VPIP (also known as VP$IP or very occasionally VP) is a fundamental statistic used in poker tracking software like Poker Tracker and in strategy discussions on forums.
It's so useful and popular that it really doesn't need an introduction, so without further ado…
What is VPIP?
VPIP stands for Voluntarily Put $ In Pot. This stat shows the percentage of time you make calls or raises before the flop (hence "putting money in to the pot").
So for example, if a player's VPIP is 1%, they're probably only going to be playing (calling or raising) with Aces or Kings. Alternatively, if their VPIP is 100%, they're playing with every single hand they're dealt.
- Every time you make a preflop raise, you will add to your VPIP percentage.
- Every time you call a preflop raise, you will again add to your VPIP percentage.
So basically, the VPIP stat shows how many hands you like to play with. The more hands you play with, the higher your VPIP will be.
Note: The small blind and big blind do not count toward your VPIP, as you did not voluntarily put this money in to the pot (hence the stat's name). So if you end up seeing a flop after checking on the BB, it will have no effect on your VPIP.
Where can you find your VPIP?
The easiest and most effective way to find your (and other players') VPIP is to use poker tracking software like Poker Tracker.
Programs like PT will track your play (and the play of your opponents) and calculate your VPIP as you go along.
VPIP is also briefly discussed in Jack Wilcox's HoldemManager HUD tutorial video.
How to use VPIP in Texas Hold'em.
VPIP is incredibly handy because it gives you a good idea of how tight or how loose a player is.
If you know that a player is very loose (i.e. they play loads of hands), you can generally value bet more and bluff less postflop as they will have a much wider range of hands than your average player.
Conversely, if you know that a player is very tight, you can should generally value bet less with weak/mediocre hands and look for more opportunities to bluff.
Types of VPIP ranges.
What's considered to be a low VPIP? What's a high VPIP? What about all the percentages in between?
The tiers are never going to be precise and will always vary from one game to another, but here's a rough guide for 6max NLHE:
Player types based on VPIP stat percentages.
< 14% is very tight. These players are playing too few hands and are missing out on opportunities to play many more hands in +EV situations.
14% - 23% is tight. These players are generally playing good/premium hands in solid positions. It could be argued that they are again missing out on a few more +EV spots (especially those toward the lower end of this tier), but overall their starting hand selection is strong.
23% - 32% is semi-loose. These players are including more speculative hands in their range, but with good post-flop skills they can play as profitably as the tight players (if not more). However, if their post-flop play isn't great, they are probably playing a few too many hands in tricky positions.
32% - 40% is loose. These players are almost always playing too many hands. They will also be playing out of compromising positions that will inevitably end up being -EV. It is possible winning player with a VPIP this high, but only if you're an exceptional post flop player (which is very rare).
40%+ is very loose. You can't expect to consistently win money if you're playing this many hands. These players are gamblers that love action more than they love winning money.
VPIP percentage examples.
Okay, so we know that a VPIP in poker of around 8% is tight, and that a VPIP of around 35% is pretty high, but what do these percentages mean exactly?
Here are a few examples of common VPIP percentages in terms of actual ranges of hands in Texas Hold'em:
- A quick guide to hand ranges based on VPIP percentage.
- 10% = "pairs 66+, AK, AQ, suited aces, KQs, QJs"
- 20% = "any pair, any two broadway, any suited ace"
- 30% = "any pair, any ace, any suited king, any suited broadway, any suited connectors 54s+, KTo+, QJo" or "any pair, any ace, any suited king, any broadway"
- 40% = "any pair, any ace, any king, any two broadway, any suited connectors 32s+"
These example ranges have been taken from my ranges in poker article, which in turn were taken from Pokey's brilliant 2+2 ranges post. So if you want to see a few more sets of example ranges for your VPIP stats, check out either of those two pages.
Alternatively, you can always use PokerStove and put the percentage figures in there to see what type of hand ranges it gives out. This again is only a rough guide though of course.
Along with the PFR stat, VPIP is one of the first stats that you should learn to use at the poker table. Knowing how tight or loose someone plays is key to helping you make the best possible decisions during a hand, which is why VPIP is such a fundamental poker stat.
Every HUD (Heads-UP Display) and hand history discussion in the world of online poker uses VPIP these days. That pretty much sums up how useful the stat is by itself.
If you're still not happy with how VPIP works or why it's so important/useful, I'd highly recommend you do a little more research to fully get to grips with it. You'll be seeing a lot of this stat in your poker career, so the sooner you get comfortable with it the better.
Go back to the interesting Texas Hold'em Articles.