Weighting certain hands in my pre-flop range

ScottValScottVal Red Chipper Posts: 108
edited February 2017 in General Concepts
This topic isn't really about a specific hand, although it could be. Lately I've been using the pre-flop range recommended by Ed in his videos: 66+, suited broadways, AJ+, KQ, K9s, 76s+. However, I don't always play some of the weaker hands, even for an open-raise, maybe because I feel I've been active enough, I'm in an earlier position and I haven't won a pot in a while.

A specific example might go like this: I'm three from the button and it's folded to me and I have :8c:7c . Normally I would play this hand, but I've been fairly active lately, and there's a pretty tough player on the button. Typically he would call my pre-flop raise, and playing the hand against him will be tricky. So I let this one go.

I was wondering if anyone wanted to comment on this kind of pre-flop thinking. Thanks.


  • Sir_McBoozeSir_McBooze Red Chipper Posts: 43
    What you're doing is what SplitSuit would refer to as "being dynamic" preflop. It's definitely a great thing that you're paying attention to every detail you can and adjusting your play based on specific factors.

    The starting range you're using is a bit tight (at least for the button and cutoff - it's a bit loose for EP full-ring), and with the extra folds you're making in bad spots you will end up being a bit nitty overall. You can balance out the extra folds, however, by using the same logic that's keeping you out of bad spots to get yourself into good spots. For instance, just because :9h:7h, :2c:2s , and :Ad:4d aren't "in your range," if you're on the button, a big fish open-raises the cutoff to 3-4 bbs, and you're 200 bbs deep, you might want to peel a flop with one of those hands.

    Alternatively, if you've noticed that the player on the cutoff has a tendency to check/fold the flop or bet once/give up a lot, the blinds are tight, and you have a tight image, then you could also flat wider, this time with the intention of stealing the pot after the flop.

    Or if you're the cutoff and everyone behind you is tight, you can open-raise, say, :Js:9s . The possibilities are endless!

    Naturally, you don't want to get carried away, but if you think you see a legitimately prime spot, then take it!

    It's interesting to think about the philosophies that different (successful) people have. Ed has noted that he uses a rote preflop strategy these days, while James has always been an advocate of being very fluid in all situations. What's funny to me is that I feel like their contexts are backwards: Ed mostly talks about live games, while James's content (that I've read/watched) seems to be oriented towards online play. Yet I find myself playing much more robotically preflop when I'm multi-tabling online, where any spare time or brainpower is a big deal, and I try really hard to find unusual spots and extra value when I'm playing live, since you're only given 25 hands/hour.

    Ed's also been focused on GTO and unexploitable play, though, while SplitSuit is more about value and exploitation. I think that this is reflected in their approaches to preflop ranges.
  • Ed MillerEd Miller RCP Coach Posts: 330
    I think it's fine to fold the marginal hands in your preflop ranges if you aren't "feeling it" at the moment. By definition, the hands at the margins of your ranges are nearly break-even--in average conditions. If conditions are worse than average for whatever reason--and just plain not really wanting to play the hand qualifies, IMO, then it's probably a -EV hand at that moment.

    If you're considering folding hands considerably above the marginal hands, then it's probably time to take at least a quick break.
  • ScottValScottVal Red Chipper Posts: 108
    Thanks guys for the nice comments. I forgot to mention that suited Aces and J9s are normally in my range. I also understand that you can play looser from the cutoff and button, so I open up the fringes of the range a bit, like all PPs, some medium suited gappers, etc.

    Yea, sometimes I don't play some of the fringe hands, for whatever reason. Usually if I skip playing a hand, I'll remind myself to really lean toward playing a fringe hand "next time," otherwise I'm getting too tight!

    Ed, I read all your books since "Theory and Practice" and "Getting Started." I used your short stack strategy for a while and it helped me a lot. It's really nice to hear from you.

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