For those users who start playing poker, it is often difficult to be sure of the best strategies that they can adopt at any given time to improve their game. To be more specific, it is very difficult to understand how the way in which it is played influences the intrinsic chance of this card game.
The key is to understand that you can optimize your gameplay and become a winning poker player in the long run if you keep a few basic rules in mind and act on them , without taking any more risks than necessary.
Beginning to walk the path of poker, beginning players are introduced to many new concepts and terms, which they may have never heard of, but which are essential to embark on serious and real learning.
One of these concepts is the range of hands , and closely related to it, the concept of poker tables . Once a beginning player knows this type of information about the game, it is impossible not to consider it if he wants to progress and maximize his profits in the future. Next we will delve fully into this theme, which you can use both in a physical casino and in your favorite online poker room .
When you face an opponent in a poker hand it is practically impossible to guess what his hand is , since the information we have about him is minimal. In fact, there are several similar hands that could be played the same way depending on what cards have been dealt on the table. So there’s no need to beat yourself up every time you can’t guess which hand each opponent has.
Instead, it’s much smarter to try to assign a range of possible hands to it, i.e. a set of hands. Based on this premise, the decisions we make will be better led to be profitable.
Going back to the question that several hands can be played in the same way, thinking about it the other way around is also useful to rule out that strategy: if we play a specific hand very clearly, we will be making it easier for the opponent to read our game. . That is, we will be giving him too many clues and revealing our intentions when we should not.
How to build ranges
In order to assign your opponents some ranges of hands, it is important to take advantage of all the information you get from their game . And when we talk about information, we’re not just referring to the cards you’ve been showing every time you get to the showdown, but EVERYTHING that goes into your involvement at the table : betting preflop, how you react to raises, if you tend to fold or he usually pays, how aggressive he is, how he plays draws, and so on.
Another question that can guide us to know his game is his “tells” such as gestures, reactions, involuntary movements, although this is not usually the main source to establish a range of hands; and it is more difficult to perceive in your first stage as a poker player.
When you face an unknown opponent, their range of hands will initially be quite wide and as the game progresses you will collect valuable information to be able to adjust the limits and establish smaller ranges that are linked to the way a hand is played. For example, if you make a preflop raise and your opponent re-raises, surely it is a powerful hand. On the other hand, if he only pays your raise, you will be able to discard that within the hand combinations he has AA, AKs and KK types (as long as you are facing a non-expert player).
Logically, it is very difficult to gather all the information you learn about your opponent and this is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to be a good poker player. For the online versions, you can help yourself by some poker software that collects relevant information and highlights those most necessary statistics to make your decisions. For example: what percentage of hands do you raise before the flop, what percentage do you pay, how many times do you usually call or fold when you are 3Bet, how many times do you usually cbet on the Flop or fold to an opponent, etc.
In any case, an important piece of advice is not to “robotize” rivals and take all this valuable information as one more aid when deciding, but without basing your game exclusively on previous statistics, but also on the specific analysis of each hand To do this, you must take into account all the factors that influence, such as: the position at the table, the stack of each player, if it is a poker tournament, see what phase they are in at any given time, etc.
Another crucial point that practice provides is the exercise of automating this collection of information. You will find many players that are similar to each other or to some that you have already faced and that will make it easier for you to form ranks that suit their style of play. Regardless, it’s always good to keep absorbing information and “update” it with how subsequent hands develop.
The hand tables
One of the most common tools in this regard, especially for poker beginners, is the hand chart . Generally, it is a tool to play before the flop, and it will indicate to you, according to your position, with which hands it is convenient for you to raise the bet (or pay) according to the mathematical probabilities that you will have to connect better hands than your opponents.
In short, these tables are also organized in ranges and can help you determine how aggressive or conservative your rivals are. As the name suggests, tables are graphs that analyze probabilities depending on the hand you have. They also tell you when you should bet and how to do it, with the option of adapting them to the cards on the poker table.
Taking into account that poker is a card game with multiple variables, it is essential that the tables adapt to the game mode , the number of players at the table and the position we occupy at any given time. In relation to the latter, it will not be the same to be in the position of the button in poker , much more advantageous after the flop, than in any other position.
Likewise, for tables with six players, the aggressiveness should be greater than in a table with nine for a mathematical reason: as fewer cards are dealt, there are five players who can have a better hand than ours instead of eight. Also, every six hands we have to pay the big blind and therefore we have to get more involved in the game.
Examples of hand ranges
As we have mentioned, with the information obtained you will be able to know if your opponent tends to play many or few hands (even before seeing the flop). This, by a mathematical question, will be telling you if your opponent usually plays with high value hands or if he prefers to see the flop even with marginal hands (or garbage) to try to connect some good hand and surprise the rest of the table.
Therefore, against a player who acts with a wide range, you should be aggressive and raise more often . Your hand will usually be stronger and will be the winner most of the time. That is, in the long term, you will win. On the contrary, against a narrow range you should be more careful and avoid betting more than necessary.
Improve palm reading
To improve hand reading in poker , the most important thing is experience , there is no doubt about that. In any case, there are also other methods that can help you be more effective in this regard.
One of them is to not look at your own cards and play only paying attention to what your opponents do : the objective is to find out what he can have and not to see how your own hand evolves. It goes without saying, but we are giving ourselves a huge advantage if we don’t look at our own cards. Therefore, for this type of practice it is essential to put the least possible amount of money at stake.
Knowing the pre-flop charts and hand ranges will go a long way in anticipating what your opponents might do during the game . Not only because your decisions will be much better targeted, but because you will have much more clarity on what the chances are that your opponent has a strong hand or is stealing the pot from you with a bluff.
With the passage of time and experience, you should improve the accuracy of your estimates and take 100% advantage of all the information obtained from the rival game .