False Ideas: Reads, SharkScope, PokerTracker

M

mischman

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If this turns into a complete crap post(which is will) im sorry. The title sound smart though.

Meta game rant is a good post and this post

Topic i want to discuss, i think to many people are getting caught up in reads, sharkscope, PT and although and it hurts them. The other day i was discussing a hand with a accomplished CC player and they asked me for the reads and i said 'i dont got none' and they went on about what they would do without reads since i didnt have any and it hurt the HH in a way.

Are people getting to caught up in this? The first thing people ask or see....'reads.' Just because a player limps with AA(one of the more obv ones) or checks a nut flush draw on the turn after betting it on the flop. Just because a player plays 1 small hand 1 way, doesnt mean you have a huge amount of info that will later benefit you.
You have to remember, a super LAG still will catch AA every now and then and a donk will still get his AA donked every now and then.

If they are smart enough they will change it. I think people are getting to caught up into this. Sharkscope is the worst. Just because they have -XXX profit or -X ROI(or positive) doesnt mean you should always play 100% different than them and treat there that way. You dont think some of the best players have bad sharkscopes and some of the worst have good ones?

People are getting lies and relying to much on them
 
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Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

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Nice post.

I'll say briefly that you're mainly right - reads only really tend to come in when faced with marginal situations, and as FP said somewhere a while ago, it's the very marginal situations that actually matter the least.

Still, it is important to have reads to be able to provide a complete answer and justification when faced with a marginal hand.

I've used sharkscope once ever to get a 'read'. Some guy open shoved on me for a zillion times the pot on a ragged board when I had an overpair. I quickly booted it up, saw he was a horrible player with a crazily low ROI%, and obviously called (and beat his bottom pair J kicker or something). I probably would have called anyway, but having as much information as possible in poker is in no way a bad thing unless you go around misusing it.
 
Stick66

Stick66

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Misch, hopefully you will have an open mind about what I'm going to say because I agree with some of your statement and disagree with some.

Sharkscope: Overrated. You can tell if they are a tourney or SNG winner or not, but you can't even come close to seeing what KIND of player they are. Loose or tight? Passive or aggressive? How about rings? Nope.

PokerTracker: Very useful for specific stats. If you want to see how much someone raises PF or how often they showdown, PT is the end-all, be-all for that (no offense to Poker Office users, never used it). But to get a complete read on a player, PT can be a bit confusing for less-than-proficient users. Also, I believe a large number of hand samples are needed to get a true read. Possibly 200 or more.

"Reads": An essential part of poker. This is what is meant by the saying "Play the players, not the cards." If you have KJ suited MP, you need reads on the players left behind you to know whether to limp, raise or fold. If they are weak, raise! If they are solid, maybe limp. If they are LAG and might re-raise you with QTo, maybe fold. If you have no reads, what do you do? I'm not the only one who will tell you that reads are as important to poker as needing a deck of cards itself to play.

Great topic, Misch! +rep
 
tenbob

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Nice post Misch.

This can be indeed true if you use these tools at your disposal incorrectly. Considering i dont usually play sit and gos anymore ill discount the sharkscope bit.

But against a NL ring game players that has a VP$IP over 70% (example) ill play a totally different RANGE of hand than someone sitting at 8%. I will use these ranges and base my descions on betting patterns, ill call down light more or less, ill re-raise more or less. But what i certainly wont do is put my money in on any specific hand against them or use this information for a single hand. Ill play it out over the session.

As for MTT play and using the poker db as an example. Generally I wont get much information from it unless im extremly deep, big final tables are an excellent example. Especially when you know that the dude on your right has never hit a final table before, you can use that information to bluff more making the assumption that he playing semi scared. Again I dont use that information for any specific hand more so a range of hands. Youd never know it might be Bill Gates playing for fun under a username like FISHY1000.
 
titans4ever

titans4ever

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I do not have anything for keeping stats other than a spread sheet to track my SnG ROI and another for my BB/100 in cash games. I use what I remember and usually only play one table and pay attention to it while I play.

I think PT and those programs are better at helping your play. Even then you need a couple thousand hands before you have a large enough sample size to help your game.

How many hands do you need against a player before the numbers even come close to helping you out? 200? 1k? You see so many people say sample size matters when analyzing their own game. I know if you play the same level at the same site you will run into the same people but how many sessions do you need with them before you can trust the stats before you?

