Every serious online player knows just how important stats are in poker. They can tell you so much about other players and help you adjust your play accordingly.
With a big enough hand sample, you can deconstruct someone’s game, discover all of their leaks, and take full advantage of them every time you get to sit at the same table with that player.
But, for the stats to really help you, it’s important to know how to interpret them correctly.
If you’ve ever checked out a piece of poker software like Poker Tracker 4, you probably know that the number of different stats is quite overwhelming. This shouldn’t scare you, though, and the best approach is to start with the simplest ones and work your way up.
This article will look into VPIP poker stat, arguably the simplest but also one of the most important stats you can have on someone.
Short for Voluntarily Put (Money) In Pot, this number tells you how frequently a player gets involved in pots when they have no money invested (i.e., they aren’t playing from the blinds).
The VPIP poker stat doesn’t make any distinction between the actions – it simply adds together all hands you’ve seen a player get involved, whether it is by limping, calling a raise, or raising themselves.
It tells you about the player’s general tendencies, how loose or tight they are before the flop and can be a very good indicator of an experienced player, a fish, or something in-between the two.
What Is VPIP in Poker?
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Like every other stat, poker VPIP is shown in your HUD as a percentage. The way this number is calculated is quite straightforward.
The software takes the total number of hands the player has voluntarily put money into the pot, divides it with the overall total of hands you have on the player, and then turns it into a percentage.
For example, someone with 500 hands in your database and 80 times played in those situations would show 16% (80/500*100).
So, if you’ve been wondering what is VPIP in poker and how it is calculated, now you know.
It’s not a particularly fancy stat, and it’s definitely not as complex as some of the other ones you have in your tracker, but that doesn’t make it any less useful.
One great thing about VPIP poker stat is that it doesn’t require that many hands to give you a pretty good idea of the player type you’re dealing with.
To gauge someone’s correct 3-bet percentage, you’ll need to play a few thousand hands against them, at least.
With VPIP, if someone has played 90 out of the last 200 hands, it’s highly unlikely they’ve just been hit with such a hot run of cards. If they’d played 200+ hands out of the last 500, it’s pretty safe to assume you’re dealing with a loose player.
Of course, all of this feels a bit abstract. Someone’s poker VPIP is shown as a percentage, and if the number is very extreme on either side, you can probably draw some conclusions on your own. But what happens when the picture isn’t so clear?
Correctly Reading the VPIP Poker Stat
Luckily, the poker tracking software and stats have been around for quite a while now, so players new to them don’t have to spend too much time trying to figure out answers on their own.
Experienced players and students on twoplustwo NVG poker forums have kindly provided the community with many useful studies and analyses that you can fully rely on.
When it comes to poker VPIP, there are certain thresholds you can use to put a player in a certain group quickly.
While these aren’t set in stone and may change as you pick up more hands on someone, they represent very good general guidelines for six-max games:
- VPIP under 14% indicates a very tight player who probably only gets involved with premium hands.
- 15% to 23% VPIP. Players in these brackets are usually what you’d call a TAG. They have a solid selection of preflop hands that consists mostly of strong holdings but don’t shy away from mixing things up with some non-premiums if the position and the situation warrant it.
- VPIP between 24% and 33% indicates that the player is on a looser side. While some of these players can still be quite good, those on the far end of the spectrum tend to play too many speculative hands and get themselves into tricky spots after the flop.
- Poker VPIP of over 34% is a sign of a very loose player. The higher the number, the looser they are. You can know about this player right away because they hate folding and will happily get involved with very mediocre hands even when faced with big bets.
Of course, poker isn’t a linear game, and there are always some exceptions to the rules. There are players out there who can successfully pull a very high VPIP poker stat and remain profitable.
However, in general, someone playing more than 35% of their starting range will struggle to make money as they’ll often start from behind and need to catch up.
When it comes to players with very low VPIP, they take the idea that “tight is right” too far. Their preflop approach is very conservative and inflexible, which causes them to lose a lot of value and makes them very easy to play against.
Making Adjustments Based on Poker VPIP Information
The whole point of having stats is to figure out your opponent and then adjust your own strategy so that it tackles any leaks or inconsistencies you happen to recognize. Changing your decisions according to new information is vital in all fields of life, and poker is not an exception.
Usually, you won’t need to make adjustments based on someone’s VPIP alone, but it’s still good to have some general idea about changes you can implement against different types of opponents.
Low VPIPs: Attack Their Blinds & Don’t Pay Them Off
Players with the extremely low poker VPIP stat tend to be very easy to “push around.” These players are simply reluctant to get involved, and you need to ready to punish this.
One of the best ways to do it is to relentlessly attack their blinds.
They’ll fold so often that raising against them every time you’re in the late position will be making you automatic profit.
However, when these players do get involved by raising or 3-betting your raise, you need to proceed carefully. You can be pretty certain they’re doing it with a very top-heavy part of the range, and they’ll have you in bad shape.
This doesn’t mean that you always have to fold against them, though. Since these players generally tend to overvalue strong hands, such as big pocket pairs, you’ll often have great implied odds against them.
For example, trying to flop a set when in position when they 3-bet you is often the right approach because they’ll frequently proceed to give you their entire stack with an over-pair to the board.
