What Is A Poker Range?
A player's range is the set of all conceivable hands they could currently hold. Tighter players will have fewer starting hands in their range, while looser players will have numerous.
Before the flop, you should have a good idea of what cards your opponent might have in their hand, and you should continue to improve that range as the hand progresses.
In poker, ranges are discussed in four primary ways.
They can be substituted for one another, and eventually you will be asked to imagine all of them simultaneously. This means that you should be able to estimate the total number of possible combinations based just on the range matrix. You should be able to visualise form if you encounter one.
The 13-by-13 matrix should be familiar to you. The standard way for poker players to conceptualise ranges, this matrix presents all 169 possible beginning hands (1313 = 169)
Each pocket pair is shown along the matrix's diagonal, matched combinations are displayed above the diagonal, and unsuited combinations are shown below.
Selected hands are coloured in a way that helps them stand out from unselected hands in all poker software that utilises the matrix.
When expressed as a percentage, a range indicates what proportion of all possible starting hands has been chosen. To put it another way, if you play with zero hands, your percentage would be 0%. You'd get a perfect score of 100% if you played every hand.
When suits are taken into account, there are 1,326 distinct combinations, up from the original 169 possible starting hands. If you were to express pocket Aces as a percentage, you could do so by noting that there are six such combinations. 45%.
AA = 6/1,326 = 0.45%
Putting your opponent's preflop hand frequencies into percentage form allows you to more accurately reflect their actual variety of hands. You can estimate your opponent's range by starting with the top 15% of hands if you know they open-raise preflop 15% of the time.
The number of possible combinations for a player to make a hand is called the combo count. In reality, there are 16 possible combinations of Ace King, four of which are suited and twelve of which are unsuited despite the common misconception that there is just one.
Your opponent's identity, the nature of their action, the location at which it is being made, and your own strategy all factor into the range you provide them.
The number of hands a player is expected to play can be used as a good proxy for their range. Here is where you should focus on their frequencies and how tightly or loosely they would fit in a certain area.
A player who plays tight from early position and open-raises a few hands first to act is an example of a tight player. This is an illustration of a low frequency, and as we saw with the percentage form, a low frequency equals a low percentage form, which means that there are not many many hands in this range.
However, a LAG who open-raises from the button is more likely to do so with a large number of hands, which will lead to a larger %-form. A tight player would never open-raise with QT from UTG, but a loose aggressor (LAG) would do just that.
After you've figured out how far away your opponent is, you can start working on your own line. It's really nuanced, but here are the primary things I keep in mind:
Does their field of vision contain "too many" hands? Looser players may include many suspect hands in their repertoire.
How likely is it that all those extra hands will give in to aggression? In this case, you have a huge incentive to execute bluffs based on simple math against those extra hands, since they are likely to fold to a raise or reraise.
What will happen if those extra hands keep on being violent? Focus on acquiring thinner value if they refuse to fold those extra hands, as they will move to the next level with weak-marginal hands. Higher-level players should also think about how multi-street bluffing might affect the game.
Playing too many hands in a preflop range is common in lower stakes games. You'll have plenty of chances to discover bluff 3bets, make +EV preflop calls, and craft effective lines post-flop as a result.
A well-balanced poker range includes both strong bluffing and value-based holdings. This is typically discussed in the context of GTO and indifference points, and a straightforward example is provided to illustrate the notion.
Let's pretend you've reached the river in a poker game and decided to go all in, despite having a wager that's smaller than the amount of the pot. In this case, what would be a reasonable range? Now, if you have two value hands to every one bluff in your shoving range, you are completely balanced, as your opponent would be getting two to one on a call. There was no way for your opponent to increase their bankroll by making more hero calls or hero folds.
Once you’ve assigned your opponent’s range, the next stage is to design a plan for exploiting their range. Choosing the optimal course of action, determining the optimal size of your bet or raise to achieve your objective, and planning the number of bluffs you wish to employ are all part of this process.
To illustrate, let's imagine your opponent is an ABC poker player who, after getting to the turn, has a lot of one-pair hands that are going to detest having to call another bet on a terrifying turn card. What this indicates is that your bets are likely to cause several folds. You can take advantage of them by betting with all of your bluffing combinations, rather than trying to use a more balanced size + bluffing frequency.
Post-flop ranges can be calculated using the same method we've covered so far.
Create a strong range preflop, maintain it postflop, use forks as necessary, and tailor your line to the range they probably have.
The degree to which a player's range becomes tight, wide, strong, or weak after the flop depends on a wide variety of conditions. A few examples of these contrasts are being in vs. out of position, playing heads-up vs. multiway pots, and having a static vs. dynamic board.
Due to the wide variety of postflop situations, I've included some detailed examples below in which I explain the ranges I'm allocating postflop in a given hand.
The phrase "range" is becoming ubiquitous in poker games. Now, though, you may be wondering: what is a poker range, exactly? A player's range represents the most plausible range of hands they could possess at any given time.
All of us apply this idea subconsciously when we try to guess what cards our opponents are holding. Here, though, you'll find the resources you need to get a more nuanced comprehension of hand ranges and raise your game to the next level.
