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What is PFR in Poker & How to Adjust against Different Players?


Poker tracking software is one of the easiest ways to quickly improve your game, assuming you are playing at one site that allows such software. Whether you are using PokerTracker, Hold’em Manager, or any other tool, PFR is one of the most important stats you should include in your HUD.

Most players use the VPIP and PFR stats as the most important ones, lined up clearly in the first positions of their HUD. 

But what is PFR in poker, and how do you use it? 

The PFR stat tells you more about a poker player than you may think, and we will look into what PRF in poker is, how to interpret the stat, and how to use it to improve your overall game. 

Read about the top 10 poker stats you need to know about.

What is PFR in Poker?

Like all poker stats in tracking software, PFR is an abbreviation that stands for “pre-flop raise.” 

In the simplest of terms, PFR tells you what percentage of all hands a poker player enters by raising before the flop.

Whenever a player enters a pot by taking aggressive action, whether it’s a simple min-raise or an all-in shove before the flop, their PFR stat goes up. 

From this, we can conclude that PFR is the overall aggression stat for a player's pre-flop game, and that is exactly what it is. 

The higher a player's PFR is, the more aggressive they are before the flop and the more raises you can expect them to make. 

Players with a very high PFR can be expected to play a super loose style, which you can counter in many ways. 

What is PFR in Poker & How to Adjust Your Strategy Against Different Players?
Steffen Sontheimer playing poker with a HUD

What is a Good PFR in Poker?

The amount of pre-flop raising you should be doing depends heavily on the game format and your personal playing style. 

Yet, some parameters are widely accepted, and others usually indicate poor overall poker play. 

Most winning players in the six max cash games have a PFR stat of approximately 20, give or take a few points. 

In the tighter games where players tend to fold a lot, this number can profitably go as high as 30, while some players will play a lower PFR in very splashy games where a tight approach is better. 

Yet, in an average six-max game, entering about 20% of all hands for a raise or re-raise is the right play, and players who have this number are usually pretty solid. 

However, you should also look at the difference between a player’s VPIP stat and their PFR, as this will be very indicative of the actual playing style. 

VPIP vs. PFR – What's the Difference and What Does it Mean?

If you don’t know what the VPIP stat is, you should check out our guide to VPIP stat and learn more about it before you go into PFR. If you already know how VPIP works, you should also have a pretty good idea about the difference between it and PFR.

Unlike PFR, VPIP reflects all the times you enter a pot, whether by raising, limping, or calling another player's raise before the flop.

Typically, good poker players will have a VPIP that’s only a few points higher than their PFR, as they will be raising most of their hands. 

Since solid poker players never really open limp into pots, the difference comes from the times they call raises, which is the right play every now and again. 

For the most part, though, the best players will have a VPIP of anywhere between 20 and 30, although that may go up when playing in some very tight and passive games. 

These numbers also go down in full-ring games, as the number of hands you can play at a 9-handed table is significantly lower than in six-max.

What is PFR in Poker & How to Adjust Your Strategy Against Different Players?

How to Interpret the PFR Numbers

Now that we know what PFR is and how it builds up, we can talk about what different PFR numbers mean. However, it’s impossible to talk about PFR meaning without including VPIP along with it. 

The difference between a player’s VPIP and PFR is critical in understanding how your opponents actually play and defining their ranges.

Here are a few common examples of these two stats and the types of players who exhibit such numbers:

  • High VPIP and Low PFR (45/15): A player with numbers like this is the fish in your game. They limp a lot, call many raises, and only raise themselves when they have a very big hand. This is the type of player you want to isolate and play heads-up against often. 
  • Low VPIP and Low PFR (13/9): These stats represent a nit in your game. Nits are extremely tight, and they like to raise it up when they have the nuts or make a call with hands like AQ or TT. These players are rarely involved in a pot without having a solid hand, but they are also happy to fold when they miss it. 
  • Medium VPIP and Low PFR (28/13): These stats are getting closer to “normal”, but this player calls too many raises, limps occasionally, and doesn’t raise enough. You want to isolate this player, but be a bit more careful as they probably aren’t playing absolute junk hands. 
  • Medium VPIP and Medium PFR (24/20): These stats are very close to optimal, and some of the best players in the world play a style like this. Be extra careful against these guys and understand you won't be able to easily exploit them, so stick to GTO lines.

Of course, you are going to run into all sorts of scenarios in actual games, with players playing different styles before the flop and having a variety of discrepancies. 

You will need to learn to break down the numbers, and it is worth knowing that you can see more specific stats by position to make even more precise decisions. 

Remember that a low PFR means a passive player and a very high PFR means a maniac. You can make further deductions by analyzing the other stats, but even this alone is enough to help you adjust your game to a particular player's style. 

Deducting Hands Based on the PFR Stat

A player's PFR stat tells you how aggressive they are overall and what types of hands they can have in different situations. 

For example, a player with a low PFR raising from UTG will mean they have a very strong hand. If you get involved in a pot against them, you can be very sure that they don’t have any low cards in their hand, as their entire range consists of big pairs and strong Broadway combos in this scenario. 

A low PFR also means that the player generally doesn’t play off-suit combos of hands in most cases, meaning they will be more likely to have flush draws on two-tone flops. However, the number of combos of hands like JT or T9 they will have in hands will be significantly lower than a player with high PFR would have. 

Similarly, a player with a high PFR raising from a late position will have many different hands, meaning you can play back at them more. 

Not only will a player with a high PFR not be able to take a lot of pre-flop pressure, but their range will also be much weaker going into the post-flop streets. 

With time, you will be able to construct player ranges in your head based on their PFR and exclude or include certain hands from their range depending on their numbers. 

This will take some training and practice, but the more extensively you look into these stats, the more of an edge you will gain over your opponents. 

What is PFR in Poker & How to Adjust Your Strategy Against Different Players?
Having a balanced range is important to get a good PFR stat

PFR in Poker Summarized

You now know what PFR stat in poker tracking software stands for, what it reflects, and how to interpret it. 

The next step is to go into your poker tracker, look at some regular players’ stats, and try to decipher what their PFR numbers actually mean. 

The best way to learn to understand PFR is by looking over the hands you played against players who are often at your tables and seeing what types of hands are associated with their particular numbers. 

You will notice that players with a low PFR only have the strongest hands every time you go to showdown, and those with very high PFRs tend to show up with all sorts of garbage in the end. 

By learning to dissect players’ ranges based on their PFR, you will be able to make better decisions in your game and crush some players with particular sets of stats. 

The one thing to remember for the time being is not to put all your confidence into PFR or any other stats, but rather make sure you are playing based on all the different skills you have.

Don’t forget to play a good poker strategy yourself, mind your position and stack sizes, and remember that there are other players at the table at all times. 

Poker is all about balance, and your task will be to integrate your understanding of the PFR stat into a balanced strategy that takes many things into consideration. 

What is PFR in Poker & How to Adjust Your Strategy Against Different Players?
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