Poker Ranges Explained – How to Play Your Hands Like a Pro

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For a long time, both live and online poker players continuously attempted to predict the precise cards held by the other player(s) when competing. As the game developed and individuals began to deliberate more diligently regarding it, the idea of poker ranges was created as a totally new approach for thinking about the cards that one individual may have in the hole.

To develop into an expert poker player, you must think about poker hands in terms of poker ranges because that is the only means by which you can arrive at informed choices.

If you’re completely a novice to the game or have just enjoyed playing for fun, this Bet999 piece will demonstrate to you how to view the game of poker in the context of poker ranges and explain what a poker range is, how to create ranges in poker, and how to position your rivals on a hand range rather than a specific hand.

Let’s take a closer look at exactly what a poker range is as well as what makes up one before showing you how to build your hand ranges or consider your rivals’ ranges in various poker games you can play.

What Is a Poker Hand Range?

A poker range is, to put it simply, a group of poker hands that one individual might have in the hole depending on their behavior. Every player uses a 100% poker hand range, consisting of all potential card combos, when the cards have just been dealt because at that moment, any card can be held. You can begin to determine the hand ranges of each participant at the playing surface as the hand goes on by keeping an eye on:

  • Player behavior
  • Bet amounts
  • Player propensities
  • Numerous tells

You can begin to ascertain details about an individual’s hand range immediately as they execute a move. You can start removing hands out of their range as soon as they raise the stakes or make a call. For instance, a typically tight opponent raising from UTG+1 is unlikely to have a hand like 95 or K3, thus you can instantly exclude these and related poker hands from their possible ranges.

Always consider the past as the hand progresses and keep in mind those hands you have previously ruled out of their range because of a prior action. When a hand is taken out of a range, it can never be added back in because, if you are completing the analysis correctly, the poker range only gets smaller with each move.

It’s inevitable that estimating another individual’s poker hand range involves some degree of guesswork, but the better and more accurately you can do so, the more reliably you can place your rivals’ holdings inside the proper range.

Poker ranges: Poker range charts

The collection of hands that a player might have in a specific situation depending on their decisions and prior play are referred to as poker ranges. For any good poker player, having the capacity to precisely estimate an opponent’s range and modify your strategy appropriately is a crucial ability.

Poker Range Chart

These ranges are shown graphically in poker range charts. Texas Hold’em has 169 possible hand combos, and they can all fit neatly on a 13×13 board with pocket pairs spanning along the top left to bottom right diagonal and suited hands in the top right of the board, and offsuit hands in the bottom left.

Poker Range Chart

Although it could appear from the poker hand matrix above that there are equal numbers of each hand, this is untrue. There are actually sixteen unpaired hand permutations and six pairs of hands, with the unpaired hands being made up of four suites and twelve unsuits. Let’s dissect AA and AK as an illustration.

Paired Hands: There are six different pairings that can be made: A♥A♣, A♥A♦, A♥A♠, A♣A♦, A♣A♠, A♣A♠.

Suited Hands: There’s a total of 4 sets of suited hands, they are: A♥K♥, A♣K♣, A♦K♦, A♠K♠

Unsuited Hands:  A♥K♣, A♥K♦, A♥K♠, A♣K♦, A♣K♠, A♦K♠, A♣K♥, A♦K♥, A♠K♥, A♦K♣, A♠K♣, A♠K♦. 

Range Your Opponents: The 4 Forms Of Poker Ranges

The notion of poker hand ranges is utilized during tutoring and review sessions. Poker ranges are typically given in one of four different formats:

  • A poker matrix
  • By way of a range combination
  • Presented as a percentage
  • In the form of a range strand

We shall then discuss each on of them in more details.

Poker Hand Ranges In The Poker Matrix

One of the methods that is utilized across all disciplines to display and manipulate hand ranges is the poker hand matrix. There are 169 different starting hand combinations, which are presented in a 13 x 13 grid.

Poker Hand Ranges In The Poker Matrix

As one can observe, the hands indicated in red that are arranged horizontally across the matrix stand in for all potential pocket pairings.

