My previous articles on poker calculators have not included information on Poker Prophecy because in essence it is NOT an online poker odds calculator. However, it does something equally as valuable in that it displays your opponents overall win rate at the poker site you play. Whether you play at Party Poker, Poker Stars, Ultimate Bet, or a selection of others, Poker Prophecy keeps sit and go records for you whether you are at the table or not. Is it useful? Yes, it absolutely is. If you play sit and go tables even once in awhile, this is the one online poker program that can pay for itself in the same day. In an ideal world you would want to use your poker calculator alongside Poker Prophecy. Now, if you are wondering how knowing an opponent’s win rate will help you, keep reading.
In effect, you can your opponent’s win rate against them. Although you can change the levels of classifications on Poker Prophecy I prefer to use the provided win rate categorizations – as they seem to be right on. To win a sit and go tournament you will be in several hands along the way that are game critical intersects. In saying that, would you want your opponent to be someone that you’ve never played against, or a regular that you have played hundreds, or even thousands of times?
A win rate is determined by adding all the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes and dividing by games played. These rates create 3 player categories. Here are some strategies to use against all of them.
37% or higher – Professional: Anyone with this win rate knows how to play tight/aggressive and does so with incredible patience and discipline. They will not be bluffing early, and will almost always have the best hand when all in. However, their weakness lies in that very foundation, in that they are the easiest players at the table to bluff out of a pot. If you try this often, they will trap you, but if you selectively come over the top in a big way, these players will not call on hands like top or middle pair, mediocre draws, or flop boards that have a lot of chemistry. Stay away from them if they come in early position with a raise. Fold your AJ, KQ, 66, 33, and the like, unless you are short stacked, then over the top is your only play. At this level, players are proud of their win rate and absolutely hate to go out first, or early in a tournament. If you can threaten to cut into their bankroll, they will pause and fold to your aggressive re-raising.
20.01% to 36.9% – Average: These players are the most dangerous in that they may have tendencies of being solid and weak, many of them in poker learning stages that may well be improving. I find the reason why these online poker players are stuck in this zone is that they can’t let go of draws, even when pot odds justify an obvious fold. The course of action here is basically straight up, unless you have some other indication of their play. If you have them on an obvious draw, bet solid. If the river is a brick add one small bet to cap it off, and hope for a re-raise. In game play, they are the ones to watch most in order to help build an identity.
0% to 20% – Fish: Don’t bluff, don’t bluff, and for God sakes, don’t bluff. These are the players who are most often asked – “How did you call with that?” They are the lowest grade opponents for a reason, but can double up ON YOU if you don’t play straight up against them. However, that makes them the most susceptible to being trapped and/or slow played. And that’s what you want to do while avoid being drawn out on an ugly gut shot straight. If you want them out of the hand, all-in is your only play, but make sure you are way ahead. If not, calling/checking down, and folding to a huge river bet is safer. These players will see so many hands and raises that you are sure to get a better shot at them later – if they happen to survive.
Poker Prophecy also has other statistics which you should read for every table you join because they have a huge impact on a players TRUE win rate.
How many games have they played? The more they have played (100+) the more that category is true to their fundamental playing style. If your opponent has a 62% win rate but has only played 13 games, you are essentially playing blind – the win rate is a non-factor, save for representing a streak.
What buy-in are they playing compared to what they usually play? Someone could be on a bad losing streak at the $50 buy in, and finds himself trying to bankroll at the $10 buy ins. They may tend to be more impatient and inclined to tilt. On the other hand, moving up a level or two usually means the player is going to be much tighter.
Conflicting styles. If you discover a pro-rated player in a lot of weak hands, and playing carelessly, you may be seated with the spouse/friend of the account holder. I often come across this and pay close attention to that player so that I can override the category myself.
By Marty Smith
Martin Smith is webmaster of http://www.PokerCalculatorReport.com where all the online poker calculators are tested and reviewed, including Sit and Go Shark, Calculatem Pro, and Poker Spy. He is also editor of http://www.PokerBookReport.com You can contact Martin Smith at support@PokerCalculatorReport.com