Tackling Loose Players
On the other end of the spectrum are players with very high VPIP. These players love seeing flops and are reluctant to fold hands that have any kind of playability – suited and unsuited connectors, weak aces, etc.
Your main adjustment against players with very high poker VPIP should be to go for the max value with your big hands before the flop.
Since you already know they don’t like to fold, you can increase the size of your raises and 3-bets, especially once they’ve already shown interest in the pot.
Don’t worry too much about telegraphing the strength of your hand because they’re mostly focused on their hand and the kind of flop they’d like to see.
Do, however, be aware that playing later streets against these players can be tricky. Because their preflop range is so wide, they can connect with a wide variety of board textures and will often show up with a hand they “shouldn’t” have.
That’s all the more reason to try and get as much money into the middle before the flop against them. Lowering the stack to pot ration as much as possible before the flop will often leave them pot committed later on and will make the hand easier to play and reduce the possibility of making any big mistakes.
Handling the Regulars
Players with the VPIP poker stat in the normal range are usually solid players who know what they’re doing. While they can still have some preflop leaks, you’ll struggle to figure that out based on VPIP alone.
In general, players with standard VPIP poker numbers shouldn’t be your primary target at the table unless you have some very specific read or other information.
If you have several easy targets in a game, there is very little incentive to enter big pots with players who seem to be solid and won’t be in any hurry to give you their money.
These confrontations can’t be completely avoided, of course, and you shouldn’t shy away from them, but your gameplan should always focus on the players from one of the previous two groups.
Combining VPIP with other Stats
As explained, it’s very uncommon (if not completely impossible) to only have someone’s poker VPIP.
If you’re using a tracking program, it will provide you with a variety of other stats. Combining these numbers with someone’s VPIP percentage can help you create a much more accurate of someone’s in-game tendencies.
Preflop Raise (PFR)
Knowing how often someone raises before the flop can definitely tell you a lot about the player.
There is a big difference between passive players who just call a lot and players with high VPIP who also have a high PFR percentage.
You will notice that solid players (regs) usually have VPIP and PFR numbers that are only a few points apart, something like 26/22 or 19/16.
This is because winning players don’t call a lot when not in the blinds. A good player will pretty much never open limp and will very rarely limp behind. When facing a raise, they’ll mix their range with some flat calls and some 3-bets.
In these other categories, however, you’ll find all sorts of combinations.
For example, there will be players with very high poker VPIP stat but extremely low PFR.
These are what’s known as “calling stations.” They will give you very little problem as these players only raise and 3-bet with the strongest part of their range and call with everything else.
Then, there are those with high VPIP and very high PFR as well.
These are the so-called “maniacs” in poker slang. Players with this combo aren’t afraid to put their chips on the line and can put you in difficult situations because they don’t shy away from bluffing or even calling all-ins with weak hands to try their luck.
You will beat them in the long run, but it can definitely increase your variance if you have many of them in your games.
Combining PFR and VPIP can be very powerful. As soon as you have a decent number of hands on someone, you’ll be able to figure out what their playing style is and adjust accordingly.
Crazy aggressive players are harder to handle but will give you big pots when you have the nuts. Passive high VPIPs are easy to play against, as you’ll be able to win many medium-sized pots against them without breaking a sweat.
Preflop 3-bet is the final stat in the preflop trifecta that can help you rally round up someone’s game.
As mentioned before, it may take a little while to gather a relevant sample of hands to fully understand someone’s 3-bet ranges, but it happens naturally as you play online, and the same players keep popping up in your games.
In most cases, someone’s 3-bet percentage will correspond with their VPIP and PFR numbers.
Regulars will have balanced ranges, and very tight players will usually have a super-low 3-bet percentage heavily weighted towards the very top few hands.
It is with the loose aggressive players that you’ll have to pay attention to this stat particularly.
Someone with a VPIP of 40% and 3-bet of 14% is clearly not shy to attack your raises, so you’ll want to adjust accordingly.
You want to play against these players, but you also want to have the goods when you do it. If they’re overdoing it with 3-bets on top of playing too many hands as it is, the easiest way to punish them is by waiting for good hands and letting them stack off.
Against someone with a high VPIP but very low 3-bet, you need to be very careful. Their poker VPIP tells you they’re happy to play smaller pots and see many flops. So, when they start raising you before the flop, there is usually a good reason for it.
It’s easy to make a mistake and tell yourself they’re just a loose player, and it means nothing. VPIP in poker and 3-bet are two different stats, and you need to observe them in correlation but separately.
Someone with a very low 3-bet is clearly doing it just with strong hands, even if their VPIP is 60%+.
Summary: Don’t Underestimate the Value of VPIP Poker Stats
The VPIP poker stat is such a simple yet such a powerful number. It tells you so much about the player sitting across from you, and it does so after playing a fairly small number of hands.
So, don’t make the mistake of underestimating its value or fall into the trap of thinking that everything valuable needs to be very complex. Sometimes, even in poker, things are just what they seem.
Someone’s VPIP will often tell you just the kind of player they are, and every now and again, that will be all you need.
Of course, you can and should take advantage of other poker stats available to you to fine-tune your strategy, but VPIP will provide you with the key piece of information.
Keep this in mind the next time you play and see someone’s VPIP is off the charts. Very few stats in poker are so pure, simple, and easy to utilize to your advantage!