There are various contexts in which ranges might be useful, but preflop and postflop are two of the most prevalent. Therefore, these cases should serve as a starting point.
Since a player can't anticipate their opponent's moves before the flop, preflop ranges become important. Since there is no way to know how good an opponent is, you should always play as if they are.
To put it another way, their opponents can play any two cards inside their ranges or any two cards that are two cards away from their ranges. Any flushes or straights that the player's opponents hold should be played as well.
The player may wonder how they might guess the strength of their opponents' hands.
There is no better place to begin than with betting. We can infer that your opponent's range contains the top 15% of starting hands if they play roughly 15% of hands from Under the Gun. This would contain all possible pocket pairings from A-A through 7-7, as well as suited Aces down to approximately A-7, suited Kings down to about K-9, and offsuit holdings down to around A-T and Q-J.
Tools like Equilab are available for use in the construction of hand ranges.
You'll have a much better sense of your opponent's hand after the flop. They will have narrower post-flop ranges as a result. A player's range, and thus how tight or loose it should be, will depend on the board's type and texture.
It's not a good idea to try to pin down your opponent's hand strength before you've seen their entire hand. Once you realise this, you'll have a better grasp on your opponent's strategy and be in a better position to make a call based on your own estimation of range.
Always presume that your opponent has played flawlessly if you need to use their play to inform your own range. You'd be giving your opponent more credit than they deserve if you failed to consider the possibility that they had a draw. If your opponent has a tight range, you should always be able to get them to fold at least half of their hands by keeping yours tight.
Remember that the range's looseness or tightness depends on the board type. A player's range should be loosened up as a board becomes more coordinated. Because of this, players may choose to narrow their ranges if the board is only coordinated in one direction. When the board is chaotic, a player's range should get smaller to compensate.
The size and tightness of a player's range also depend on the flop type. For instance, when a player sees an under-coordinated flop (any three unpaired cards), their preflop range will narrow and their postflop range will widen. The opposite will occur with a well-coordinated board.
Likewise, ranges can be employed in real-time analysis. If you see your opponent raise with one hand but call with the other, you have a starting point for estimating his or her range. In this case, raising with pocket tens and calling with K-Q offsuit are both examples of strong play. A pair of tens, jacks, queens, kings, or aces is considered a winning hand here.
A player facing an opponent with this range should assume that his opponent has no more than nine extra hands in his range. Thus, it will be less difficult to play the pot odds and make the right decisions.
To further punish your opponent for not betting the turn and river and for bluffing with weak draws at the showdown, you should also bet on any flops that feature a probable straight or flush draw.
A player is considered stronger than his opponent and has the rank advantage when there is a significant range of probable hands that gives him a significant advantage. In other words, the combination of his cards allows him to play stronger hands. However, it would be an inaccurate interpretation of poker rankings to assume that this is the only aspect at play when deciding who is stronger than who.
The term "range advantage," which had fallen out of favour for a while, is experiencing a renaissance in recent years as poker undergoes a "expertization," in large part because of the proliferation of online gaming rooms, which is leading more and more players to understand the dynamics of probability during the games.
When playing poker, if one player has an edge due to card rank, they will usually aim to maintain that advantage until the finish of the hand. Although comparing the raw equity of one rank to another is the most common method for analysing the rank advantage, it is by no means the only one.
While raw equity is an important consideration when evaluating CNP ranks, and while statistical evidence suggests that the rank with the largest equity is also the best, this is not a hard and fast rule.
Consideration also needs to be given to the degree to which equality is distributed and to the degree to which individuals are vulnerable. The former gives us insight into the range of profitability by revealing the distribtion of equity within that range. It's also advantageous to have a polarised distribution (i.e., a high proportion of powerful hands and bluffs, and a low proportion of medium-strength hands).
The second, on the other hand, reveals which segments are most at risk and suffer the most when given free equity. It's a popular misconception—though a huge mistake that you should always play aggressively, barring situations where your opponent has a weak range. However, it's not always correct to play passively when your opponent has a weak range.
Putting opponents in their ranges precisely and successfully is a key skill that separates professional from recreational players. Professional poker players train until they are capable of handling these principles on their own and setting their opponents in the appropriate ranks, despite the fact that there are numerous poker tutorials and certain systems to determine the rank of each player based on the study of specific parameters.
In today's game of poker, knowing how to make strategic use of hand ranges is crucial. The range-building programme Equilab is worth considering. Practice will help you get better at anything. The better your long-term outcomes, the more effort you should devote to understanding how to design ranges efficiently.
The game of poker is not difficult at all. The rules of the game are generally straightforward, and all you need to get started is an understanding of the basics. If you're just playing for fun, you don't have to worry too much about becoming a good player.
Anybody, even if they aren't the most proficient or experienced player, can win money at poker. Learning the game can increase your odds of winning, but there is also enough luck involved in poker that even a novice player can win occasionally.
There are many people interested in poker. It's not hard to pick up the basics, and lots of people have fun with it. The game is fun for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds because of the cash prizes up for grabs.