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Old 03-29-2008, 05:39 AM   #1
WCGRider
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Why you suck at uNL Part One: Playing Aggressively

After reading most of the responses in my advice thread (and by all means continue to ask questions.), there are a few things that are SERIOUSLY GETTING to me.

1) STOP CALLING PREFLOP. ASKDJFKLASJDFLKASDJFLAKS STOP IT! STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!!

- Explanation: Calling preflop, in general is terrible. Most of the time in poker, you do not have a hand. You have something speculative. The SAME goes for your opponent. By raising, you take most flops down with a cbet and do not get credit when you hit. By calling they have control and you have to fold when you miss (unless you are c/r raising a wide range [even then its bad, just slightly less bad] but come on this is uNL no one is check raising a wide range.) Seriously if your stats are.

33/14
12/3
25/11

Dont ask me what the problem is. The problem is you play too much crap without raising it. Not that you should be playing crap, but playing crap aggressively is like a MILLION% better then playing it passively. There are TWO (ONE TWO) times you should be calling preflop (Unless you are setting up for a squeeze from a lag opponent but again this is uNL so that doesnt mean anything.)

ONE --- YOU HAVE A POCKET PAIR FACING A RAISE

TWO --- YOU HAVE A MARGINAL HAND (pocket pairs and suited connectors) AND A SMALLISH STACK HAS LIMPED BEHIND.

THAT IS IT!!! NO MORE CALLING!!!

[Caps lock - Cruise Control for Cool]

2) Please please please please get more aggressive WHEN YOUR OPPONENTS DO NOT SHOW STRENGTH.

- Explanation: At uNL, people dont bet when they have nothing. They call when they have nothing. So unless your opponent has given you a reason to stop betting when you have something even remotely decent, continue to bet. Honest to god here is an example hand i see SOOO much at uNL.

1/2c NL

Hero is CO with Ad Ks

3 Limpers to Hero, Hero makes it 14, 2 callers.

Flop: As 8c 4d

check, check, Hero bets 36c, 1 fold, MP calls

Turn: As 8c 4d [5h]

check, HERO BETTER BET OR WCGRIDER IS HUNTING HIM DOWN, villain calls.

River: As 8c 4d 5h [4s]

check, HERO BETS A BIG % OF THE POT SO HE CAN BUY A CHEEZEBURGER AFTER.

If they raise you anywhere along the way, without a read you can fold!! If they are crazy dont fold but dear god if your opponent is 57/3/.3 YOU CAN FOLD TPTK. BUT ONLY FOLD WHEN THEY RAISE.

So please bet as MUCH as you can.

3) Get a real sample size. Come on 3k hands means nothing. Get 20k, thats 2 days for me, that might be 2 months for you. I dont care, before you talk ptbb/100 and stuff to me play more hands. VPIP/PFR ok w/e but seriously play more hands.

That is all however if i feel the need to post more things I will do so at my discretion.
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:26 AM   #2
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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Originally Posted by WCGRider View Post
STOP CALLING PREFLOP
wouldn't that depend on the table-conditions? say, your opponents are happy limpers, you call with 97 in MP - the few times you hit the flop seem to pay for the many times you don't and lay down you hand.

that is not an uncommon scenario at the micro stakes i play.
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:38 AM   #3
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

Is what you are saying correct for full ring as well? Heres a scenario:

Folded around to cutoff who raises to 3BB. You are on the button with KJs....

What do you do? I believe three betting is bad, but calling isn't.....
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:47 AM   #4
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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wouldn't that depend on the table-conditions? say, your opponents are happy limpers, you call with 97 in MP - the few times you hit the flop seem to pay for the many times you don't and lay down you hand.

that is not an uncommon scenario at the micro stakes i play.
JESUS DUDE! NO !! ITS NOT OK!! THATS MY POINT!!!!!! ASDJKJasdasfsdfsdf
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:48 AM   #5
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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Is what you are saying correct for full ring as well? Heres a scenario:

Folded around to cutoff who raises to 3BB. You are on the button with KJs....

What do you do? I believe three betting is bad, but calling isn't.....
If he is tight fold if he is looser raise. Calling here is completely terrible if you are good but you guys arent that far yet and its leakish so fold or raise. Makes poker easy.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:24 AM   #6
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

Really, really good post.

I sometimes coldcall SC even without another caller in front of me and I'll also call with high card hands like KQ/AJ/AQ/maybe KJs (def not KJo). I wouldn't advise this for anybody playing 25nl or lower though.

