VPIP is probably the most useful statistic in poker that we can expect to use during our sessions reliably. Why? Because it can inform our decisions after only a few hundred hands played with someone. Not after ten hands or even 50, but after a few hundred it can give us a substantial amount of information about someone’s poker game. We can also better understand which combinations of hands they hold in a given situation.
This stat also correlates to how good a player is. It is hard to use alone sometimes, but if it is above or below specific markers, we have precise information. I will share some essential insights you can gain about players based on this straightforward statistic. We will first cover what the statistic means. If you already know, feel free to skip this next paragraph.
VPIP or Voluntarily put money in the pot means that you had the option to fold or put money in the pot and you chose to put money in the pot… that simple! So if you are on the button and you call for one big blind that is a positive count for your VPIP ratio (expressed as a percentage). If you sit down to play in the big blind and the button raises, and you fold you have “VPIP’d” zero times. Next hand in the small blind, the button calls for one big blind or limps in, and you complete your small blind. That small blind complete you could have folded, but you chose to put in money voluntarily. Now you have VPIP’d one time in two hands. The following hand, you are on the button, and you raise it to three times the blind, this is a VPIP action. You raised, you put money in, you “Vee piped”! You now will have a VPIP of 33% because of the three hands you have played you put money into the pot voluntarily in two of them (2/3 = 33%). Pretty simple, now let us learn how to use it.
How to use VPIP
I use VPIP mostly to evaluate if I am in a good game or not. There is a lot that goes into whether players are good or bad, but some things are hard to overcome. Playing a lot of hands pre-flop, is one of them. It is hard to make money at poker if you play 50% or more of your hands pre-flop. Let’s see how much people typically win based on their pre-flop stats only.
As you can see in the image above, play too tight, and you lose. You will not steal the blinds often enough, and when you do play a hand, everyone knows what your range looks like, making yourself an easy opponent. Either play too many hands pre-flop, and you end up often folding, or often losing at showdown. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle, and that depends on many factors. We can use some information to safely say that a VPIP somewhere between 20% and 40% can work. Therefore we can assume a game with many players over 40% VPIP is going to be a good game. A game with lots of players under 20% will be relatively easy but not very profitable (we can discuss why in another article). Games with players 20% to 40% will have a healthy mix of players, some potentially being professionals.
One side note: I am citing stats specifically for six-handed No-Limit Hold’em. Things change with fewer players or with more players, so pay attention and adapt. Be aware that the PPPoker app statistics are blended for six-handed and nine-handed tables even if you are playing heads up at a six or nine-handed table!
VPIP & Preflop Ranges
That covers the basics, but we can do even better! Once you have your opponents VPIP, you can start to make some assumptions about their hand holdings in any given situation. To start, we should make some other basic assumptions. We will assume that:
- Most players will player tighter hands further from the button.
- If a player sometimes limps and sometimes raises the limps are generally weaker hands.
- Once VPIP gets high enough, we should not assume any hand is never in the opponent’s range.
Starting with extreme examples; what is VPIP of 90%? What does it mean, and how does it look? What is VPIP of 3%? What does it mean, and how does it look? Does position matter in these extreme examples?
What to learn Next?
Experienced players will recognize what hands are in a 3 percent range vs. a 5 percent range vs. a 24 percent range. They understand merged ranges, polarized ranges, capped ranges, and uncapped ranges. Do you? These are all topics we will discuss on this blog! You can also discuss them in our Facebook Group.
How do you use VPIP at the table? What more would you like to learn about it? Leave a comment below and let’s start diving into even more exciting poker topics
Check out the next post on HUD stats Pre-Flop Raise (PFR)