Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hand Ranges -- Intro

Hand Ranges. So much of a successful holdem player's game depends on his or her ability to accurately assign ranges of hands to his or her opponents. Probably just as important is the corresponding ability to understand the range of hands that your opponents are putting you on given your own set of actions so far in any given hand.

I've been planning a series of posts about hand ranges for some time, and I probably have a hundred different hands and scenarios saved up already over the past few months since I've been thinking about this topic. I like these questions for posts because they require a very small amount of up-front information, and it can be really fun to use what can seem to a novice to be very little information and clues, to come up with a fairly narrow range of hands for certain players, even before the flop even comes out on the board.

Today Ima start with an easy one. This particular screenshot comes from the Mookie this week, which means that there are specific players involved with specific images that have been cultivated over months and months of play together with the bloggers. Image has a huge impact on putting a player on a range of hands (including yourself!), so in this case since the two players happen to be guys you may have played with before, you should most definitely use your perceived image of the players involved in whatever way you see fit. The question is, if you have to put the players in this pot on a hand or a range of hands, what range do you think they are likely holding, given their actions below?

Here's the setup. We are early in the Mookie, at the 25-50 level so we're talking somewhere in the first what, half hour or so of play. The action before the flop folds around to PirateLawyer in the hijack, who has been very active so far on the day and who raises it up 3x to 150 chips. I smooth called from the cutoff. The button and the small blind fold, but then Obie315 in the big blind repops the 150-chip bet up to 400 chips. PirateLawyer is next to act, and he re-reraises to 1375 chips. I think for two seconds and then I fold.

First question, before I show the screenshot, is what is my most likely hand range in this spot? I smooth called an LP raise from a stealer, and then I folded to a reraise and a re-reraise behind me. Get your ideas together, and I will skip some room before I show the screenshot of the hand in question below.

OK here it is:

So there I am with pocket 3s. With almost any pocket pair I am likely to call PirateLawyer in this spot for one raise before the flop. Especially with him sitting on a big stack, the set-mining (and implied tilt) odds are just too great to pass up. And a small pair is also consistent with my fold to the reraise and re-reraise behind me. So a small to medium pocket pair is a great hand range for me in this spot, but given the way that I play, reasonably speaking my range has got to be somewhat wider than this as well. All things equal, I might straight-up float PL with almost any two cards if I thought he was stealing, so it may be a little difficult to put me on specifically a small to medium pocket pair here.

But the better question is, what hand ranges do you assign Obie and PirateLawyer to here? Obie reraised less than the size of the pot from the big blind after a late-position raise and a call of that raise, both from fairly aggro opponents early in a blonkament. And then PL, who put in the original raise in the hand to begin with, re-reraises what looks like the size of the pot here, with me still to act behind him. What ranges of hands do you put these two guys on here?

I will give my comments later but am interesting in hearing everyone's thoughts in the comments. This sort of hand range assigning exercise is commonplace for the way I play every single hand I am involved in or even witness to at any poker table where I'm at, and it's something that I know basically all successful poker players do as well. So what do you think, what do these guys have in this spot?

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Blogger Bayne_S said...

If Obie has same view of PL as you that it is steal he has AK, AQ or TT+ for 1st raise.

PL reraise should narrow his range to top 20% of his opening range. If he is thinking he has a stealy image. AK or QQ+ otherwise

12:44 AM  
Blogger Shrike said...

Bayne is right. I won't spill the beans, though. (I love my carefully constructed image. Gets me action!)

I am writing up a recap of my Mookie FT run so I will have a bunch to say about this particular hand and a few others over on my blog later today.

12:54 AM  
Blogger HughDuffy said...

I don't know much about either of these guys but I'm going to say 88+, AKs, AQs for the first raise and QQ+ for the reraise.

1:58 AM  
Blogger Shrike said...

And the question then becomes, what did I have to put in the third bet?

Find out over at my blog. Or from Hoy when he updates this post.

2:27 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Why the fuck are you talking about hand ranges when you just look down and see "I got a pair" or "A8o whee" and slam it all in. Talk about something you know about like spending thousands of bucks on MTTs to finally win one so you can write about it in your blog.

2:47 AM  
Blogger Poker Brian said...

Im gonna take a stab and say PL has A-Ks or off, or A-Qs onry.

I'd put obie on a medium pp.

Im usually way off on these things...

2:54 AM  
Blogger Shrike said...

Check my blog, PB. You might be surprised. Or not.

3:07 AM  
Blogger PokerNotes99 said...

Funny, exactly same as Bayne said. But being a blogger tourney, who really knows?

3:45 AM  
Blogger PokerNotes99 said...

Waffles, so funny. Shrike really wants people to visit his blog it seems.

3:46 AM  
Blogger Shrike said...

Nah, I just wanted to show that I don't put in that many chips preflop with AQ! ;)

3:57 AM  
Blogger PokerNotes99 said...

That's cool because we all now AJ not AQ is the nuts preflop.

4:24 AM  
Blogger Poker nuttz said...

Hi I just started a blog on poker myself its good to know someone else is doing it. i like yours check mine out.

4:24 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Dude! AJ is the nuts on the flop. Unimproved. Every time.

4:41 AM  
Blogger columbo (at eifco dot org) said...

Here's my opinion. Ranges are WIDE in the early levels. I try to use them only in later levels.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Shrike said...

They aren't THAT wide to get that two people willing to stack off in the first two levels ...

5:02 AM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

Obviously they both have dooooces. I can't believe you folded.

10:10 PM  

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