Breaking Down Your Winrate

Jack Wilcox (Hoodlincs) Profile Photo

By Jack Wilcox

9 May, 2011

So you want to crush 6max Hold'em cash games. Thats means aiming for a winrate of 10bb/100+, which is considered crushing at any stakes.

Assuming you are playing a standard TAG game, this means playing somewhere between 20% and 25% VPIP.

VPIP is a stat from Poker Tracker, and tells you how many hands you're playing. It's one of the most important stats in your HUD.

So for every 100 hands you see at the table, you will only be playing 20-25 of them. So you winrate can be broken down further to 10bb/20-25.


  • If you play 20% of hands, that's 0.5bb/hand.
  • If you play 25% of hands, that's 0.4bb/hand.

How to improve your winrate.

Any mistake is going to severely affect your winrate, especially if it's a mistake that occurs on the turn or river when the pot is larger. Any small edge you can find will improve your winrate dramatically.

Adding more hands to your preflop range will help to increase your profit, assuming you can play them in a profitable manner. If you are an extremely tight player who plays 10% VPIP, you have to win at 1bb/hand, whilst if you are loose and playing 33% of hands, you will only need to win at 0.3bb/hand to maintain the same winrate.

Whats my recommendation?

Try to expand your ranges in some spots so you are playing more hands, particularly from the cutoff and button. At small-stakes you can steal with a wide range, and you'll get played back at so infrequently you'll show a huge profit by doing so.

Additionally, tighten up postflop. People aren't bluff-raising or making enough moves that you need to call them down lightly, even if they are representing narrow ranges.

Game selection and winrate.

Game selection is important, and I don't think people pay anywhere near enough attention to it.

Everybody wants to be like durrrr and crush the best in the business. But the reality is that it's difficult to beat good players, and it's even more difficult to beat them well.

We can represent this in simple terms by thinking about where profit/loss comes from on a poker table.

Consider yourself sitting at a table with 5 regulars, and they are all marginal winners. How are you going to make money? You need to find an edge on them, and if you want to win at 10bb/100, you will have to beat each of them for 2bb/100 on average.

And that's just not going to happen easily.

How fish add to your winrate.

Have you ever looked in your Poker Tracker at a fish? If you have, you will frequently see they are losing at a crazy rate of something like -20BB/100 or more.

1BB = 2bb = 1ptbb. So 20BB is actually 40 big blinds.

That -40bb is going to the other players at the table. And let's assume that the other 4 regulars are solid, and that you all are breaking even against each other.

What you have is that 40bb divided by the 5 regulars for a net winrate of 8bb/100 at that table.

Now, you haven't even beaten the regs yet, but there are still 4 of them sat here. If you can find an edge against them as well, your winrate increases further.

How tilt affects your winrate.

Don't play when you are tilted. If you find yourself in a spot where you are auto-piloting, you will start to destroy your winrate.

If you play 20% VPIP and you make 4 0.5bb errors every 100 hands, then you have already lowered your winrate from 10bb to 6bb.

And trust me, it's not hard to make a 0.5bb error.