What exactly is VP$IP in online Poker?

When you play online poker using poker software one of the most relied upon statistics is VPIP. VPIP or VP$IP is an initialism for Voluntarily Putting Money In the Pot. This is a very descriptive statistic of your opponents because it shows you their willingness to play hands, translated as are they tight players or are they loose players. VP$IP is a preflop statistic, so it also represents a player’s fundamental preflop strategy or lack-there-of.

Well its actually a simple calculation of the number of hands a player voluntarily puts money in the pot, divided into the total amount of hands dealt to that player. You can then express that as a percentage to get your VP$IP.

So for example if a player voluntarily put money into the pot 27 times out of 68 hands he was dealt his VP$IP would be 39%. If he put money in the pot 62 times out of 394 hands his VP$IP would be 16%. If both of theses VPIPs held up over a long period of data, then obviously we are dealing with very different styles of players here and this is very reflective of the loose and tight scale.

The actual counting of a VP$IP action needs to be clarified though because a player can actually be in a hand, and not be VP$IP. That happens when he is the big blind like where there were limpers ahead of him, none of which raised the pot. So the big-blind got a look at the flop without having to put anything else in.

Here these three players obviously are VP$IP-ing because they all limped into the pot, but the big blind had no choice as his was a forced bet and part of the game. Forced is NOT voluntary, hence this will not count to his VP$IP stats, even though he may continue to play in the hand after the flop. But what about the small blind? That is a forced bet too, but he cannot play unless (in this case) he calls the full blind bet. Well, even to top-up the small blind, that is STILL a voluntary action and WILL count to that player’s VP$IP. If he decides to fold pre-flop, then he does not add to his VP$IP percentage.

So that loose tight scale I mentioned before is actually the ground-breaking work of a famous doctor of philosophy who actually players poker too. This guy – Dr. Alan Schoonmaker, ok maybe he is not so famous, but he does play poker, and in his classic Book, The Psychology of Poker you will find this profile grid which you can use to accurately identify the characteristics of your opponents. This scale is at the core of most poker software programs and these videos will help you see the relation between them.

This will come up more later but suffice to say for now, a player with a low VP$IP will be positioned somewhere on the tighter range of this grid as opposed to a player with a higher VP$IP and positioned on the looser range of this grid. When you understand all of the other profile indicators used in poker calculators and combine that with VP$IP, you will be able to pinpoint your opponents past and predictable playing style, and only then be able to make profitable adjustments in your game.