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Extending the range of hands in position

Extending the range of hands in position
Learn how to expand the range of hands in position in your small/midle stakes hold'em.
by Academia   |   comments 0
Thursday, April 2 2020

Two of the most important pillars for any player who aims to become profitable in poker, certainly are: playing tight aggressive and really understanding the concept and importance of position in the game.

This article aims to make the reader understand a little better how to play more loose in the final positions, the importance of this and how much difference this strategy can generate in your winrate.

Basically, when we learn to play poker more seriously, we realize that a tight aggressive strategy is enough to beat games with low and medium-sized antes, in view of a number of factors, such as our opponents making a lot of mistakes, not understanding several fundamental concepts and, as a result, many hands ending up going to showdown. In summary: they pay too much, with hands and in situations that they shouldn't, at a very high frequency. Any reasonable and thinking player adapts easily to this context, playing the best hands, having a solid pre-flop strategy and slaughtering the villain's range. Up until here, ok, the standard and the ABC of poker play their role in the long run in our favor.

But my intention is to make us think a step up, increasing our winrate and slaughtering ranges of reasonable / medium strength, playing in position.

To this end, certain hands must be played harder, both pre and post flop, obviously, analyzing the actions of the villains as the hand goes. I will do some articles on hand reading, from the most basic to advanced, but for the moment, let's stick to the proposed theme.

Position facilitates all decision making in poker, serves to see future streets for free, charge opponent's draws, inflate the pot, play small ball, determine more precisely the range of the villain, in short, play real poker, be it basic or creative form. The lower the level of the opponent, the more faced up his hand becomes, making our life easier and more profitable.

At this very point I get to my point: if our opponents are weak and predictable, why, in position, do we not play a wide range of hands against them?

I confess that for a long time in my career, I was afraid to play more hands than I should in position, given that bad opponents tend to call a lot. But, with hours and hours at the tables, I started to realize that even my weak range exceeded a good part of the calling range of these bad players, not to mention the post flop edge on them. This became a powerful weapon to be used against these weak players calling stations: a more open range, but still strong enough to overcome their pre-call range, and my post-flop edge.

The purpose here is not to pass a table of ranges to be played, possible OOP call range of weak opponents, or anything like that. This would make the article too long and that is not the objective, at least at this point. What I want here is to open the eyes of some regulars, to the fact that they are shredding money by not playing a more open range, in position, against weak players who will, on their own, do the job for us.

Start observing the range these weak players play OOP, how they call with hands they shouldn't, how they get lost post-flop with dominated hands and weak draws. Go on to explore this error.

The last point that I think is important to stress is that you don't start playing too many hands, under the pretext of being in position. It is frustrating to lose a big pot to the table fish, as we are unable to beat a hand in which we are dominated and misread the villain's range. So pay attention to the hands that your opponents have been playing, even when we are not involved. Poker is, as we know, a game of incomplete information, and certain hands that we are not directly playing, but simply watching, are a source of valuable information for future situations and better decision making. Don't waste them playing Candy Crush.

Finally, I believe that expanding the range of hands in position is something that should be explored by any average player or above, taking into account, always, a correct balance of this range. Remember: we explore unbalanced and weak ranges, not the other way around!

Daniel Dornelles