A Question of VP$IP

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pop quiz for you PokerTracker and Hold'em Manager users.

To preserve a VP$IP of 100%, what must you do every time the table limps to you in the big blind?

VP$IP is arguably the most common statistic in online poker. It appears in strategy discussions across the internet and, increasingly, in books. Along with PFR and AF, it's one of the "Big 3"[1] statistics whose shorthand notation has confused newbies on Two Plus Two and Pocket Fives since time immemorial.

24/12/1.5

Yet for all that, the average player has a fuzzy idea at best about how VP$IP is actually calculated. Like if you gave them an infinite amount of patience and an infinite amount of time and asked them to calculate VP$IP by hand, they couldn't do it. This fuzziness vis-a-vis the common PT/HM statistical framework prompted Asshole Jack to famously declare, one stormy night at around 3 in the morning at Denny's:

Sometimes it seems like players interpret their PT/HM stats on auto-pilot, in a sort of wandering daze, based on equal parts superstition, experience, and half-digested forum ramblings. They use PokerTracker, and they win, so they assume they're using PokerTracker correctly. But when you poke and prod their PokerTracker knowledge, it's all echoes and vapor.

Poker is full of so many loosely-wired imponderables and mathematical rabbit holes, players ignore the concrete, factual, easily-memorized stuff at their peril. Stuff like the Sklansky-Chubukov rankings, basic ICM push/fold strategy, or that dog-eared Hold'em outs chart that few players ever get around to actually memorizing. (After all, the Rule of 4 and 2 gets you close enough. Most of the time.)

By the way, the answer to our riddle is different in PokerTracker 3 and prior than it is for PokerTracker 4. Stay tuned for an explanation (complete with scatter graphs!) from the PokerTracker team.

[1] Our term. Based on the "Big 3" of C++ programming, a derivative of the generic Big 3.

Tags: Hold'em Manager, PokerTracker, VP$IP, online poker, poker strategy, poker

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