Thinking in terms of “big blinds remaining”

What are the advantages to assessing player stack size in number of big blinds remaining?

A) Psychological Factors

To make clear decisions, you need to understand poker in terms of big blinds rather than money. Distancing yourself emotionally allows you to make the best decision.

B) Understanding the effective stack

Understanding our own stack and our opponent’s stacks in terms of how many big blinds gives us the “effective stack” of any situation. If we raise pre-flop with a 200bb stack and are called by a single player in the big blind who has a stack of 100bb, then we can only win or lose up to 100bb. Therefore, the effective stack is 100bb. If the player in the big blind had 20bb, then the effective stack would be 20bb.

Read our complete guide to thinking in “big blinds remaining”.

How to use card suit symbols (♥♦♠♣) on your computer

In our recent Continuation Bet article we show cards in this highly readable way:


The cards can be copy and pasted, printed, and viewed on any device, and it is pure text. Here’s how you can embed card suit symbols for hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs directly into your text.


Use so-called HTML entities, as follows:

  • ♥ – type ♥ into your HTML document. Make sure to start with an ampersand, finish with a semi-colon, and use no spaces between the ampersand and semi-colon
  • ♦ – type ♦ into your HTML document
  • ♠ – type ♠ into your HTML document
  • ♣ – type ♣ into your HTML document

So, for example, if you want A♥K♦, then type A♥K&diamonds; into your HTML editor.

For colours, you can use inline CSS as follows <span style=’color: red’>A&hearts;</span>

Naturally it is best not to inline the CSS style, and instead to create a custom class you can reuse.

In a text editor or document editor

Copy and Paste (Mac and Windows)

Copy and paste the characters directly from this page, one at a time or all four at once: ♥♦♠♣

Yes, these can be treated like any pure text.


On macOS, you can use the “Emojis and Symbols” viewer to find these characters and many more. Just type Cmd+Ctrl+space whenever your Mac is expecting you to type, and this will appear.

Windows, Linux, and non-Mac devices

I don’t know how to do this on Windows or Linux as I mostly work on a Mac. Sorry.

We’ve updated our “Unopened Preflop Raise” article

What is the Unopened Preflop Raise poker statistic?

Unopened Preflop Raise (UOPFR) tracks the percentage of times that a player raises preflop when the action folds to him. This allows you to understand a player’s tendencies at a deeper level than the VPIP/PFR poker statistic. VPIP/PFR gives you a general idea of the player type of your opponent. UOPFR gives detailed information on the range of hands your opponent is playing from each position.

That’s from our Unopened Preflop Raise article. It is one chapter in our growing and comprehensive poker statistics guide. We’re adding a chapter to this guide each week.

We’ve revised almost every paragraph in this article. The examples are clearer, we’ve tried to use less poker slang, and to define it when we do use it.


A guide to Unopened Preflop Raising (UOPFR)

The next chapter in our poker statistics guide is now available. This one explains all you need to know about unopened preflop raising.

Understanding your opponent’s range of hands from each position is key information for developing your preflop cold calling range, your blind defense ranges, and your 3-bet ranges. This guide will give you an introduction to preflop hand ranges and calling raises in position.

Read the entire chapter.

What do you do against an active 3-better to your left?

It can be incredibly frustrating to play at a table where someone seems to be 3-betting your opens over and over. Against a weak, overly aggressive player, you can combat their strategy by either 4-betting light or simply calling them with a strong range of hands and letting them bluff of their stack when you catch a piece of the board.

Against a strong, aggressive 3-better to your left, you will be playing large pots out of position with a capped range versus their uncapped range when you flat call. This is one of the toughest spots to play profitably in poker. While using a good 4-betting strategy and analyzing their 3-bet range to discover which hands to call with is the long-term strategy for success, as a beginner it simply may be better to leave the table.

If you do decide to stay at the table, most likely because there are many other poor players at the table, then the quickest and easiest way to adapt is to simply start raising a tighter range of hands first into the pot so that your range can handle the heat of their active 3-betting.

