The simple sophistication that Flopzilla brings to my game makes me as giddy as a goat. A goat at a petting zoo that’s eaten a tourist's fanny-pack worth of crack. Yeah, that excited.
It's hard to understand just how much this one tool can enhance your game until you've tried it, but I also understand there's no shortage of poker apps out there and spending your time and money on yet another can seem like a bigger time sink than Hearthstone.
But it's not.
Watch Flopzilla in Action!
What is Flopzilla?
Acting as the metaphoric radioactive green monster to your opponent's cardboard Tokyo, Flopzilla is a poker calculator created to make range reading and analysis a breeze. It's as easy as entering a pre-flop range.
Once you've done this, the software will figure out how frequently that range hits specific hands (i.e. gutshot, 3 of a kind, over pair, flushdraw, etc.) so that you can easily visualize opponents’ ranges and build your own range to play a better, more lucrative game. To make the deal even sweeter, pot odds and equities are factored and spit out as well, which simplifies math calculations greatly, taking you from hand vs. hand to hand vs. range in a single quantum leap of poker strategy. (Advantage player: YOU!)
The full potential of this powerful tool often goes unrealized by its users, so that's what we're going to talk about today: how to use Flopzilla to maximize your game and your gains.
How to Use Flopzilla Effectively
Create Your Ranges
On the left hand side of the screen, you'll see a space to create and save ranges. Think opening ranges, cold call ranges, 3-bet ranges. You can create the ranges to the right of your saved ranges. You can use the slider to adjust the range or select it manually on the board.
Your saved ranges are great time-savers. Once you get opening for each position, calling ranges, 3-betting ranges, big blind/small blind defending ranges vs. an opener, etc, you never have to do it again - just load up whichever one you need.
Weight Your Ranges
Once you get a read on an opponent and you've saved their ranges, you can weight them to get even more of an edge. Weighing ranges is what you should do if you think an opponent will call sometimes or raise sometimes with – fomr example – an AK as opposed to calling every time or raising every time. This partial weighting as opposed to full weighting covers for the times they mix it up. You can decide just how significant that 'mixing' strategy looks.
You can use up to three different weights in your opponents range, which is incredibly valuable when considering a wide spread of ranges, like 3-betting, opening ranges and cold calls. When using this function, each starting hand you select will get a weight and you can change the weight of any given hand using the slider bar to the right.
Just keep in mind not all ranges are created equal. A cold call range, for example, shapes differently than an opening range. For example, most people are going to 3-bet KK, AA or AK, suited or not, so they wouldn't be in the cold call range.
Set the Stage
Beside the Starting Hand selection matrix, you'll see the board. You have the option of selecting a flop, turn, river or randomized flop. The next section for card selection is the dead cards, which includes the cards you hold in your hand. Entering this information will let you get a handle on where you - and your hand - stands.
The Statistics column is super important. This area will allow you to visualize how ranges hit boards/flops. This area can work a couple different ways: you can select a saved range and see how it hits certain hands and what percentage of the time and how often a range hits an exact flop. Again, this gives you insight into your opponent's mind, which is insight you can use to take him down.
You can also use this function to see how often your opponents hit at least an [insert whatever hand you want] or better. The bottom will show a sum of all the filters you set, which is basically saying, “these hands are the ones you count as hitting.”
The most useful way to use this is to filter the hands you think an opponent would continue vs. bet with, and whatever percentage of his range doesn’t make the cut is how often he/she will probably fold to your bet /raise.
Other stat considerations...
A blue bar represents made hands, a green one represents draws and combinations of draws and made hands are purple. You can score more intel about a stat by mousing over the stat bar. The starting hands that pass through that range will appear in purple. What's more, mousing over a statistic means the Flopzilla display will only filter hands applicable to that stat.
You can also run your hand's equity against your opponents range by entering your hole cards into the dead card area. The equity of your starting hand versus the range will appear in the small square on the lower right.
Get in the Heat
When you first open Flopzilla, drag the corners and expand the window. You'll see some cool features like 'hotness' that most people don't know exist. We'll talk about how to use hotness in a future article. Promise.
For now, it’s important to realize your ability to use Flopzilla to its full-potential will depend on your ability to hand and range read. This will really only develop with experience. It's up to you to get a handle on what makes an opponent tick. If you need to learn more about range, feel free to read up on it here.
Remember, in a game of imperfect information, you want to take every advantage that comes your way. Flopzilla is seriously advantageous, allowing you to use what you know about your opponents against them to score more deep pots. Combine this with the break-even success rate from my Triple Threat video strategy and Cash Game Crash Course, you’re on your way to developing some bullet proof post-flop strategies.
While Flopzilla is a remarkable user-friendly tool, I recommend playing around with it for a bit so you can get your bearings before you put it to the test when the chips are down, so get comfy, then get stackin’!
Photo Credit: Billy Nata | Flickr