The alphabet “s” has been added to the hands above the diagonal, signifying that they are suited hands. For off-suited pairings, the character “o” is added to the hands below the diagonal.

Poker Hand Ranges In The Form Of Range Combos

Combos are frequently employed to describe all the potential ways an individual can make a particular hand while discussing hand ranges. Combinations can be suited and not suited regardless we are discussing unpaired or paired hands.

There are a maximum of six pairings for a pocket pair. Take pocket sevens as an illustration; there are six ways this hand could be combined. They are; 7d 7h, 7d 7s, 7d 7c, 7h 7s, 7s 7c, and 7h 7c. In this case, we would use the phrase “the individual has 6 combos of pocket sevens in his range” to describe a range of pocket sevens.

In addition, there exist twelve unsuited combos, four suited combos, and sixteen unpaired hand combos. They are:

  • Suited: As Ks, Ad Kd, Ac Kc, and Ah Kh.
  • Offsuit: As Kd, As Kc, As Kh, Ad Ks, Ad Kc, Ad Kh, Ac Ks, Ac Kd, Ac Kh, Ac Ks, Ac Kd, and Ac Kh.

In order to state that an individual has all possible AK combos in his or her range, we could state that the individual has sixteen AK combinations in his or her range, and in order to say that the person only has suited AK combos in his or her range, we would say that the player has four AK combos.

Poker Hand Ranges In The Form Of a Percentage

The ranges of poker hands can also be displayed as percentages same as poker odds. When a hand range is expressed as a percentage, it indicates you are referring to the amount of hands out of all potential total hands.

If you’re utilizing a poker software, the data will constantly be presented as percentages.

For instance, it might indicate that the player in question possesses a 18 VPIP stat from the middle spot. This indicates that from this spot, the player is playing 18% of hands, as shown by the chart below:

Poker Hand Ranges In The Form Of a Percentage

Poker Hand Ranges In The Form Of Range Strands

Range strands are another way to present poker hand ranges. A range strand displays a text-based poker hand range.

The following would be an illustration of a hand range shown as range strands:

  • 22+, indicates that the player has access to all pocket pairs within his range.
  • 77+, indicates that the player’s range includes pocket sevens and superior pairs.
  • ATs-AQs: A person’s range includes ATs, AJs, and AQs.
Poker Hand Ranges In The Form Of Range Strands

The combo that comes prior the dash tells us the smallest combo within the the participant’s range of hands, while the pair that comes after the dash tells us the greatest pair in the the participant’s range of hands.

Analysis of Poker Hand Ranges: How Do You Put Your Rival on a Range?

You must start considering  poker in terms of ranges at all occasions if you’re hoping to play poker like professionals do, and you must adhere to this technique under all circumstances. When considering your cards, you should always play a variety of hands in a specific way to produce a range that is well-rounded and difficult to take advantage of. Your precise hand ranges will always rely on a number of variables, including:

  • Game Format
  • Stack Size
  • In what position you sit
  • Prior Actions
  • Players to Act Behind

By imitating the starting hand ranges of some famous players, you may quickly learn some fundamental hand ranges for your game type, regardless of if it be competitions or cash games.

You have to figure out how to maintain an equilibrium quantity of bluffs and value bets in your range, though, as the hand goes on and ranges become more constrained. Constantly keep in mind that strong players are also considering your hand range rather than a specific holding.

According to their habits, you may choose to construct a poker range that consists primarily of value bets or additional bluffs versus smaller competitors. Whatever the situation, keep in mind that how you build your poker ranges affects how other individuals perceive you at the poker table and how they compete against you.

Why Are Poker Hand Ranges Important

Poker ranges are significant due to the fact that they enable you to determine, based on all the data at your disposal, what your rival may be holding in a given situation.

In poker, it is considerably simpler and more logical to make an effort to put another player on a variety of hands rather than attempt to predict their precise cards, which is why all successful players have included this strategy into their games.

It is imperative to become familiar with poker ranges as soon as you begin playing the game since they serve as the basis for mastering the art of accurate hand analysis and becoming a successful player.

