I am making progress out of my downswing in terms of bets, but only 1/3 of the way out in terms of money, as much of the recover has been at lower stakes.

Building upon on my previous post about information bias (a.k.a information binge), I have not been using a HUD to display my opponents’ stats for the past two weeks or so. I’ve lost R2, switched off my targeting computer, and have been using only the force. OK not really. 🙂

In the past on 2p2 there have been many pro/con discussions about the use of heads-up displays. I have always scoffed at the people who shunned the use of HUDs. Poker is a war of information and the opponent with more information has an advantage, right? While I still believe this is true, the thing I have failed to appreciate is the fact there is a lot of information not contained in the HUD stats, AND the fact that the human brain can only process a certain amount of data per time. It is my job to prune the highest value data to inform my decisions at the tables.

HUD data by its very nature is static. It represents the overall average of your past experiences with a particular opponent. Treating the data strictly this way is equivalent to treating your opponent like an emotionless robot. As much as I (and my opponents) might attempt to play without emotion, we are still human and we all ’tilt’ to some degree.

In pouring over HUD stats during a particular hand, it might be very easy to miss a really bad beat an opponent just took on another table. It is even easier to miss the fact that this same opponent is acting slightly faster than normal on all of his decisions in the hands immediately following this bad beat. This is very valuable tilt-related information, information that would probably be missed while pondering a thin river call by examining my current opponent’s river check-raise percentage, for example.

With that being said, I think it is a big mistake to completely throw out HUD data. There has to be some sort of optimal mixture of using HUD data as a baseline and then shading that information in light of current game-flow data. A big part of this going forward will be characterizing my regular opponents. How easily do they tilt? What does their tilt look like? To what degree do they tilt? How can I take advantage of that tilt? Another big challenge will be to display HUD data while not relying on it or looking at it too much. I just know there will be a huge urge for me to click my opponent’s HUD and examine the more detailed stats in the pop up, at the same time paying less attention to the other tables. I guess I can just disable all HUD popups. Yeah, I think I will give that a try.

I will end with another quote from Tommy Angelo’s Elements of Poker:

I play poker on a need to know basis. I need to know the thoughts my opponents are thinking. I need to know the feelings they are feeling. And I need to know the cards they are playing. Meanwhile, I need them to know as little as possible about me. I call this relationship the information war.