I never overlimp and there are probably rare times when I should be but limping sucks so I refuse to do on principal.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:33 AM   #7
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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If he is tight fold if he is looser raise. Calling here ISNT completely terrible if you are good but you guys arent that far yet and its leakish so fold or raise. Makes poker easy.
edited so that makes sense sorry
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:22 AM   #8
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

it's not that i don't see your point, i just have a hard time believing i should play the same not matter what the conditions are.

late afternoon (ppl coming home from work) and around midnight (ppl are drunk) everyone loves to limp but the average pot still goes up to 50 - 100 big blinds. if i hit only one out of 50 limped hands i can expect to at least break even.

now any other time of the day raising or folding preflop is the way to go. where is the flaw im my thought process?

thx for taking the time to help a donk.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:37 AM   #9
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

This is a good post and the OP has it spot on. It's simple really. Limping allows you to win hands only by connecting with the board and having the best hand at showdown, whereas raising lets you win by taking the pot preflop, making a continuation bet postflop, and sometimes even making your opponent fold the better hand. By raising you also narrow down your opponents hand ranges as they will usually only call you with a decent hand.

By calling and allowing others to limp into pots you are giving everyone good odds to take a flyer at the flop and make a hand. For example, if you have JA and you limp in and the board is Jh 4s 7d. Looks like a good flop for you but the BB who you allowed to come in for free with 47o is now going to get the better of you. Raise preflop, and you have a better idea of where you stand. I see so many players at the micros limping in with hands like AA and KA, but slowplayed in a multiway pot that hand is going to lose them money.

I play 6-max and anyone who open limps at this level isn't going to last very long and is usually a weak player. Aggressive poker is winning poker, you need to be in control of each pot you play by being the raiser, even at the micro limits. Ideally, your VPIP% and PFR% should be as close together as possible.

To sum up..Play less pots, but those you do play, bet and raise aggressively and take control of the action. If your hand is good enough to call, it's good enough to raise, so raise. If it isn't, then fold.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:42 AM   #10
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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Originally Posted by wolfbeo View Post
it's not that i don't see your point, i just have a hard time believing i should play the same not matter what the conditions are.

late afternoon (ppl coming home from work) and around midnight (ppl are drunk) everyone loves to limp but the average pot still goes up to 50 - 100 big blinds. if i hit only one out of 50 limped hands i can expect to at least break even.

now any other time of the day raising or folding preflop is the way to go. where is the flaw im my thought process?

thx for taking the time to help a donk.
The flaw in your thought process is taht you win money from people folding and disguising your hand when you hit big. if you play like this you accomplish neither!! This is EXACTLY how the fish think man, its why they run 60/5.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:43 AM   #11
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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Originally Posted by Psych0Mantis View Post
This is a good post and the OP has it spot on. It's simple really. Limping allows you to win hands only by connecting with the board and having the best hand at showdown, whereas raising lets you win by taking the pot preflop, making a continuation bet postflop, and sometimes even making your opponent fold the better hand. By raising you also narrow down your opponents hand ranges as they will usually only call you with a decent hand.

By calling and allowing others to limp into pots you are giving everyone good odds to take a flyer at the flop and make a hand. For example, if you have JA and you limp in and the board is Jh 4s 7d. Looks like a good flop for you but the BB who you allowed to come in for free with 47o is now going to get the better of you. Raise preflop, and you have a better idea of where you stand. I see so many players at the micros limping in with hands like AA and KA, but slowplayed in a multiway pot that hand is going to lose them money.

I play 6-max and anyone who open limps at this level isn't going to last very long and is usually a weak player. Aggressive poker is winning poker, you need to be in control of each pot you play by being the raiser, even at the micro limits. Ideally, your VPIP% and PFR% should be as close together as possible.

To sum up..Play less pots, but those you do play, bet and raise aggressively and take control of the action. If your hand is good enough to call, it's good enough to raise, so raise. If it isn't, then fold.
badabing, badaboom
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:50 AM   #12
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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Originally Posted by WCGRider View Post
The flaw in your thought process is taht you win money from people folding and disguising your hand when you hit big. if you play like this you accomplish neither!! This is EXACTLY how the fish think man, its why they run 60/5.
makes sense, thx
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:31 AM   #13
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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So unless your opponent has given you a reason to stop betting when you have something even remotely decent, continue to bet.
This is good general advice at uNL, less good for higher levels when you have to become more deceptive. However, there is one important exception that even uNL players should know. It's if you have both a made hand and a good draw - by far the most common example being a one card flush draw.

