One of the most useful poker stats to understand is WTSD – the percentage of hands that go to showdown. Also referred to as “went to showdown percentage,” this metric provides crucial insights into a player’s style and tendencies. Mastering the optimal use of WTSD can provide a key edge at the tables.
What does WTSD Tell You?
WTSD indicates the frequency with which a player continues to the river and shows their cards at showdown. A lower WTSD generally indicates a tighter, more conservative player. Higher WTSD suggests a looser style although not necessarily, as other players infer. A player may play few hands but stay stubborn post-flop. This is not uncommon in low stakes games.
Most solid winning players aim for a WTSD in the mid-to-high 20s. This balanced approach makes it difficult for opponents to bluff them or value bet too thinly. Players with WTSDs at extremes are often easier to exploit.
For example, a nitty player with a 21% WTSD is over-folding and can be bluffed more profitably. On the other hand, calling stations with 33%+ WTSDs call too many weak hands and make poor targets for bluffs. They’ll defiantly call you down with 3rd pair and you’ll scratch your head why your triple barrel bluff didn’t succeed.
Setting Your WTSD Targets
Your ideal WTSD varies slightly based on game format. In full ring games, around 25% is a balanced target. This allows you to fold junk hands that miss while continuing appropriately with disguised strong holdings against multiple opponents.
In 6-max, where you will play more hands per orbit, strive for a WTSD around 28%. You’ll need to see more flops and turn cards, necessitating a marginally higher showdown frequency. Significant deviation from these targets indicates potential leaks.
Sample Size Matters
WTSD requires a large sample size before you can draw robust conclusions. You only reach showdown occasionally, so it takes significant hands before WTSD stabilizes. Don’t make major judgements without at least 2,000. The more hands, the better.
Monitor your stats over thousands of hands, as random fluctuation can skew results in smaller samples. Only make strategy adjustments after observing meaningful WTSD trends over extended periods.
Adjusting for Game Format
While the guidelines above serve as useful benchmarks, optimal WTSD varies substantially across poker formats. In tournaments, early play resembles cash games, but as stacks become short, WTSD drops sharply. Late stages feature mostly push/fold play so you can’t make any accurate predictions based on WTSD stats alone in tournaments.
Heads-up and PLO also necessitate major WTSD adjustments. You’ll need to play a higher percentage of hands and see more flops. Nevertheless, the general goal of a balanced calling range that’s difficult to exploit still applies.
Using WTSD to Your Advantage
WTSD is most useful when exploiting player type tendencies. If two players have similar stack sizes, but one has an 18% WTSD and the other is at 32%, you should rarely bluff the calling station and frequently barrel the nit.
Pay close attention to WTSD trends on your HUD and reviewing past hand histories. If you notice yourself gravitating toward extremes, you likely have a leak to address. Balancing your WTSD based on game flow and opponent profiles is key. Often, you should be able to detect how frequently a player goes to showdown but don’t rely on the naked eye alone, take notes and use your HUD.
Obviously, you can’t use WTSD stats to your advantage when playing at live casinos offering Texas Hold’em. Whilst you can use observation to estimate stats, its only relevant if opponents are doing the same, which is rarely the case in live games.
While an indispensable stat, WTSD requires experience and context to interpret optimally. Mastering its use can provide powerful insights into your own play and that of your opponents. Along with reviewing your overall win rate, add WTSD monitoring to your poker improvement arsenal. In addition to using it to help your real-time decision making, review your own stats monthly or quarterly to ensure you haven’t developed leaks.