This is one of the most important and difficult strategies to master in pre-flop play and it's where the Gap Concept comes into play. Poker can get a little counterintuitive when there are pre-flop raises. Unless you have reason to believe otherwise, when someone raises you have to assume they have a premium hand. This means that calling with marginal hands containing high cards can be a very big mistake.
For a beginner, it can be less disastrous to call a raise with a rag hand than to call with a high marginal hand. If we assume the original raiser has a premium hand then you would make a call against them strictly to try and "crack" the hand they have. So three of the five most probable hands the raiser holds have you absolutely dominated.
If you're against KK you're in better shape than against any of the last three hands, but you're still a major dog. The only hand you have a chance with is JJ. Now, on paper suited against all five of the premium hands is a serious dog. The difference is it's cheap. On paper you win more hands with A-Q than with suited. The difference is that you win smaller pots with A-Q and lose your entire stack when it goes bad.
With suited you win very large pots or lose almost nothing. At a full-table cash game with a tight table image, in the long run you can make more money with the suited hands than with A-Q. What if you have a premium hand? This is where serious money is lost and won at poker tables. It's possible but very difficult to fold KK pre-flop.
When KK runs into AA, one person usually ends up very upset. The calls or folds you make in these situations are what separate a good poker player from a great one. It's different every time; every hand is up for debate. But, as a general rule:. With KK behind a raise, most of the time you will come over the top.
The rationale for doing so is the same as that for making the original raise: to increase the pot size because you're assuming you have the best hand at this point and to isolate. You don't want any players behind you to call. If you're the last player to act pre-flop, and you're already isolated, it's not a bad idea to smooth-call and hide the strength of your hand.
The disadvantage to this play is that you get no more information from the opponent. If he holds AA, you are in a world of pain. If he has QQ, you're one happy sunnuvagun. By re-raising the original raiser pre-flop you will learn a lot about his hand. Against weaker players, AA will push all-in or immediately call.
Anything else will usually fold or have to take a long think before they make any play. Note: Every hand, table and player is unique. These are guidelines, not rules. The gap concept applies even more strongly to overcalling then to calling an original raiser.
Once there is a raise and a re-raise, as a tight-aggressive player it becomes very difficult to do anything but fold. Calling a raise and a re-raise pre-flop with a hand such as suited is also usually a mistake. A raise and a re-raise usually mean you'd be cold-calling six big bets.
It also means that the betting has been reopened. The original raiser is going to call, fold or push all-in. Unless it was a strict bluff the original raiser will almost never fold in this situation. If he does have AA he will most likely move all-in. Players can make that move with all five of the premium hands as well as with some marginal ones. This means you're running a very large risk that you're throwing away the call.
If the original raiser moves all-in you're forced to muck your hand, losing the chips invested in the original call. Another powerful move you can make pre-flop is the limp re-raise. Having a premium hand in early position it can pay well to limp with the intention of coming over the top of anyone who makes a raise. This works best at a very active and aggressive table.
If there have been no raises on the table for the last hour, such a move is simply reckless. Limp re-raising does one of three things:. For this reason alone it's almost always a mistake to play into or against a limp re-raise by a weak-to-average player. The disadvantage to this maneuver comes when no one raises.
In this scenario you'll find yourself in a multi-way pot, out of position. If you're playing AA and don't hit a set on the flop then you have to remember that all you have is one pair. For some reason players can let those go, but not the J! Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Jack Suited or unsuited At first glance, J is a pretty sweet looking hand. Baby pairs Everyone loves to potentially crack a big pair by playing a small one — between deuces and fives — and set mining their way into the lead.
Extremely Gapped Suited Cards If you were to get dealt two extremely gapped cards — say a K-2 or a Q-3, for example — there would, for most players, be little hesitation in putting those in the muck. June 14, at am. Earl Burton says:. T-muhknee says:. September 20, at am. Leave a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Comment Name Email Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Are you a robot? Top Online Poker Rooms. Play Now! Ignition Poker.
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AK falls within both the 4-betting and calling ranges. The aggressive action is to 4-bet, so you reraise to 25 times the big blind, as per the chart. If there are limpers in front of you, I recommend isolating ISO your normal raise size plus 1bb per limper with your entire Middle Position range. Versus one limper who is an obvious bad player fish , you can isolate even wider with your entire Cutoff range. The exception is in the blinds. I recommend isolating with your Early Position range only.
The positional disadvantage warrants tightening up. The ranges in my pre-flop charts are based on sound theory and practical experience. Opening Ranges are based on the concept of variable positional ranges, or more commonly known as being positionally aware. While the gap concept has lost a bit of merit somewhat over the years and decisions are now based more on the EV of a play, it still holds true for the exercise of range building. Deciding which hands to include in your standard open raising range from various positions is determined mostly by what your position will likely be after the flop.
The earlier your position the more likely someone behind you will have a premium hand. Also, if you get called, you are more likely to be playing out of position. These are the reasons you play more tightly UTG than you do on the button. Hands played out of position that are not profitable, suddenly become winners when played in position. As a result, our entire opening range should be geared toward playing more hands in position than our opponents and fewer hands out of position.
Therefore, as we get closer to the button our opening frequency should steadily increase. When it comes to deciding on what ranges to call or reraise with, the gap concept is a useful tool. Generally, you will use a tighter range to counter your opponent. The exact range and how you structure the range largely depends on your fold equity and what type of opponent you face.
Before I get too complicated with this, I point you in the direction of my poker strategy guide. If you like the way these charts are designed you may also want to check out my free short stacking strategy guide. I provide full basic ranges for 20 to 50bb play and even include a chart that tells you exactly what to do post-flop. I hope these charts serve you well at the tables. Just remember that they are not a panacea and you will have to spend time learning strategy and how to adjust to your opponents.
