Input Requested: Do You Use Starting Hand Charts?

TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,086 -
edited June 28 in General Concepts
Hey All:

As part of an effort to improve and expand content, I have a handful of questions on a topic that tends to provoke eye-rolls. However, those of us on the content creation and production side here at Red Chip would be most grateful if you could provide responses to some or all of the following questions. We'll take the eye-rolls as already rolled.

Thanks in advance ~ Kat

1. Do you use starting hand charts? Are they created by others (books, software pre-sets) or did you create them yourself? How do you use them (live play, solver input...)?

2. If you use charts for live play, do you stick to them rigidly or commonly deviate? If the latter, why?

3. What is your opinion of the utility of starting hand charts in general?

4. The word "charts" tends to imply hard-copy, which is how these things were first unleashed. These days the word "charts" is more usefully replaced by "ranges" including open-raising, 3-betting, calling, and so on, and those ranges are commonly stored and accessed digitally. Do you think there is still a place for a book containing and explaining hand charts? What would it look like? Or does the easy availability of ranges online make books on the topic redundant?
Moderation In Moderation

Comments

  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,240 ✭✭✭✭✭
    One of the first books I read was "Internet Texas Holdem" by Hilger (really good starting book, BTW - basically how I learned to play). There were some hand charts in there. He ran a forum, and that forum had a meetup in Las Vegas one year. Hilger's wife came, and she was somewhat of a poker novice. She was playing in our little fun tournament using the hand chart visibly. We had it more or less memorized. One hand she shows up at showdown with a hand she's not supposed to have, and we all yelled "Whoa! What the hell?" and everyone had a big laugh.

    I did use a hand chart for the first few weeks I started playing (online). Once I more or less memorized it and understood the point behind it, I deviated more and never used it again. Never in live play. I think they're great for a beginner to use for a time. In live play, obviously it would be some sort of cell image or app. I wouldn't think it would be worth a book unless it was just a small part of what the book was about.
  • LeChiffreLeChiffre NetherlandsRed Chipper Posts: 197 ✭✭
    edited May 12
    Not a Pro/CORE member (yet) but here goes:

    1. Do you use starting hand charts? Are they created by others (books, software pre-sets) or did you create them yourself? How do you use them (live play, solver input...)?

    No, but when I got started I did. Used suggestions from Blackrain79 and various other websites and met them all somewhere in the middle and treated it as holy. Never used them for live or solvers, just online.

    2. If you use charts for live play, do you stick to them rigidly or commonly deviate? If the latter, why?

    Can't answer

    3. What is your opinion of the utility of starting hand charts in general?

    I think it's a great tool for starting players who tend to play too loose. Then as they get better postflop they can play wider as they see fit. Anyway, that's how I did it.

    4. The word "charts" tends to imply hard-copy, which is how these things were first unleashed. These days the word "charts" is more usefully replaced by "ranges" including open-raising, 3-betting, calling, and so on, and those ranges are commonly stored and accessed digitally. Do you think there is still a place for a book containing and explaining hand charts? What would it look like? Or does the easy availability of ranges online make books on the topic redundant?

    Don't think physical copies of anything are necessary. I liked having the charts printed out next to my screen, but that's about the extent of how I would physically like to interact with the content.
  • Wiki_LeaksWiki_Leaks Red Chipper Posts: 546 ✭✭✭
    Not having default opening ranges means you dont have a concrete strategy. Whether these charts are digital, on paper or committed to memory, you should use them. You cant deviate from a strategy which doesnt exist.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,505 ✭✭✭✭✭
    There's a reason they pass them out for free, however.
  • Barry PorchBarry Porch Red Chipper Posts: 6 ✭✭
    1. I used to be a member of Upswing Poker, and I used their starting ranges whenever I played online and tried to memorize them for live play.

    2. I stuck to the charts rigidly as it gave me less to think about while playing.

    3. Before I knew they existed, I would find myself in some spots where I wasn't sure what to do with certain hands in certain situations. I imagine I lost a ton of value by folding hands I should have played and playing hands I should have folded.

    4. I would buy a book dedicated to this subject. I guess I would be looking for a good starting point that I could customize as my experience grew. So, if the book also explained how the charts were created and how we could expand upon them as we progressed, I would be interested.
  • EazzyEazzy Red Chipper Posts: 887 ✭✭✭
    edited May 14
    I tend to have a pretty fixed preflop strategy. It's based on a series of articles Ed wrote on his old sight in pre flop play. (he took the sight down about 6 month ago_).