Suppose you raise AsKh and get called. Flop is Ks 8h 3s. You bet and are called. The turn is the Ts and your opponent checks. You should probably check behind.

Betting again on the turn only gains if you succeed in getting value bets on both the turn and river, or if you make your opponent fold a hand which would have drawn out on you. If your opponent calls the turn and folds the river, that is not a gain in value if they would have called a bet on the river had you checked the turn. Betting the turn can be a losing move if you fold out a hand that would have called a value bet on the river, or if you get checkraised and forced off a hand which would have drawn out on the river.

In the situation I gave, your opponent is going to need to be very loose to call both turn and river bets with a worse hand. The only thing you might get paid off by is a worse king. In contrast, if you check, you will pick up value from hands that would have folded a turn bet. For instance, even most uNL fish are going to balk at calling the turn here with 98 of diamonds. But if you check the turn and the river bricks - the 3d, say - then they could easily decide to look you up.

The other point in favour of checking is that you are more likely to get pushed off a good draw yourself than to push your opponent off a draw. Your opponent is very unlikely to have more than 4 outs against you and will often have as few as two. If he has 4, the free card costs you 1/11th of the pot. By contrast, if you are up against KT here, you have 10 outs, but if you are checkraised you will probably have to fold. (Same applies to a flush, where you have 7 outs). This costs you not only a big chunk of the pot immediately, but in the instances where you would have hit your draw, it often costs you TWO value bets - one that you bet when you were behind and another that you would have got out of him on the river after hitting.
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:45 AM   #14
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

Can I make an addition to this post?

Never flat call preflop from the blinds without a pocket pair.

edit: I'm talking about you, Mr. Oh-so-tempting-to-play Ace Jack suited.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:15 AM   #15
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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Can I make an addition to this post?

Never flat call preflop from the blinds without a pocket pair.

edit: I'm talking about you, Mr. Oh-so-tempting-to-play Ace Jack suited.
Against most uNL opponents I agree.

However against loose blind stealers hands like AJ/KJ/KQ make excellent bluff catchers. Particularly since we dominate a lot of a LP openers range and it's possible he'll value bet multiple streets with a weaker one pair hand then ours or fire 2nd barrels on scare cards which hit us.

As a general rule you should be playing less OOP and if you're not comfortable with it then folding AJ is never really a massive mistake.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:17 AM   #16
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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Against most uNL opponents I agree.

However against loose blind stealers hands like AJ/KJ/KQ make excellent bluff catchers. Particularly since we dominate a lot of a LP openers range and it's possible he'll value bet multiple streets with a weaker one pair hand then ours or fire 2nd barrels on scare cards which hit us.

As a general rule you should be playing less OOP and if you're not comfortable with it then folding AJ is never really a massive mistake.
Yeah but are you really gonna c/c to the river with AJ high hoping to catch a bluff? IMO that's pretty spewtastic.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:19 AM   #17
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Thumbs up Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WCGRider View Post
After reading most of the responses in my advice thread (and by all means continue to ask questions.), there are a few things that are SERIOUSLY GETTING to me... ASKDJFKLASJDFLKASDJFLAKS
Just to say again that your advice (and patience) is greatly appreciated, certainly by me and I'm sure all of the other poker noobs. Keep it coming. Even if it means your hair turns gray.
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:03 AM   #18
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

I thought I was outsmarting other players by playing a 25/7/3 style were I would limp in many pots and take them down when I hit with my sneaky hands. Let the aggressive players take down pots with air or semi-strong hands and I ll catch em with a big hand sooner or later ... I've done ok for the past 30k hands at NL20 6max using this style.What I am now realizing is that this style is a weak one and will get destroyed at higher limits (took a shot at NL50 and got destroyed). Players will abuse you constantly as you are way to passive (steal blinds, punish your limping, take down more pots than you since you always need to make a hand and they dont ...) and if you do wake up
and start betting, they will read you like a book and not pay you off.