I make money in cash games without it. I do OK in SnGs. Maybe I would make alittle more if I had it but I play alot live. I don't want to get in the habit of relying on numbers that I don't usually get to see.
 
dj11

dj11

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I'll mostly agree also. But then I will not pretend to be all that great on getting a read on most players. Some are easy, they play too many hands and give away lots of interpretable info.

What I am learning to do is emulate some of those 'tells' so that my 'tells' are the story I want others to read. Becomes my tool.

In tenbobs original rant, I asked for a single sitting word to describe the meta game concept. He didn't offer one, and I can see some definite differences. We all have seen Gus Hansen play, and would have a good idea what his meta game is, or Sammy Farhah. Both LAG, and more than willing to call. Contrast to Chris Fergeson. I get no read on him. I have watched him often.

However, online poker and the meta game tourney or table concepts are similar. If one recognizes that there even is such a thing, and most online players don't, then one should be using the meta game table image as a tool. The big difference is that that image has to be produced, manipulated and exploited quickly.

You guys do have an advantage in that you are playing in more rarified quarters, with much less variety. For the most part the games or tourney's I play seldom have recognizable names, and I can not assign any particular player an enduring table image.

Perhaps the whole notion of the meta game is overblown, or we have not explored it enough to internalize the use of the concept.
 
pokernut

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For me, PT helps me a lot because I am generally 3-4 tabling. I can't always be as attentive to each table as I want to be so just for getting the general stats on a player vp$ip, pfr %, aggr, etc. it can be very helpful. I do agree that it's not something that you strictly follow to make decisions for you, but it helps me a lot in making a quick decision when I haven't been paying a whole lot of attention to the particular table. I also agree that these stats can sometimes give you false or bad perceptions of a player most notably with few hands on them. You never know if they're running really hot, getting a lot of great starting hands which is why their VPIP is so high, or if they're a donk who plays every other hand no matter what if you're not seeing a lot of their hands shown down. It does for me what I need it to do at the table.

I think the stats more often then not represent the player well enough thouogh to help you make a quick decision if you haven't been paying proper attention to the the table.

The bigger help with PT for me is in analyzing my play, but it is helpful with PAHUD when multitabling as stated above.
 
Irexes

Irexes

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Good topic, one I've thought about a lot,

I think I'm with most people on this in that some of these tools are overrated for getting a read (Sharkscope, officialpokerrankings) but I do think that the importance of reads (at least in tourney play) is huge.

I would define a read as any situation where you play a hand differently from the default approach based on information about another player. Honestly I don't think this happens on more than 1 in 10 hands but I do think that it is significant enough to make the difference between poor and decent or decent and good results.

I'm speaking entirely about tournies here and from my own experience, but I in almost every tourny where I have made a final table I have made at least one signifcant play be it a fold, call, bluff or check-raise based on a read on my opponent where I would have done something differently without that piece of information.

I also use reads (ie betting patterns, post flop reaction to hitting or missing or PT stats) to develop strategies against certain opponents which can play out over half a dozen hands and the course of a couple of hours.

Less frequent but important at the business end of tournies I would also include in reads what I think my opponent thinks I have (ie influenced by their reads on me) and what my opponent thinks I think they have (ie what they think my read on them is).

I don't want to overstate it because it's a relatively small % of hands, but it can have a big impact and successful and losing poker are only separated by the tiniest of margins.
 
Ronaldadio

Ronaldadio

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Sharkscope is a funny one. I feel it is helping me at present, but not for the reason you would think.

After a good run in the early days I got over confident and played stakes that were way out of my league.

Now I know I`m not a superb player, but I would guess being a semi serious player like most of us on this site, I`m probably above average. I would say more than above average when I dropped from $50 buy in`s to play $5/10 buy in SNG`s.

What I have found is that some ppl look at my stats, see a loss and assume I`m crap!!! Great for me and especially if I suck out unintentially in a hand. I was told last week when I pushed with A6 against a shortstack who pushed all in with 1010 (caught A on flop) "Fish!!! What was that all about. I have checked your stats on Sharkscope, no wonder you are a losing player" (I had raised 3 times bb on button, bb pushed all in and it cost me 2 more bb`s to call)

Having this knowledge, I only use SS when I have seen a guy suck out on a regular basis.

I`m crap on PC`s and I can`t use PT - aint got the patience!!!
 