    In the articles he has some flexible parts, mainly from mid seats you would tighten up the suited Aces and suited connectors if you had agro players behind.

    Using this kind of logic...what type of player do I expect to play and how many I expect to be in the pot type thing, I adjust the type of hands.....KQ 3 limpers, I'm in mid seat a reasonable raise likely to get 6 way pot I fold, big fish in the blinds tightish table KQ I open to isolate the fish even if I'm UTG... type thing.

    Most of my adjustments are static though...which static set of hands is determined by my understanding of the game i'm playing in. I find consistency protects me from some tilt (as I mainly have a tighten up get passive tilt when things start going wrong and then questioning if I'm just playing too tight and passive because maybe I'm just tilting).

    Though this approach does leave money on the table, it tends to keep me out of trouble. An agro player to my right keeps raising the btn. I want to call more and check raise the flop and three bet more, probably could do it with any two cards...but I stick with my wider range, and let him run over the table if I'm not getting cards. May be a mistake but it keeps me from overreacting and playing spots with a bit more equity (fold and showdown).

    I don't know @thegameKat if you remember this article by Ed. on his veiw (well his view a few years ago...)
    https://redchippoker.com/playing-consistent-poker/

    I think Ed took it a bit too far, but this idea shaped my thinking
  • Thomas BThomas B Red Chipper Posts: 1 ✭✭
    1. Interactive chart viewer from Upswing and PokerSnowie's preflop advisor.

    2. Only online. Not 100% but fairly close. Player dependant.

    3. Great for beginners (like myself)

    4. Yes. I would like something interactive (or app) over charts/books.
  • Roy RentesRoy Rentes Red Chipper Posts: 14 ✭✭
    1 - Yes, i'm just starting out and every little helps. I use a program called "Range Manager" for doing up charts. I like the range of customisation it offers. I then use Flopzilla to evaluate the ranges.

    2 - No

    3 - See 1

    4 - Absolutely. Many sites, and RCP is no different, often exhort the listener/reader to go away and "develop your 3-bet ranges, opening ranges, calling ranges", with really no more guidance than that.
    This is the same as teaching a new driver how the clutch and brake pedals work, then getting out of the car while telling them "off you go, go around the block a few times". It's an unwelcome tossing into the deep end.
    A comprehensive guide detailing a middle of the road TAG players' ranges for pre-flop/post-flop/3-bet/calling would go a long way, and at least would provide the starting blocks for your own adaptation of same.
  • Roy RentesRoy Rentes Red Chipper Posts: 14 ✭✭
    Specifically, I would love some detailed discussion of why ranges are constructed as they are.
    I ask this as I have a great deal of confusion over the following:

    1 - There are several sites that rank the opening hands from 1-169. Hands were run millions of times, to see where they came (if run to showdown), 1-169.
    2 - There was a study I found that said that winning online players played around 15% of their hands in 9-ring cash games.

    Therefore, we take the top 15% of hands (top 25 of 169) and the resulting range looks absolutely nothing like the ranges anywhere else on the net. I really would like to know why the top 15% of hands are not represented in ranges publicly viewable.

    I've not seen any site explain this, so a book that did so would be great.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,086 -
    Roy Rentes wrote: »
    Specifically, I would love some detailed discussion of why ranges are constructed as they are.
    I ask this as I have a great deal of confusion over the following:

    1 - There are several sites that rank the opening hands from 1-169. Hands were run millions of times, to see where they came (if run to showdown), 1-169.
    2 - There was a study I found that said that winning online players played around 15% of their hands in 9-ring cash games.

    Therefore, we take the top 15% of hands (top 25 of 169) and the resulting range looks absolutely nothing like the ranges anywhere else on the net. I really would like to know why the top 15% of hands are not represented in ranges publicly viewable.

    I've not seen any site explain this, so a book that did so would be great.

    I believe the older rankings from 1-169 were based on hot-and-cold equity. That is, how does each hand perform against every other hand assuming we just run out the board.

    But that's not how poker works in practice. The potential to bet on each street folds out equity. So playability and the ability to reach showdown with the possibility of multiple bets has to be factored in to actual ranges.

    In more detail, different range constructions put differing amounts of emphasis on issues like board coverage. For example you'll often see an opening range that includes the specific hand 76s. The overall range might include less than 20% of hands. If you look at a 1-169 list of hand rankings I think 76s comes in around 45%. But constructing a range that includes hands like 76s allows us to connect with low flops.

    Going further, stack depth can impact range construction. Hands like 76s do better when stacks are relatively deep, whereas in a shallow-stacked situation you might throw out suited connectors and some suited aces in favor of offsuit broadways.

