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Plays

The plays chart is the first of four analysis pane charts that help to reveal a player's style. The bluffs, bets, and calls charts are the other "player style" charts, and we cover them in later chapters.

Does your opponent always value bet the river? Do you check-raise a lot? It's important to know the plays, to understand how to use them, and to know when and when not to use them. Note: bluffs are in their own category, and are analyzed in detail in the bluffs chart.

The plays chart shows you how many times you or your opponent ran 11 common and uncommon play types, from check-raising through trapping through value betting the river. Some of the plays happen on a single street, and others are multi-street plays. The number of times the selected player won and lost the pot with each of the plays is indicated by the same win / loss ratio indicators (the black lines) as FlopZoom's other analysis pane charts. And, of course, it's updated in real time as you play.

 

What are Plays?
Plays are basically just betting patterns. Some plays can happen on any one street, and others happen on two or more streets. Some plays require you to have an actual hand, others don't. They are tactical moves you and your opponents can use to help to do two of the most important things in poker: to win with the worst hand and to maximize wins with the best hand.

For example, the classic check-raise can either be used to make a weak opponent fold when you have nothing or to try to build a pot with an aggressive opponent when you do have a hand. It can be done on several different streets, usually from an early position relative to your opponent(s). On the other end of the spectrum, value betting the river requires you to actually have a hand on a specific street: the river. You bet a fraction of the pot to entice your opponent to call you with a worse hand than yours. You're trying to extract the maximum value from your hand, hoping your opponent will pay you just that little bit more.
 

Using Plays
You should be ready to use many different plays in many different situations, and you should be aware of other players using them against you. And you should be sensitive to abusing certain plays. If you check-raise only when you have a big hand, you'll never get action from attentive opponents. If you check-raise only when you have nothing, you'll get snapped off by attentive opponents.
 

Win / Loss Ratios
That's why we put in the win/loss ratio indicator: to help you see when, where, and against how many players your plays won or lost pots. For example, you can see if your early position heads-up check-raises worked more often than not. It did for our hero in the example below, but just barely. The upper "+" portion of the bar is just slightly larger than the lower "-" portion, which indicates a slightly larger number of wins than losses with check-raises in those situations.

And you can also check if you or any of your opponents is folding to a re-raise on the turn too much. Below, our hero never folded on the turn to a re-raise. Not even once!
 

The Play Types
Here's a description of each play type shown in the plays chart:

Play TypeSpecific Meaning
Check-raisesPlayer checks, opponent bets, player raises
Limp-raisesPlayer calls the big blind preflop, opponent raises, player re-raises
Stop and goPlayer calls a raise preflop in early position, open-shoves all-in on the flop
Value bet riverPlayer bets a fraction of the pot on the river, hoping for a call from a worse hand
Checked it downPlayer and opponent(s) checked the flop, turn, and river
Called to riverPlayer passively called all bets until river
Bet all streetsPlayer open-bet or raised on every street
Folded to raisePlayer bet or called, then folded when raised
Folded to re-raisePlayer raised, then folded to when re-raised
TrapsPlayer checked with a made hand
Blind stealsPlayer raised preflop in late position when folded to

 

Plays vs. Bluffs
Question: So which of these plays are bluffs?
Answer: You don't know and it doesn't really matter.

Plays and bluffs are different animals. A play is just a one-street or multi-street betting pattern. You could run a play with air or with the nuts. Doesn't matter. The same play could be used for different reasons, depending on what your table image is, how your opponents are playing, and many other factors. For example, the check-raise play could force weak-tight players to fold strong hands. Or it could make a suspicious calling station double you up if you've been "playing too many hands."

Plays can be run with any hole cards, so FlopZoom detects plays whether or not the players' hole cards are known. In fact, FlopZoom looks only at players' betting patterns and not at their hole cards for nearly all play types. The two exceptions are value bets on the river and traps. You're not value betting the river if you have total air, and it's not a trap if you're checking 7-high.

Bluffs, on the other hand, do require you to have nothing. There are an infinite number of bluff types. FlopZoom keeps it simple. Only bets or raises with just a high card are considered bluffs. Pair up and you're no longer bluffing when you bet. In the future, we may expand the meaning of "bluffing" but for now you need air and air alone. There's a whole graph devoted to bluffs, but we're getting ahead of ourselves here.

 
Plays on Streets
You can chart all the plays on all streets by clicking the any street button. Or you can narrow things down to any specific street by clicking the preflop, flop, turn, or river buttons. For example, you can quickly see if the selected player made more check-raises preflop than flop, or whether they folded to re-raises more on later streets than on earlier streets.


 
Opponent Count
You can easily see see how many times the selected player made plays at a full table, short handed, or heads-up, or against any number of players. Just click the full, short, any, or heads-up buttons.

 
Position
Just click one of the position buttons to see where the selected player made his plays. Certain plays tend to work better from early position (stop and go) and others work better from late position (blind steals.) See which positions are best for your plays.


 
Intervals
Did your check-raises take down the pot every time yesterday? Did your traps with big hands lose more often this month than last month? Click any of the interval buttons (and the previous / next buttons) to find out.

 

Click for Detail
Click on any of the plays bars to see how many times the selected player made plays, and how often the won or lost with that play. We can see here that our hero checked a big hand just 37 times out of the more than 10K hands in his career to date. And he won the majority of those hands: the black divider bar is nearly all "+" wins.


 

Instant Playback
If you are looking at a single session, you can click any play bar to play back all the relevant hands. If you click back to the playback pane you'll see just the hands in which the selected player made that type of play loaded into the hands list.
 

Summary
You can get a pretty good line on a player's style by looking at the plays he makes, from what position he makes them, how many times he makes, them, and how many opponents he makes them against. The analysis pane's plays chart shows you all this and more. The bluffs, bets, and calls charts give you further analysis of a player's style.

Advanced Tutorials:
Draws | Plays | Bluffs | Bets | Calls | Hands | Cards