Poker hand ranges will not just help you become a better hand reader, but they will also teach you how to develop your own ranges for particular scenarios, making them another essential component of every poker player’s strategy.

How To Figure Out Poker Hand Ranges

How To Figure Out Poker Hand Ranges

When determining the range of your opponent’s hands, you must take into account a number of variables. These consist of:

  • The individual’s level of expertise
  • Player’s actions and playing style
  • The wagers
  • How much chips is in a player’s stack
  • A dynamics of the game
  • Position of the player at the table

At first, giving heed to all these elements could seem daunting, but as you play more, you’ll see that they start to make sense when these circumstances arise.

How To Determine A Poker Player’s Preflop Hand Range

This procedure ought to be more simpler if monitoring software is being used. Just keep in mind that the results only matter if you have an adequate number of hands on your opponent.

Let’s begin by attempting to determine an individual’s preflop range using a fictitious scenario.

You possess 7s 7d on the button and are engaged in 1/2 No Limit Holdem when the individual UTG raises. The game is then folded to you. This is the initial hand you are engaged in versus this particular opponent.

You ought to be attempting to place the UTG player on an hand range at this stage in order to decide how to proceed with your own hand.

The ideal method to begin when playing against an unfamiliar opponent is to place him on a similar range of hands that you could play with from UTG.

If your UTG opening range consists of all pocket pairs, top-suited broadways, and a few offsuit broadway combinations, then it is as follows. It would appear similar to this.

How To Determine A Poker Player's Preflop Hand Range

After putting your rival on a preflop range of hands, you now have an initial point to build your gameplay on.

It’s important to keep in mind that you’ll get better at figuring out an opponent’s range the more games you play against him. We are competing against an unfamiliar opponent in this scenario, therefore we have to guess to a greater degree his range.

How To Determine A Poker Player’s Postflop Hand Range

Let’s assume for the purposes of this illustration that you execute the call, the small blind folds, the big blind does as well, and we proceed to the flop as there is no straddle.

When Ah, 6h, and 5c appear on the flop, the other player chooses to check.

Given that you are competing with an unfamiliar opponent, the best option is to think about the hand combos you would choose to check on this table given the circumstances you raised at UTG preflop.

Assuming you would wager the majority of your sets (or perhaps check AA), every single one of your flushes draws, virtually every one of your top pairs, as well as all of the hands that failed to connect to the the surface. The only cards you have in your checking range now are pocket aces, underpairs, and the weakest Ax hands.

After checking on the flop, the competitor’s range is now similar to this.

Opponent's Range Following his Check on the Flop

His check on the flop gave us sufficient details to further limit his range. Once more, this is not to suggest that he cannot have any of the combos that were eliminated, but in most cases, given the actions he did, he is unlikely to possess such hands in this range.

Let’s imagine, once more for the purpose of illustration, that you place a half-pot wager and he calls. Consider the preflop raiser’s hands that you will check call in this scenario.

Most likely, you would fold underpairs 22–44 and call 77–AA, AJo, and ATs.

We presume that these are the only mixtures still in his hand range following his check call on the flop.

Opponent's Range now resembles this following his check on the flop

Every time we learn something new about the other player and the board, we go through a similar process again until the hand is over. This is obviously a simplified illustration because true strategy typically includes mixed plays that occasionally entail checking and occasionally involve gambling the same hand, but you get the concept.

Now, if you proceed to the showdown in this instance and the other player arrives with a hand that you failed to place in his range, such as 6d 5h, don’t let this deter you from doing so in future games.

Equity Comparison: Your Hand VS. Your Oppositions’

Equity Comparison: Your Hand VS. Your Oppositions'

If you’re not a math prodigy, determining the equity of your hand in relation to your opponent’s range whilst seated at the table can never be an exact science. However, there are workarounds for those of us who struggle with numbers. Here is a summary of how to determine the equity of your hand given the range of your rival.

  • Give your Adversary a Preflop Range.
  • Estimate Equity relative to value.
  • Establish Equity relative to Bluffs
  • Average the Equity

As you can see, the procedure is quite difficult, and it will take you a lot of practicing before you can utilize it at the tables. However, if you are capable of mastering it, you’ll have a huge advantage over your rivals.