    Hope that helps a little. It's a big topic.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • ButchButch Red Chipper Posts: 162 ✭✭
    No, I don't use a chart. I studied several - Ed Miller, the Info graphic from Doug, various others. I generally play something like the Miller Ranges by default. But all kinds of factors have me deviate in practice at a Live table. I don't play online. I don't have my ranges memorized exactly and I don't use a reference while playing.
  • Joseph FJoseph F Red Chipper Posts: 701 ✭✭
    No. I construct my own charts and keep them dynamic according to game conditions.
  • BadgerBadger Red Chipper Posts: 27 ✭✭
    Hiya, I have been lurking for a while but an infrequent poster and this one caught my eye.

    1. Do you use starting hand charts? Are they created by others (books, software pre-sets) or did you create them yourself? How do you use them (live play, solver input...)?

    A. I do for my hand analysis and for a general guideline for each position at the live table. I am a big fan of Jonathon Little and use information from his books and his podcast to setup my ranges. So ninety percent someone else and ten percent my own.

    2. If you use charts for live play, do you stick to them rigidly or commonly deviate? If the latter, why?

    A. Right now I am sticking to them fairly strictly as I view a deviation from them to be an attempt to utilize an exploitative method against the opponents already in the hand or behind me. It maybe a hollow justification on my part but if you deviate from the ranges you have setup your image is going to shift at the poker table. The payoff has to be worth the risk to your table image and ability to bluff in the long run.

    An example: I find myself card dead for an hour and look down at Q9os in middle position with one limper and often wonder why not? It's only three bucks (1-3NL). By understanding that to other competent players I am the cards and range I play it helps to give me the discipline to fold this unless their is a juicy fish in the pot or BB.

    3. What is your opinion of the utility of starting hand charts in general?

    A. Extremely useful to experienced and veteran players. If your new you won't really appreciate what it is doing for you. I am a big believer in learning by doing and you have to screw around with the junk a few times and be punished to realize it really is junk. I remember a many years ago I read Negraneau's book and started throwing 24suited and 35suited into my starting range. It seriously damaged my game for several months till I realized I don't have his world class abilities with hand reading or player tells. Humility is a painful lesson.


    4. The word "charts" tends to imply hard-copy, which is how these things were first unleashed. These days the word "charts" is more usefully replaced by "ranges" including open-raising, 3-betting, calling, and so on, and those ranges are commonly stored and accessed digitally. Do you think there is still a place for a book containing and explaining hand charts? What would it look like? Or does the easy availability of ranges online make books on the topic redundant?

    A. I want to say that it would be dated within months of coming out...but I think
    that most players are looking for either a simplistic way to play the game or a way to condense a lot of information into a more efficient format and charts can do that.
    I think if you want it to stand out you need to present the information in a new format that is easier to process or includes more information, which is really, really hard to do.
    I am thinking of something like the "heat" maps baseball uses to track hitters abilities in the strike zone. If we could cross the standard hand range chart with a "Heat" mapping of opponent styles and ranges it might condense range analysis down into one chart for multiple situations.
  • RedRed Red Chipper Posts: 1,539 ✭✭✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    1. Do you use starting hand charts? Are they created by others (books, software pre-sets) or did you create them yourself? How do you use them (live play, solver input...)?
    Used at the very beginning of studying poker to build my own ranges. Now no more; I did build my own ranges based on my experience and room dynamic/player pool standard profile.
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    2. If you use charts for live play, do you stick to them rigidly or commonly deviate? If the latter, why?
    All ranges / charts have to be adapted to the game and table dynamic. That's why I don't use charts but build my own ranges.
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    3. What is your opinion of the utility of starting hand charts in general?
    Useful for beginner with little to no knowledge about the game.
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    4. The word "charts" tends to imply hard-copy, which is how these things were first unleashed. These days the word "charts" is more usefully replaced by "ranges" including open-raising, 3-betting, calling, and so on, and those ranges are commonly stored and accessed digitally. Do you think there is still a place for a book containing and explaining hand charts? What would it look like? Or does the easy availability of ranges online make books on the topic redundant?
    Almost books for beginner already have such ranges. And usually the authors explain how to use them and/or why they build it that way.

    A book only about ranges? Useless.

    The tight games of Vegas are different from the extreme calling-station games of Budapest, different from the loose-splashy Swiss underground games, different from the loose-aggro games of Prague. And I don't even think about deviations within a room or when table dynamic changes. Or the differences between online/live or cash/tourney.

