When first setting up a poker heads up display or database, poker players often wonder which statistics to use. Most database software has seemingly endless statistics, with some that have hundreds. Before getting overwhelmed players should keep in mind that, although many statistics can be useful, there are a few that are so crucial that every single player should use them. Perhaps the most important of these crucial statistics is VPIP.
VPIP, or “voluntarily put money in the pot”, is the term used to describe the percentage of hands a player chooses to play and is a strong indicator of the average hand strength of that player. VPIP is calculated by taking the total number of hands a player chooses to play by putting money in the pot and dividing it by the total number of hands dealt to a player. For example, if a player chooses to play 20 hands and is dealt 100 hands, his VPIP would be .20.
It is important to note that a player must choose to put the money in the pot for that hand to count towards calculating VPIP. A hand that a player plays in the big blind would not count towards VPIP, unless there was a point after the cards were dealt in which the big blind put money in, such as a preflop raise or betting action after the flop. Similarly, the small blind does not count towards VPIP unless the small blind completes the bet.
VPIP is best used as part of the way to determine the general strategy a player is using. Someone with a low VPIP is playing primarily strong hands, while a player with a high VPIP is playing a much wider range of hands. VPIP can also be used to determine a player’s positional awareness. If a player's VPIP is incrementally higher as their table position improves (lowest in early position and highest on the button), it is safe to assume they have some level of competence and should be played against accordingly.
Calculating the VPIP parameter could be a difficult task, especially if you are a beginner. Magic Holdem has developed a VPIP meter. Using the MagicHoldem VPIP Poker Meter will help you integrate this important factor in your game with minimal efforts.