How Poker Ranges Change with Each Street

How Poker Ranges Change with Each Street

Players’ ranges significantly alter as the flop gets dealt and they begin playing according to their hands. You can begin eliminating hands from their range one at a time based on the board’s texture and their behavior. Establishing a range can be a little bit simpler when playing against strong, intelligent opponents who will choose wisely, play with an appropriate bankroll management strategy, and not attempt to throw away their chips.

When playing against amateur players, you should exercise a little more caution when determining whether or not they unquestionably have a hand in their range, but you should never slow roll. These players occasionally make plays that don’t seem to make sense at all. However, once a player encounters a bit of aggression and continues the hand, you ought to always be able to take a sizable number of hands out of their range.

Defining Your Opponent’s Preflop Range

Although you have complete control over your hand ranges and constantly know what they are, dealing with your adversaries’ ranges won’t be as simple.

When attempting to determine an opponent’s range, you will actually continually have to make some educated guesses, but with practice, you will be able to achieve better outcomes.

Your beginning point for assessing a rival’s range will be their location and overall conduct. In broad terms, looser opponents will have wider preflop opening, calling, and 3-betting ranges.

Yet, bear in consideration that not all players will play in an identical manner as you, therefore you might consider including hands to the ranges of players you believe to be softer and eliminating hands from the ranges of players you believe to be stricter.

Your preflop predictions regarding a player’s range will be very important in subsequent streets when they bet, raise, or else define their range.

If you commit significant errors prior to the flop, each of the subsequent inferences you make are going to be somewhat incorrect, as the original range will be inaccurate.

Balancing Hand Ranges in Poker

Balancing Hand Ranges in Poker

A consideration that numerous players overlook when developing poker ranges for preflop and postflop play is equilibrium. Novice poker players constantly bet big with their strong hands, check/fold with their bad hands, and check/call with their draws.

This type of approach has the drawback of making you incredibly simple to play against because it makes your poker ranges obvious to any intelligent and perceptive opponent. As a result, excellent poker players often aim to balance out their ranges by including bluffs while they are betting & checking some powerful hands, checking & raising some draws, etcetera.

When competing against experienced opponents who are considering your range and attempting to work out what you are up to, it is crucial to balance your poker range. Conversely, if you play a really imbalanced range, even with amateur players, they will know if you are always wagering for value or playing your cards too simply. While maintaining a balanced range when competing is crucial, numerous players who base their strategy on game theory optimal (GTO) solutions overdo it when up against inferior opponents.

Let’s now briefly discuss GTO poker and exploiting ranges and how to use them in various contexts.

GTO and Exploitative Poker Ranges – Which Is Better?

GTO and Exploitative – Which Is Better?

Utilizing a poker solver like PioSolver will help you learn how to play the game. This will teach you a method of playing a balanced approach on every single street.

This means that regardless of the scenario, should it be a large river push or a straightforward preflop raise, your poker ranges will always include an equal amount of bluffs and value bets.

When playing poker at high stages nowadays, this type of strategy is actually fairly crucial because the players you are up against are playing a very balanced strategy likewise, which makes it very difficult to exploit them.

For instance, bluffing on the turn and river with a balanced tempo against a strong calling station that calls every wager with any draw or any pair is a losing strategy. By using a GTO approach against them, you will still win money, but you will also forfeit a great deal of prospective gains.

The same goes for only bluffing the hands the solver recommends versus a nit who will fold anything but the nuts and will not chase any draws. It’s a huge error.

You can be constantly pursuing this player and forcing them to fold every time, realizing that you would lose if they call one of your bets.

You will frequently run into poor players or amateurs at smaller stakes who just don’t play a balanced poker betting strategy and their gameplay is highly vulnerable to manipulation. When playing poker either online at a trusted Bitcoin online casino like Bet999 where you get to enjoy numerous online games or by yourself, always strive to determine the level at which other players are playing and then match their strategy. This will help you win as much cash feasible.

Poker Hands Charts – Writing Down Poker Ranges

Utilizing poker software, like Equilab or solvers, which all have the hand grid and textual hand ranges, is necessary when learning poker.

