HOW TO USE YOUR HUD: Aggession Frequency & Check-raising

Aggession Frequency

Aggression frequency is a statistic I hear referenced infrequently but is of the utmost importance. Aggression frequency is determined by bets + raises/checks + calls. It records whenever a player takes an aggressive action on a street. In my experience, it is a better indicator of chip movement than aggression factor.

Aggression frequency becomes an important piece of the puzzle when we are figuring out what to do with a river bet. As we discussed in an earlier section it is hard to get a large sample size of river continuation bets. However, with aggression frequency, we can understand more deeply what our opponent wants to do on the last street of betting.

If his aggression frequency is 20% or lower we can surmise that he almost never river bluffs. It’s just very difficult to have a number that low and still have a bluffing range. You generally have a hand worthy of a river bet one time out of five, and they’re not active outside of that.

If their river aggression frequency is 30% or higher that means they are bluffing frequently. It doesn’t mean that you can call every river bet, but if there are a variety of missed draws out there, or many small pairs were weakened or counterfeited, you should really widen your calling range.

Anything beyond 40% is completely insane, especially if the player has been firing on every other street. They just doesn’t have a hand worthy of three barrels that often, unless they are being dealt three cards preflop.

There are players who can get away with 40% aggression frequency, but they are usually really tightening up on an earlier street. These players are rare, but beware of the river trapper. Many guys let the turn go to try and trap you on the river. Their hand range doesn’t need to be as strong, because they let one street go. To reuse the comical analogy, they skipped one of our spaghetti strainers. If you see an aggression frequency of 40% on every street then you have Johnny B. Barreling on your hands.

Many times when I make some hilarious hero call on a river people are aghast I was able to do it. One time I called off my tournament in Day 2 of a $2,000 with K-J high. I never make feel calls and hate hero calling, because I’m so bad at it. However, with a player who is proven through aggression frequency to bet any card with a number, picture, or letter on it, then I have to call down.

This is another section which can be improved by NoteCaddy. Someone might have a high river aggression frequency, but the NoteCaddy breakdowns of the hands show two sets and a backdoor flush. You know perhaps that number is a bit inflated. NoteCaddy can also help you separate river bets by sizings. Some people use specific over-bets or under-bets when they’re bluffing or value betting, and it can be easier to identify them through historical analysis.

Some people want to put aggression frequency on their main HUD. While it is an incredible statistic I recommend that you keep continuation-bet and fold-to- continuation-bet statistics on the front, with these ready whenever you hover over these numbers. The aggression frequency should supplement that data and not replace it.


It is odd how few people look at the check-raise statistic when they are (wait for it) check-raised. Furthermore, many do not know what a check-raise statistic should look like. Generally a 10% check-raise is considered a very honest percentage. About 1 in 10 times you have a hand good enough to check-raise bloat the pot up. A check-raise of 20% or more tends to be someone who is fibbing. You do not have a hand 1 in 5 times to blow up the pot out of position. The most balanced check-raise statistic is 15%. This means 2 in 3 times the person has it, but 33% of the time they are bluffing. Even if you know they are bluffing 33% of the time there is usually little you can do about it. This is very balanced and hard to play against.

Be sure to look through the history of check-raises in your NoteCaddy. Sometimes you see the guy just flopped well a few times in a row. If you see he always goes after one type of board and he’s popped up with some complete bluffs then you’ll have identified a board you can 3-bet bluff on.

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