A common mistakes amongst poker players is that they attempt to put their opponent on an exact hand. Whilst it is sometimes possible to do this it is also very difficult and you are far better off trying to put your opponent on a possible range of hands and acting accordingly.

Hand ranges are exactly how they sound, a range of possible hands your opponent could be playing. To come up with some solid hand ranges you need to carefully observe your opponent, or if you

play poker online

use some poker tracking software and a heads-up display to help you. A tight player will have a more narrow range of hands whilst a loose player will have a wider range of hands in his repertoire.

When attempting to put a player on a hand you need to take into consideration a number of factors. You need to be aware of that particular player’s style, their position at the table in relation to the dealer button, how the rest of the table has been playing and their stack sizes, though the latter is not as important in a

cash game

where most players are deep stacked and can reload if they lose their chips.

The above will help you to put a player on a range of hands preflop but then you need to use the same factors, plus the addition of board texture, for working out their range on later streets. For example you are playing against a player who is playing 25% of his hands which according to PokerStove is 66+,A2s+,K6s+,Q8s+,J8s+,T8s+,A7o+,K9o+,QTo+,JTo which is quite a range and the flop comes down Ks3d8c and he continues the aggression. His range of hands will not be much narrower than they were preflop as only a number of hands would continue on this board. The only hands that connected with that flop, 88+, A8o, A8s, KQ, KQs and 98s, which is only 7.1% of hands, quite narrow. Now you can go back to preflop and do any of the hands he’s continuing fit with his actions before the flop was dealt?

Hand ranges come into their element when deciding on when to deciding whether or not to call an all-in bet in a tournament scenario. Say you are sat holding a pair of tens on the button and a player with 12 big blinds moves all-in from middle position. You estimate that his range will be any ace, any Broadway cards and any pair, which makes you a 63.5% favourite in the hand so if the pot is offering you better odds than this it is an easy call. However, if the player is tighter and only raising 88+,ATs+,KQs,ATo+,KQo then you are essentially flipping a coin at 51/49.

Do not attempt to put your opponents on exact hands, instead put them on a range of hands and see how your hand stands up against this range.
 

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