightly, but if you're only adding hands that you end up folding before showdown, it's time to rethink about adding those hands. Also, if you play aggressively enough (and/or against tight enough opponents) that many hands don't make it to showdown, this will tend to decrease.

Won $ at showdown: This stat should be pretty much in line with typical full ring stats: 50-60%. Your marginal hands that you end up showing down will have more value, but they're still marginal. If this number is too high, you may be running hot or not showing down enough marginal hands. If it's too low, you may be guilty of calling down with jack high and need to review which hands are marginal, and which are still trash, even at 6 max.

Position Stats tab: Primarily make sure that you're getting looser and more aggressive preflop as you move from UTG to the button. The actual numbers are not particularly important if your main stats are in line, but that general trend should certainly be there.

Misc. Stats tab: Krishan Leong did an interesting study to estimate how hot or cold you are running. He looked at the data from many good players Misc. Stats tab to come up with percentages of how often you should win with each kind of hand, and roughly how often you should get a straight, flush or full house (1 in every 200 hands or so, and this has little to do with the quality of your play). Rather than rehash his entire post here, take a look at it yourselves. Make sure that when you're looking at your stats here, you have the "Show Only Hands That Were Not Folded" box checked. Looking at this information can be reassuring that you're not all that bad at poker, as well as keeping you grounded if you're running unsustainably hot. Playing at the microlimits (his data is from 5/10+), you may be able to sustain somewhat higher W$@SD percentages with your various hands, since you'll get to showdown more often with people who are more willing to show down losing hands, but they probably won't be all that much higher in the long term.

Win rate and standard deviation: Well, I guess I'll put something in here about win rate. It's simultaneously the most important and the least important stat. Be happy with anything above 0, naturally, but I'll include how to calculate with what confidence you know you are a winning player. This applies to all poker, not just 6 max, and it has been covered elsewhere, but I'm including it here for completeness. First, get your standard deviation per 100 hands from the Session Notes tab ---> More Detail. Divide that value by sqrt(N/100), the square root of the number of hands you've played divided by 100. That gives you the uncertainty (standard error) of your win rate, i.e., the accuracy to which you know your win rate after having played this many hands. As you can tell, it'll take quite a while to converge to within even as much as 0.1. Anyway, divide your current win rate by your uncertainty. This result, which I'll call Z, can be taken to a normal distribution table, like this one. Enter your Z into the "Below" box, and that's the probability you're actually a winning player. For the lazy ones among us, here are the cliff notes: Z = 1, there's an 84% chance you're a winning player, Z = 2, 98%, Z = 3, 99.999%, and Z = -1, 16%. As you can see from those numbers and a little figuring on your own with your standard deviation, it doesn't take all that many hands to know for near sure that you're a winning player. It should be equally apparent, however, that it's relatively likely for a winning 2+2er to have a negative Z over a reasonable stretch of hands.


That's pretty much it for the stats that are easy to analyze. Most of the others take a while to converge and/or can be misleading because they talk about the frequency with which you bet, raise, call, check and fold, but say nothing about the appropriateness of those actions. If you're worried about those stats, it's better to examine the play of hands in which the particular action of interest (e.g., folding the river, check/raising the flop, etc.) comes up. Play good poker. Let those stats take care of themselves.

In closing, I think I'll provide a link to my 6 Max Baby Steps Post, and I'll make a request. If you still want to make a 6 max stats post after reading this thread, post it in here. Since an abundance of stats posts can detract from good hand posts, maybe this thread can do for stats posts what the No Content thread did for no content posts.

Thanks, guys, for reading this, and for all the top notch poker content I can read here every single day. Now to start thinking up something worth writing about for Carpal Tunnel...

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Pirate of the Caribbean

Reged: 05/14/04
Posts: 1016
Loc: Capt FPS
Re: Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ [Re: MrWookie]
      #2913891 - 07/19/05 08:32 PM

nice hand, stay around this forum for a while, your input is great

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Reged: 04/09/05
Posts: 521
Loc: white courtesy phone
Re: Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ [Re: MrWookie]
      #2914019 - 07/19/05 08:50 PM

I haven't even read this yet but I'm already thanking you. Your baby steps post is a classic and this probably will be too...


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Reged: 07/18/05
Posts: 101
Loc: 2/4
Re: Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ [Re: MrWookie]
      #2914881 - 07/19/05 11:06 PM

Now THAT is a post. Very nice.

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old hand

Reged: 08/27/04
Posts: 729
Loc: anecdotes != data
Re: Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ [Re: MrWookie]
      #2915079 - 07/19/05 11:34 PM

Very informative post. On my favorites list. Deserves to be stickied with BT spiders.


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Go Redsocks Go

Reged: 04/11/04
Posts: 4635
Loc: The North Pole
Re: Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ [Re: MrWookie]
      #2915084 - 07/19/05 11:35 PM


For me anyway. As I begin my journey into 6 max, this will be an awesome guide. Thank you for all you do in this forum.

Edit: Digest post please.

Edited by benkath1 (07/19/05 11:36 PM)

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old hand

Reged: 11/08/04
Posts: 955
Loc: Obviously, you're not a golfer...
Re: Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ [Re: MrWookie]
      #2915184 - 07/19/05 11:51 PM

Perfect. This is exactly what I need as I hit 10K 6-max hands played.

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Carpal \'Tunnel

Reged: 04/12/04
Posts: 6593
Loc: bless you my son
Re: Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ [Re: MrWookie]
      #2915262 - 07/20/05 12:02 AM

Vn. For what it's worth I added this to my favorites. I suggest that other posters do the same.

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Tyler's Blotto Girlfriend

Reged: 06/03/04
Posts: 5689
Loc: Brighton
Re: Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ [Re: Gregatron]
      #2915302 - 07/20/05 12:10 AM


Vn. For what it's worth I added this to my favorites. I suggest that other posters do the same.

oh man im "green" with jealously

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The L is Silent

Reged: 03/21/04
Posts: 3705
Loc: jrz is right.
Re: Pooh-Bah Dissertation - 6 Max Stats FAQ [Re: shadow.]
      #2915421 - 07/20/05 12:31 AM



Vn. For what it's worth I added this to my favorites. I suggest that other posters do the same.

oh man im "green" with jealously

holy shit. when did Greg J go to green?

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