Stefanicov

Stefanicov

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i read patterns more thn anything else they arer a godsend. 80% of the peoople online will play certain hands certain ways so u can pick up so much info from betting patterns etc. As for reads hey are worth as much as a bag of sugah coz i know i will play the same hand 2 different ways in consecutive hands so it is easy to fool pple with reads on you
 
beardyian

beardyian

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As much as i have a love of all things numerical, stats etc i have always found things like PokerTracker / Office along with PAHud and the other little add-ons and 'helpers' a constant off-putter to the actual game.

I keep track of my cash game and tourneys etc, to gather information i watch the other players, how they play and if i see a pattern or a constant style of play appearing then i will make a note or 2 on them and adjust to it accordingly.

What i think im saying is - i dont really get on with the extra software, i think i have given most a go at some point and probably found myself turning it off or ignoring it and playing game without it.

I think i have played enough by now to know when i have done well or not (satisfied with game or could have played better etc).

Perhaps i am missing out on something but figures are a constant story whilst each game is a different tale.
 
R

Riedel

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I don't use sharkscope for "reads" on players, but do use statistics (PT) about villains. Villain's stats weigh the odds.
 
J

joeeagles

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PT I don't have yet, but from what I understand its useful in analyzing your game for sure, have no idea how useful it is in reading other players.

Sharkscope to me is almost pointless, unless someone's stats are awesome (in which case you can assume player has to be at least decent). I really don't put too much into it. I do use it on FTs when we're 5/6 handed, but I can't say yet that I got 1st place instead of 2nd because of it.

Reads are, instead, important. I usually try to take notes on showdowns, but this mostly after the 1st break when the "limping", typical of the first levels of the tournies at the stakes I play, is finally gone for the most part. Before the break you only make note of the ones with alot of action after the flop, the starting hand doesn't really matter given the loose, "limpey" conditions, ( you know the drill, K2s or any 2 sooooooted and they limp in) but after the flop look for tricky stuff like check/raises on the flop or turn, slowplaying, semibluffs and how they play drawing hands, do they check call with them, raise when they're in position and so forth. At every showdown you look at HH and see which player raised PF and with what hand, if there was a PF reraise and with what hand, how he played the flop, if he check/raised, bet even if he missed, how much he bet, what other villain called down with etc., all the above in an effort to spot patterns. Showdowns give alot of info and based on how the hand was played out it can potentially give you an edge later. This note taking on showdowns isn't very hard to do because usually there aren't too many of them, but they are the best source and the most reliable when you happen to see quite a few.

Another read I try to weigh in tournies is how "active" a player is PF. How many times he raises, calls raises, reraises and defends his blinds. With these you do have to be careful though, because you're right when you say even a LAG will get dealt AA every now and then, and the measure of how "active", w/o getting to see his hole cards, is still classified as incomplete information. Of course, if player is "very active" some assumptions are legit. If he raises every time he's on the button or CO in an uncontested pot you take not of that.

What I think is overrated in tournies is when you simply label a player as TAG or LAG, because any decent player during the course of the tourney will change pace continually, particularly PF, which is very important in the later stages when stealing becomes a priority. Occasionally I'll reraise in position with T9s or 86s against an active PF player, and more times than not I've been successful doing it, getting him to fold. A few times I've won showdowns reraising with that type of hand, but then I'll tighten up after that for obvious reasons. So one must assume all the better players will change pace during tournies and that is something you must remember always. But nevertheless, reads are still important.
 
HartAttack3

HartAttack3

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I must say poker tracker has helped me in ring games so much. The numbers that and PA HUD give me are amazing. Given the numbers and the raises I can usually know the villains cards before I call, and it helps a lot. When I notice a player doesnt play many hands and raises big its much different from a player who plays more hands, also very helpful for hand ranges post-flop. If I see someone doesnt play many hands but they call me bet I usually respect them for something other than a draw but when someone who plays a lot or gets the fish tags in my PT I make them pay.
 