Read more in our comprehensive guide to 3-betting.

Poker Copilot 5 now supports PokerStarsPT (Portugal)

Less than 48 hours ago, PokerStars became the first online poker room to operate legally in Portugal. Today we released an update to Poker Copilot 5 that supports PokerStarsPT (the Portugal-specific version of PokerStars), on both Mac and Windows.

Poker Copilot users in Portugal get all the features of Poker Copilot:

  • A poker HUD showing a large range of statistics for each player on the table
  • Hand tracking and analysis
  • Leak detectors that reveal where you are leaking chips
  • A hand replayer that lets you record videos of your best hands
  • Bankroll chart
  • Excellent multi-table support
  • Integration with SharkScope
  • all fully translated to Portuguese!


Strange hand history of the day: 200/0NL

A customer sent us a hand history unlike anything I’ve seen before. It starts like this:

***** 888poker Snap Poker Hand History for Game 542583455 *****
$200/$0 Blinds No Limit Holdem – …

See that big blind of $0? What to make of it?

When we receive a unique hand history problem, we need to work out whether this is a correct hand history, perhaps due to a new tournament variant we’ve not seen before. Often it is a bug.

In this case, it is indeed a bug. The hand’s expected big blind was $400. However the player in the big blind was so short-stacked that paying the ante left him with no chips. So he paid no big blind. Strangely 888 then indicated that the hand was a $200/$0 hand.

We’re working on a work-around as follows: if the hand is on 888poker and the big blind level is 0, then we’ll auto-correct it as twice the small blind. This will almost always result in correct data, and is a much better solution than showing the big blind is $0.



Poker Copilot and High DPI (4K) Monitors


tl;dr: Poker Copilot on Windows with High DPI monitors has problems.

Poker Copilot on Windows doesn’t do so well with High DPI monitors (or 4K monitors, as they’re often called in the Windows ecosystem). I’ve been trying to fix this but have been hampered by both the state of Windows and the state of Java with regard to High DPI.

Today I discovered that Windows support for High DPI monitors (aka 4K monitors) is somewhat of a mess. Some API functions return window dimensions that take High DPI monitors into account; some don’t. Moving a window from back and forth between a High DPI display and a normal display is kind of broken. Microsoft does seems to be gradually sorting out this mess. For example, as of the recent Windows 10 “Anniversary Update”, there is an improved API for developers to use to query the DPI status of windows and monitors. Unfortunately it doesn’t completely work as intended.

If you are using one or more High DPI monitors, and are encountering problems with Poker Copilot, let us know. We’d like to help find workarounds to these problems.


tl;dr:Poker Copilot on Mac with High DPI monitors works well.

Poker Copilot handles High DPI monitors (aka Retina monitors) on Mac perfectly. No particular achievement on my part; Apple has done a good job of the gradual introduction of Retina displays. macOS has some smarts to automatically scale up apps when needed

PokerStars and Progressive Knockout Tournaments

Overnight PokerStars released an update that made a small change to the hand history files for Progressive Knockout Tournaments, which stopped Poker Copilot from successfully importing these hands. We couldn’t have our customers going HUD-less, so we’ve released an update that fixes the problem.

Progressive Knockout Tournament are a lot of fun. Each player has a bounty on their head. When a player knocks out another player, the winning player’s bounty goes up. So if you do well, you become a bigger target for other players.



Poker Copilot Updated for PartyPoker Changes

As of October 5th, 2016, PartyPoker is making cash game hand history files anonymized. We released a Poker Copilot update with the following changes:

  • Anonymized PartyPoker cash game hand history files are imported.
  • You can view your own PartyPoker stats in Poker Copilot’s charts and tables.
  • You can replay PartyPoker hands.
  • The HUD will show accurate info for the hero player (that’s you).
  • The HUD will not show accurate info for PartyPoker cash game villains (your opponents). That’s because Poker Copilot can no longer determine from hand history files the actual name of the player sitting in each seat.

These changes only apply to cash games. PartyPoker tournament hand history files still identify all players as before.