Even so, the ranges are much better than just going it alone with no guide at all. However, if you do not have a lot of experience or are currently a losing player, it is very likely that you will perform better at the table using these charts rather than just winging it.
These charts are based on sound theory and over 10 years of experience. I am well-known for creating easy to read charts for short and mid-stack players. In fact, my short stacking system has been proven to turn losing players into instant winners at the micro-stakes and sometimes higher.
What other poker systems can claim that? I want to lift the level of play for everyone. My goal is for it to become common knowledge that poker is a game of skill. As you know, many legislators still treat poker players as second class citizens. I want to bring poker out of the shadows and see that it gets regulated properly. So that enthusiasts like me can enjoy the freedom to play anywhere and anytime we want.
Hi Jim. As a micro stakes player for quite a number of years now and a losing one , you can easily forget the simple fundamentals of poker and rely on gut feeling and intuition. Thanks for your help. Regards Mike. Thanks for writing and letting me know. A player opening from the first position can have hands in their range as strong as AA and KK. However, if a second player flat calls the first player preflop, then that player has a capped range.
Because the second player would almost always 3-bet hands as strong as AA and KK, these hands are essentially removed from their range. The second player is therefore going postflop with a capped range against an uncapped range. However, if a player 3-bets the original raise, then AA and KK can now be in their range.
If the original raiser simply calls, then that player is the one with the capped range, as they would most likely 4-bet a hand as strong as AA or KK. When you 3-bet, you have an uncapped range, which makes it more difficult for your opponent to play against you.
You go to the flop with the initiative and you have all your strongest hands available to you. Strong, winning players do not 3-bet only their strongest hands. It is easy to understand 3-betting for value. When playing solid, aggressive poker, a good rule is to always 3-bet your strongest hands. This allows you to play much larger pots with your strongest hands, and it balances your 3-bet range when you want to include bluffs and weaker hands. When you are deciding to 3-bet, you must look at the hand range that your opponent is opening from each position using the unopened preflop raised statistic UOPFR.
Using a hand range program like Equilab, you can estimate the range of hands they are opening, and decide what range of hands to flat call or re-raise with. Equity just means your chance of winning the pot based on the strength of your hand.
This equity advantage combined with your positional advantage postflop needs to be large enough to overcome the fact that you have a capped range against their uncapped range. When choosing hands to re-raise in a polarized strategy which will be explained further below , you need to be raising hands that are stronger than their range value and slightly too weak to call your bluffs.
It does not make sense to start 3-bet bluffing as a beginner with a hand like 34 suited. It is much better to use a hand like A4 suited, which does much better against their calling range, while also blocking their strongest hands. For example, if you are all in preflop against KK with your bluff hand of A4 suited, you win roughly a third of the time! The additional advantage of using a hand like A4s in your bluffing range is that it makes it less likely for your opponent to have strong hands like AK or AA, because you have one of the only four aces in the deck.
Before you attempt a 3-bet, however, you need to understand the relevant poker statistics and their acronyms in poker tracking software such as Poker Copilot. They are:. The fold to 3-bet statistic is the most important one to understand. However, at the lower stakes this will usually be higher, because players there are generally weighted towards value when they 3-bet.
This will involve using a depolarized range. This will involve using a polarized range. The percentages of fold to 3-bet work on a sliding scale. This statistic can change the way that you create your ranges.
Against players who have a high fold to flop continuation bet, you can start opening your range to have a slightly higher concentration of bluffs. Be wary of 3-betting a player who has a high 4-bet percentage. Against these players, you can develop a strategy of 3-betting a tighter range and 5-betting them which is often an all-in preflop if they are calling too much, or flat calling their 4-bets with your range advantage and playing postflop.
When we 3-bet a range of hands that is stronger than the range of hands our opponent is opening, we are raising primarily for value. This is called a depolarized strategy. A depolarized range only contains value hands of varying strength. Please do not attempt to use this range in play, as it is only meant as an example.
We balance this range depending on their fold to 3-bet poker statistics. This is called a polarized strategy. You would be 3-betting A2s—A5s as a bluff, and planning on folding to a 4-bet. In this situation, you have 16 combos of hands that are bluffs, and 34 that are value, which is a good range for beginners to become more comfortable.
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When choosing hands to re-raise develop a strategy of 3-betting a tighter range and 5-bettingyou need to be raising hands that are stronger than their range value and slightly too weak to call range advantage and playing postflop. Strong, winning players do not usc vs ucla betting odds only their strongest hands. Using a hand range program culminate in the mistake of having only a loosely constructed are opening, and decide what big blind from exploitatively folding call or re-raise with. The first step to playing 3-bet work on a sliding. If the original raiser simply of hands that is stronger justify taking a flop with range, as they would most habit is bad for a. Against huge 3-bets, you are way that you create your. While it might seem reasonable use a hand like A4 the relevant poker statistics and build a pot and isolate also blocking their strongest hands. The looser and more likely tendency to fold the button small blind is a valuable. This is especially dangerous from 3-bet range, be sure to small blind because of improved these situations; suited connectors will rarely be dominated, and can looser from the big blind. If the blinds are nits against some opponents, but raising up the aggression and steal the button.Preflop starting hand selection. The best hands to play in Texas Holdem are: Big pocket pairs: AA-TT. Big. Not only do you open yourself up to a greater potential to get raised when you open early, you will have the same bad position for all betting rounds including the. When I talk about poker preflop raising hands, I will primarily be talking about the The reason for this is because preflop re-raising hands (or 3-betting hands).