Effexor

Effexor

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Poker is about trying to make good decisions based on very limited information, thats why you raise good hands, bet to see where you are in the hand, pay attention to betting patterns etc etc. Any tool that can possibly give you some information might be useful, might not. It's not like it's an exact science. I recently had a Stud hand that illustrates this:
full tilt poker Game #2602081702: Table Industrial - $0.25/$0.50 Ante $0.05 - Limit Seven Card Stud - 1:04:15 ET - 2007/06/07
Seat 1: LReed54 ($5)
Seat 2: smmonster ($5.55)
Seat 3: EYEGUY66 ($7.65)
Seat 4: xxLurchxx ($15.75)
Seat 5: superAAman ($3.80)
Seat 6: DAndrews ($5.80)
Seat 7: Effexor ($14.95)
Seat 8: tonyrdel ($23.85)
LReed54 antes $0.05
DAndrews antes $0.05
EYEGUY66 antes $0.05
Effexor antes $0.05
superAAman antes $0.05
tonyrdel antes $0.05
smmonster antes $0.05
xxLurchxx antes $0.05
*** 3RD STREET ***
Dealt to LReed54 [As]
Dealt to smmonster [8c]
Dealt to EYEGUY66 [Qs]
Dealt to xxLurchxx [6s]
Dealt to superAAman [Jd]
Dealt to DAndrews [2c]
Dealt to Effexor [3c 5c] [Qc]
Dealt to tonyrdel [2d]
DAndrews is low with [2c]
DAndrews brings in for $0.10
Effexor calls $0.10
tonyrdel folds
LReed54 calls $0.10
smmonster completes it to $0.25
EYEGUY66 folds
xxLurchxx folds
superAAman raises to $0.50
DAndrews folds
Effexor calls $0.40
LReed54 folds
smmonster calls $0.25
*** 4TH STREET ***
Dealt to smmonster [8c] [9c]
Dealt to superAAman [Jd] [3s]
Dealt to Effexor [3c 5c Qc] [7s]
Effexor checks
smmonster checks
superAAman bets $0.25
Effexor calls $0.25
smmonster folds
*** 5TH STREET ***
Dealt to superAAman [Jd 3s] [5s]
Dealt to Effexor [3c 5c Qc 7s] [Jc]
Effexor checks
superAAman bets $0.50
Effexor calls $0.50
*** 6TH STREET ***
Dealt to superAAman [Jd 3s 5s] [Kd]
Dealt to Effexor [3c 5c Qc 7s Jc] [7d]
Effexor checks
superAAman bets $0.50
Effexor calls $0.50
*** 7TH STREET ***
Dealt to Effexor [3c 5c Qc 7s Jc 7d] [Ad]
Effexor checks
superAAman bets $0.50
Effexor calls $0.50
*** SHOW DOWN ***
superAAman shows [Ts 7h Jd 3s 5s Kd 7c] (a pair of Sevens)
Effexor shows [Ad 5c Qc 7s Jc 7d 3c] (a pair of Sevens)
Effexor wins the pot ($5.35) with a pair of Sevens
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $5.60 | Rake $0.25
Seat 1: LReed54 folded on 3rd St.
Seat 2: smmonster folded on 4th St.
Seat 3: EYEGUY66 folded on 3rd St.
Seat 4: xxLurchxx folded on 3rd St.
Seat 5: superAAman showed [Ts 7h Jd 3s 5s Kd 7c] and lost with a pair of Sevens
Seat 6: DAndrews folded on 3rd St.
Seat 7: Effexor showed [Ad 5c Qc 7s Jc 7d 3c] and won ($5.35) with a pair of Sevens
Seat 8: tonyrdel folded on 3rd St.

With ANY other person, I'd have folded this long long ago. But this person hand after hand after hand, bet every street, and the one time he was called down had shown Ace high. The same thing happens at the end of MTT's, if I notice that someone is playing super tight, I loosen up and put some pressure on to steal blinds.

Reads, PT stats etc. are all parts of a big picture, you still might be the blind men describing an elephant to each other, but it's still better than having no information at all.
 
Emperor IX

Emperor IX

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Great post Effexor, definitely gets the point across :)

To be honest, I usually don't profile players online, I got forums to read (here, MRU) and my 360 to play usually. But generally I get involved in pots with the same people, so I can usuually judge loose/tight pending on how often I see them at showdown. I'm a hybrid TAG/LAG player, I switch gears constantly to throw people off, so I know whose raises I can take with a grain of salt and whose say "back off guy". For the most part I just play my good hands and outplay when I get a bad one. But when something scary is on the board like a pair and I don't have the third, and there has been no reads on players pre flop, I'll usually bet out to see where I am, and depending on who calls, be prepared to bet more come the turn.
 
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