Poker Player Profiling

Most of our Poker energy is spent finding and devouring the recreational players. The trouble is, other regs’ like you are doing just the same. You’ve likely got into these ‘raising wars’ in the process, kind of ‘who has the last bet’ scenarios. Sometimes the only way to get a great read on these troublesome regs’ is to do a poker player analysis. Discovering how they construct their hand ranges and creating player notes, will have you beating the regs and picking you up a nice boost to your winrate.

Have you ever played with someone who just seems to have your number almost every time? It would be easy (and foolish) to assume this player was just getting luck against you. We all tend to think were the best player at the table, but in reality this is obviously not the case. So to really get ahead or at least keep up, we have to put the work in.

This process will help you three-fold

a)      Make you more profitable vs them (or keep them off your back i.e. lose less)

b)      Help you understand that player type better

c)       Help you understand where you are weak and are being exploited

I do two-types of profiling: A shorter one for <2.5K of hands and an advanced one for >2.5k of hands. This because anything less than 2.5k usually produces around 100 or so showdowns so it’s easy to just go through them all. Well above 2.5k though and we need to streamline the process with a few filters.

<2.5k hands profiling: 

Select ‘Hero’ as your chosen nemesis’ name instead and open up the replayer.

i) Stats – Check each stat’ in your HUD. Write down anything glaring over a decent sample e.g. a 25% UTG open, or anything extreme over a small sample e.g. Fold to cbet IP 0/5. This will help us construct ranges and counter strategies later.

ii) Pop up stats – Maybe you’ve not taken the time to look through the pop ups in play so we’ll do it now. Does anything stand out? Does he call 3bets an absurd % on the button? Does he give up after check-raising the flop? Knowing these things can really help you out when deciding to call down or not. Stat ‘vs hero’ are especially useful.

iii) Showdowns – Now look at all those hands that went to showdown. In HEM2 it’s: More filters > Basic filters > Common filters > Showdown = true. Combining our stat notes and these hands we should be able to put together some ranges. Especially paying attention to what he does vs Hero.

>2.5k hands profiling:

With many hands we can filter specifically for spots not just showdown ones, so clear all filters. You will still find you don’t have enough info’ in spots, but a few quick converging lines will give you plenty to work with. I look for:

Opening range and sizing’s – you can filter out premiums holecards here and see what comes up from certain positions.

3bets IP/OOP range and look into how he proceeds postflop – note sizing’s

Calling 3bet range

Cbets – bet-folded, double and triple barrels (look for/or filter bet sizing’s (overbets etc.)

Missed cbets – check flop IP as PFR (note texture he checks back), check-calls OOP, check-raised as PFR

Vs cbets – check-raising and IP raising range

Donking range

At this point you will likely go off on a tangent, further filtering on things you’ve already find out.

Using the info

So you’ve got a mass of lovely new info’, but just pasting it into the HUD note taker is not going to be really effective. Just like a new strategy its best to sprinkle the info in. So at first just paste in from your notes some main adjustments. In mine it looks like this:


You can see above here I have just a few things to remind how I need to react to this players tendencies.

Ex: Instead of having the note: ‘called my cbet and double barrel with 3rd pair OOP and checked it down‘, I just have ‘bluff 1 or 3 IP’. This indicates to me exactly what I need to do as this chap has a fold to cbet of 60% OOP but once he calls he’s the type of player to call again on the turn in the hope you give up on the river.

I’ve found doing it this way, its’ just one less thing to think about and has proved to be a really productive way of using the notes efficiently.

Once we know off-by-heart these ‘to-the-point’ adjustments, I move onto the less occurring counter strategies. You have enough to contend with in general, so don’t overwhelm yourself with info’ or you’ll just end up not using it at all.

When they re-adjust

As long as you don’t make your new found knowledge obvious, a re-adjustment should come slow, if at all. Don’t over-do it, and keep him in your pocket. Most regs’ are progressing like you and strategies change over time, but you can always readjust yourself. That’s what’s it’s all about after all; reacting to your opponents in real time and employing the perfect counter strategy.

Mirroring Success

Because we have many hands with this sample size, we can get a good handle on the report stats (the stats you see when analysing your own game in the reports section). E.g. is he more successful with his ‘3bet success’ than you are? If so how? Check in detail these hands and the opponents they were versus. There’s nothing wrong with mirroring another regs’ qualities and adding it to your own game.

I promise if you put in the work, you’ll be glad you did!


Up Next… Advanced HUD Configuring

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  1. Willian says:

    Great post man, thanks for sharing it.
    At small stakes I have notice that once you got the basics of a reg’s play he usually will play like other regs with the same traits.

    Best Regards,

    Willian Mates

  2. Cinch says:

    Hey Willian, thanks for the comment.

    I agree with you to a point, but I think once we have good samples on our opponents I try to get away from generalizing and tailor my bets to the individual.


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