Ranging is one of the most important aspects of poker. While plenty of competent players routinely make huge mistakes, making sure that they make these mistakes against you instead of against someone else is essential to generating a positive long-term ROI. Thus, becoming good at range estimation is something every poker player must work on.
The Range Estimation
Online poker sites are moving towards making their games more difficult for players to beat. There are many reasons for this, but the long and short of it is that companies want to make their games tougher because tough games mean bigger pots, which means fatter profit margins. Unfortunately, they also mean more accurate hand ranges from opponents, which makes range estimation even harder than it already is.
This article will discuss how you improve your range estimation abilities in tougher games and some of the pitfalls new players should avoid when performing these estimations. These tips are not exhaustive by any means; they are merely some helpful reminders.
The less information you have, the bigger the range (in most cases)
The single biggest mistake most people make when estimating their opponent’s ranges is forgetting the first and second fundamental rules of poker:
1) Poker is a game where you play your hand, not your opponent.
2) Only two things matter in poker: what cards you have and what cards your opponent has.
So how does information affect your opponent’s range estimation? Put, the less information you have, the bigger the range you should estimate for them.
The Mind Games
Consider a player who is dealt two suited face cards and a gutshot straight draw against another in the middle position. They raise to 3xBB, and their opponent shoves. What do they put their opponent on?
Many players who have only been playing a few months will put their opponent on a set or top pair because they know it is hard for someone to shove with air in the middle position. In reality, this is not true. Not having much information about your opponent’s playstyle means that you need to apply the second fundamental rule of poker and assume that your opponent has a wider range than normal.
People who make this mistake often say things like, “I knew my opponent was crazy and would shove with anything.” This is not true, and it is a very dangerous way to think about 카지노커뮤니티 poker. People do not shove with air; they do it because their opponent makes it seem like they would.
Since we only have the information that our opponent shoved and we know nothing about their playstyle, we can assume they could be shoving with sets, two-pair, three-of-a-kinds, straight draws, and even weak top pairs and flushes. This means that you want to put your opponent on a fairly wide range in this situation and not be too surprised if they have air.
When you do this, you will notice that it is much easier to induce bluffs and value bets if they do indeed have air. So even though we would lose more money by folding than we would win by calling with hands like the one discussed, we come out ahead in the long run because our range is very profitable.
The other side story
In contrast to what we just discussed, when you have a lot of information about your opponent’s playstyle and tendencies, then you can get away with assuming that they will shove with a much narrower range of hands.
On a concluding note, it is important to remember that you should always assume your opponent has a very wide range when you have little information. However, the converse does not necessarily hold for everything. If you know someone’s playstyle well and what hands they shove with, then try playing a few games where you put them on a tiny range and see how it goes.