Thanks WCGRider for giving me a wake up call. I started playing a different game starting yesterday (21/15/6) which still obviously needs adjusting but I will get there. I tend to be too aggressive and still sometimes limp the small blind with other callers behind. I will keep monitoring my game and stats and see where I may need to adjust and fix leaks.
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:09 PM   #19
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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Yeah but are you really gonna c/c to the river with AJ high hoping to catch a bluff? IMO that's pretty spewtastic.
I don't recall saying that.
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:38 PM   #20
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

I am here to back up WCG on raising preflop. My stats currently are 19/17. Since I started raising preflop you have no idea how much more respect my bets and play recieve. Raise, Raise, Raise.
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:52 PM   #21
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

I'm not claiming to be an expert here, and don't have amazing .01/.02 stats to back up any assertions I'm about to make, but for the sake of healthy discussion...

I'm not sure I agree with point 1. VERY often when I see somebody posting stats where they ran +80bb/100 for 50k hands at nanostakes, they played 40/8ish. All your points are exceptionally valid and close to how I play at 25nl, but there are a few problems at lower levels.

For one thing, opponents don't fold. They don't fold draws, they don't fold bottom pair. They sometimes call down with bare overcards on a 789T monochrome board. I'm exaggerating. The point is, a style that depends on aggression won't succeed unless you can win pots when you miss. With 4 players to the flop even after you raise, cbetting air is not profitable.

Next, opponents don't make you pay to draw. This allows you to vastly open your range preflop, because flopping a gutshot is actually good enough to continue much of the time, and stronger draws routinely get offered outstanding odds. Suited aces are far more valuable in a game like this than they would be against tough opponents. (don't lose a lot of money thinking a pair of aces is the nuts.) Bonus: they pay off too! With 200bb starting stacks, you often realize spectacular implied odds whether the pot was raised preflop or not.

Third, stacks are often mixed sizes. Blanket recommendations to raise or fold don't take into account the variations of implied odds you'll be facing when some opponents have 200bb or more, and others have 30.

So overlimping and cold-calling raises in position have more value than I think you are giving credit for. The mix of hands you do this with might be very speculative: suited connectors and one gappers, high unsuited connectors, and of course pocket pairs for set value.

I think the fit-or-fold advice is honed by play at higher levels, and not bad for somebody hoping to compete against tough opponents. But for maximizing profits at nanostakes NL, I think it warrants some skepticism. (I also think this is something players should watch out for moving up -- a game that work well at .02/.05 might get destroyed at .25/.50)

Last edited by gedanken; 03-29-2008 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:54 PM   #22
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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I don't recall saying that.
In my limited experience, you are check folding all flops that miss you, if you flat call with a hand like AJ/KQ OOP. And villains don't ALWAYS make TP with a worse kicker when we call with AJ from the blinds.

If you're up against someone who truly has a wide LP opening range, you're better off 3-betting with your AJ. In my opinion.
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Old 03-29-2008, 01:05 PM   #23
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

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Originally Posted by gedanken View Post
With 4 players to the flop even after you raise, cbetting air is not profitable.
This is true of pretty much all stakes (correct me if I'm wrong, mid stakes + players), not just micro stakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gedanken View Post
Third, stacks are often mixed sizes. Blanket recommendations to raise or fold don't take into account the variations of implied odds you'll be facing when some opponents have 200bb or more, and others have 30.
Again, you'll find shorties at all levels, not just .01/.02.

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So overlimping and cold-calling raises in position have more value than I think you are giving credit for. The mix of hands you do this with might be very speculative: suited connectors and one gappers, high unsuited connectors, and of course pocket pairs for set value.
I'll take raising my 9Ts in position vs someone who wants to cold call from the blinds with J8o any day. Villains miss flops just as often in nano-stakes as they do in higher levels. If someone wants to call my flop c-bet with Jack high, they can go right ahead playing losing poker.
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:10 PM   #24
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

First, thanks for the post and especially the explanation part; some posters mean well, but leave me in the dust with the poker-speak.

I have less than 100 hours at .01/.02, but I've seen this over and over again - If I have a made hand and so much as twitch (i.e. do anything other than call) the players will scatter like cockroaches and I will win .03 and a round of congratulations for having such a nice hand. The sound of them folding can be heard even with the speakers off! My experience therefore is at odds with your recommendation to only raise. Anyone else have this experience?

Quote:
33/14
12/3
25/11
What are these figures? - Mike
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:26 PM   #25
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Re: An Analysis of Why You are Bad at uNL.

they are stats from pokertraker

first = VPI$P (voluntary put money in pot) - the percentage of hands you play (not counting the times you check in the big blind)

second = preflop raises - the percentage of times you raise preflop.

33/14 = you play 33 % of the hands and raise 14% of the time preflop.
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