One of the key differences between online and live poker is the ability to use various analytical tools to help make better decisions on and off the poker table. One of these tools is a “heads up display,” or “HUD.” Navigating through a poker field with a HUD is a little like navigating at open sea with the stars, except without the tech: you need to know what you’re looking at and most importantly, you need to understand what the information means and how it will practically be of use.

Historically, sailors have used the night sky to map their travels, yet to the average person who looks up at the night sky the stars seem to be only random bright dots in the sky. Similarly, at first sight, the HUD may seem like an endless correlation of random numbers dotted around your screen. Yet, just like the stars form constellations, your HUD stats form valuable information!

When I first came across Poker Tracker, I had no idea where to begin. When I first came across the term “H.U.D.” I was like…H-U-whaaaat????

Yet little did I know that such a program would allow me to track my progress over time, identify patterns and weaknesses in my play, and of course use the HUD to help me with identifying patterns in my opponent’s tendencies during play.

So in this blog post, I am going to document how I personalise my HUD and make sense of it, but first thing’s first…

What are the benefits of personalising a HUD?

A generic HUD looks something like this:

Those who are more experienced will most probably benefit from a default HUD. However, personalising the HUD can really amplify and maximise the online poker experience. When I first started using this, it was so confusing – I didn’t understand what the numbers were telling me, let alone how I can use those stats to help me.

Nevertheless, when I finally read through the Poker Tracker guide on personalising a HUD, it made more sense to only have information that are relevant and helpful to me. 

As poker players, we too, come in all different shapes and sizes, each with our own goals, purpose and approach to the game…

You could be a ‘Mr Daydream’, ‘Mr Cool’ or even a ‘Little Miss Magic’ – whichever one you are there certainly is a HUD customisation out there for you!

Personalising a HUD allows you to…
1. Only have the stats which you will find useful
2. Keep your poker table clutter-free
3. Improve efficiency
4. Only display information that you will use

How do I know which stats to use?

To begin with, I deleted most of the pre-populated stats on the HUD profile editor, except from “notes” and “player name.” After a little bit of research on how to personalise a HUD, I found out about the basic stats that all HUDs seem to have in common. These are:

2. PFR
3. AF
4. Number of Hands
5. BBs

I kept my HUD as simple as that for a while until I began to review my own past hand histories and posting some for analysis here at PSO. The process of analysis and reviewing past hands helped me to identify weaknesses and patterns during play. Since then I’ve added some other stats as well, as my post-flop play currently needs significant improvement.

  Even by keeping only the basic stats it still took me some time to get used to the format and understand what the stats indicate and how I can use the information to help me make better decisions.

So far, the method of adding stats gradually over time has been the best method to learn and use the information. Of course, not all stats need to be used – there is such thing as information overload!!!

If you are also new to HUDs then I strongly recommend customising your HUD so it only displays the basic stats and then add new stats over time as you review past hand histories.
There is a multitude of different stats to choose from, so whatever the tendency or pattern, chances are there’s a stat for that!!


My  HUD Personalisation Process:

This is the current process I have in place to ensure that I am making good use of my HUD and that all the stats are always relevant to me. This may change in the future so I will document it below so I can come back to it if I need to make adjustments.
1. Play using current HUD
2. Review past hand history to identify new patterns or recurring issues.
3. Adjust HUD accordingly by adding new stats or removing previous ones I haven’t been using.
4. Use new HUD!


To conclude, I've found Poker Tracker very insightful during my self reviews, as it has helped me to approach the game with a more analytical viewpoint, and helped me be more aware of my own table image and my action as well as the opponents. Even though I struggled at first, I do like using the HUD now that I have a better understanding of it!


Until next time!