Poker Stat Disparity (Theory & Application)

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After reading the title you may be a bit confused as to WTF I’m talking about.  First off, what is poker stat disparity?  A disparity in poker stats is simply a difference between stats…and this difference can be quite helpful once understood.  I’ve spoken in the past about the gaps between stats (simple gaps such as the difference between the VPIP and PFR to gaps such as foldVflopCB and foldVturnCB), and these gaps can be very useful when creating +EV lines.  To show an example of this, look at Villian 170’s stats…in particular his In-Position flop and turn CB:

poker stat disparity

The Ninja Poker Tracker 4 Hud w/ custom pop-up

Notice that he is Cbetting the flop in position 68% of the time yet only Cbetting the turn in position 13% of the time.  There is obviously a huge disparity between those two numbers…and anytime there is a huge disparity there is usually a simple way to exploit that poker player.  This is similar to anything in poker though; anytime someone does something too often or too little it’s easy to exploit them.  So in this situaiton he’s CBetting too often on the flop, and then being way too straight forward on the turn.  And the cool thing is that it gives us info if he checks the turn…as well as gives us information the times he bets the turn.  If he rarely Cbets the turn, then when he does double barrel it’s likely with a strong hand.

Now there are some things you want to consider when looking for stat disparities, and of course before creating strategies against your opponent.  First is sample size.  You are going to be able to use a VPIP and PFR disparity much faster than you’ll be able to use TurnCB and River CB disparity.  The smaller your sample size, the less useful your stats will be and the less you’ll want to make huge strategic adjustments.  Secondly, think about history/dynamic.  A player might have a huge disparity between flopCB and turnCB overall, but against YOU it may be much less of a gap.  And third, use disparity to get ideas and create plays, but keep gathering more data and adjust/re-adjust overtime.  A player may have a large disparity today, but overtime he may improve and close the gap…making your over-adjusted strategy a losing one a month from now.

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To break it down simply, the theory is that any huge disparity is easily exploited.  As for the application, there are many!  For instance, here are two disparities I am actively looking for and a simple way to exploit either:

  • Low FoldvFlopCB & High FoldvTurnCB: Against these people I will double barrel a ton of bluffs because they are playing so tight and straight forward on the turn, yet getting to the turn with a lot of hands.
  • Low Foldv3Bet & High FoldvFlopCBin3BetPot: Against these people I will 3bet a lot of bluffs and CB pretty much every flop, regardless of the texture.  They are giving 3-bets action too liberally but playing too weak/tight when they call the 3Bet.

And for the record, a disparity doesn’t necessarily need to be a high/low or low/high disparity.  For instance, I often times look for players who have a high steal % AND have a high FoldvResteal so that I can resteal a bunch of junk and show a lot of outright profit.  I do suggest that you think a bit about stat disparities and how to use them in your own game.  Think about easy spots to look for (bluff 3bets, value 3bets, flopCBs, and double barrels), and then also consider complicated multi-street bluffs (like Low Foldv3Bet + Low FoldvCBin3BetPot + High FoldvTurnCBin3Bet Pot).  Remember to keep sample size in mind, but look for players who do any one thing too often and make simple strategic adjustments to exploit them!

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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