    As there is no universal ranges, a book only containing them is imho totally useless. Only good introduction-to-poker books including ranges (and their explanation), like "Strategies for Beating Small Stakes Poker Cash Games" by Little, are useful.
  • TheGameKatTheGameKat Posts: 1,086 -
    This is great feedback, everyone. Thanks and please keep it coming.
    Moderation In Moderation
  • dnoyeBdnoyeB DetroitRed Chipper Posts: 276 ✭✭
    Absolutely. I use during online play but I don't carry the printouts to the casino with me. They are very useful. I created them myself. I started with Miller's ranges and tried to understand them. Then I modified for my games as best i can. It's hard enough to track opening ranges with all these printouts, if I had to do it from memory it just wouldn't work. Using them over and over again online helps me to get a feel for what I should do. Helps me to see how the choices help me. And prepares me for the casino.
  • moishetreatsmoishetreats Red Chipper Posts: 1,705 ✭✭✭✭
    TheGameKat wrote: »
    1. Do you use starting hand charts? Are they created by others (books, software pre-sets) or did you create them yourself? How do you use them (live play, solver input...)?

    I did, earlier on in my poker days. They were entirely created by others, and I used them for live play (since that's what I play). I needed them because I neither had a starting point nor the skills or capacity to develop my own.

    I don't use hand charts anymore.

    TheGameKat wrote: »
    2. If you use charts for live play, do you stick to them rigidly or commonly deviate? If the latter, why?

    While I don't use hand charts anymore, I certainly have default hands and ranges for various positions. That being said, they're defaulted based on opponents' stack sizes, styles of play, and overall play of the particular game.

    In the end, some hands (e.g., AA, 77, QJs, or 72o) don't require much thinking -- I pretty much play them the same way in 99% of the time. It's many of the ones in between where how I play is relative to the opponent and the game -- different hands have different ways to win (or lose) money in different scenarios. No chart -- and especially one that you follow rigidly -- can even come close to capturing all that.

    TheGameKat wrote: »
    3. What is your opinion of the utility of starting hand charts in general?

    Highly useful and highly dangerous.

    Highly useful for a beginner who is otherwise lost. It gives the beginner one less thing to think about while learning the game and its intricacies; it gives the beginner a range of hands that he or she is likely able to play profitably; and it gives the beginner confidence.

    The danger, though, is that a player uses a chart in the long-term as a hard-and-fast constitution. Doing so doesn't allow the player to grow into evaluating different opening ranges, calling ranges, and folding ranges to be used strategically against different opponents, stacks sizes, and game play.

    TheGameKat wrote: »
    4. The word "charts" tends to imply hard-copy, which is how these things were first unleashed. These days the word "charts" is more usefully replaced by "ranges" including open-raising, 3-betting, calling, and so on, and those ranges are commonly stored and accessed digitally. Do you think there is still a place for a book containing and explaining hand charts? What would it look like? Or does the easy availability of ranges online make books on the topic redundant?

    I think that this a broader question about books vs. online writing, and hand charts fits into that broader discussion.

  • jfarrow13jfarrow13 Red Chipper Posts: 1,160 ✭✭✭✭
    I just have ranges based on position and stack size. As get a feel for the game, that chart "changes", also based on player. My initial strategy is "play really tight from EP, if it's limped to me in LP open/steal with hands with decent equity". As I get a feel for the game, that chart and my opening size/strategy will shift depending on how loose or tight the game is, and how players play. I also haven't like put it to the test requires more trials but sometimes I've come to the table and opened like 3 hands in a row and immediately people think I'm just nuts, an image which sticks with me throughout the session. These sessions have been some of my biggest wins, including a 350+ BB win in an orbit in which I flopped trips with a K9 SB steal attempt, AK next hand in which the guy who showed down vs me tried to push me off top 2 (lol), and a combo draw vs TP which hit. Obvious run good at play for sure, but are people willing to put in 100+ BB over and over vs a squeaky tight player with TP? Na. So right player pool, right image, and run great = monster wins.
  • Martin DMartin D Red Chipper Posts: 79 ✭✭
    1. Sort of. I do some offtable work where I write down my starting ranges, fire up HM2 and ask myself if I'm missing money by playing/not playing X in X as default.
    2. I don't stick to them rigidly, but if I'm studying a spot later on one of my questions will be "is this hand a standard open for me, if not why did I open it and does that reason impact on the postflop action?"
    3. Good for starting out.
    4. I don't think there is a space for a book on standard ranges *unless* it also included comparisons to potential different ranges you might see villains using and discussions on those.

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