To comprehend the various outputs and recommendations your poker software presents to you, you will have to learn how to interpret poker hand ranges.

Poker players have developed a nice and straightforward method of noting poker ranges that is straightforward to read and provides them with a quick understanding of which hands fall inside a particular range.

This is what the various notations used to indicate a hand range truly mean:

  • A2+: Every hand has an ace.
  • A2s+: All suited hands with at least one ace.
  • 64s+: Beginning with 64s and going all the way up to AKs, gappers in suited one.
  • 22+: All pocket pair
  • 65s+: All suitable connectors beginning with 65s
  • 66+: All pocket combinations beginning with 66
  • Top x%: The top x% of hands (define with Equilab)

A powerful preflop starting range with these symbols may be something similar to this: 66+, ATs+, AJ+, TJs+, KJs+, KQ.

A significantly broader starting range could resemble: 22+, A2s+, A8+, 76s+, 97s+, Any Two Broadways, K9+, and J8+.

Develop Your Game Using the Poker Ranges Concept

Develop Your Game Using the Concept

Over time, poker has undergone significant change, rendering the previous method of analyzing it outdated.

In order to be regarded as a top player, one must now think in terms of poker ranges rather than attempting to estimate the exact hand that their opponent is holding.

If you want to jumpstart your poker career right away, you ought to begin conditioning your mind to conceive of the game in regards to hand ranges and to be aware of both your own and your adversaries’ poker ranges at all times.

We strongly advise studying the most fundamental starting ranges from various locations before progressing to more intricate hand ranges later on.

You may accurately read your rivals’ poker hand range with some practice and patience, take advantage of their habits and errors when constructing their ranges, and modify your play for the best outcomes.

It will be important to quit playing your hand and start playing your full range, bet by bet, ensuring you’re always keeping your rivals speculating rather than giving them a straightforward choice to make.

Advancing Your Handreading Skills

  • Always keep ranges in mindThe most crucial thing to keep in mind when reading hands is not to attempt to put a player on a single hand; instead, consider their full range. The logic behind this is that if you attempt to do that virtually always, you’ll be mistaken and end up committing an enormous error with your hands.
  • Reduced Ranges as You ProceedYour rival’s range must continuously diminish as you progress through the hand. Every move the other player makes ought to decrease the amount of hands in their range; hence, the more moves they take, the narrower ought to be their range. Never increase your hand count after the flop; once you’ve given your rival a preflop range, it ought not to grow.
  • Be Aware Of Bet SizingThe total amount of hands in the other player’s range will decrease as a result of what they do, just as their stake size would as well. When a player employs a greater or lower sizing than usual, pay notice. A lot of individuals will alter the makeup of their ranges dependent on the quantity of their bets. The larger the stake size, the higher the proportion of value hands a balanced player will have; nevertheless, an amateur player is far inclined to be imbalanced. So long you continue to remain attentive to how their bet amount alters their range structure, they can therefore be taken advantage of.
  • Recognize Your RivalAssuming that all of your rivals will play similarly is a common error that you can make. We are aware that this is far from the case, though, since certain rivals play very tightly while others play very loosely, as well as everything in between. How you gauge your rival’s range should be significantly influenced by how they play. If the other player raises UTG, you won’t offer them 98s unless they are a complete moron. In the same way, if your rival is a crazy, you may anticipate them to raise the majority of hands from the BTN.

Speedy Poker Range Advice

If you want advice on what factors to take into account when creating your personal preflop ranges, examine these:

Whenever you are short stacked, never play low pocket pairs

Low pocket pairs lose a lot of value as your stack becomes lower, unless you intend to go all-in. If you fail to establish a set, low-pocket pairs are very difficult to play, and you’ll either need to fold or call down in the hopes that your rival is bluffing. Low-pocket pairs are useful for creating a set and scooping a large pot by busting an overpair.

Play More Suited Hands Than Offsuit Hands

When it comes to suited hands, players in poker undergo three phases. They will first play every suited hand dealt to them by the card dealer since they have a chance of making a flush, and a flush is a good hand.

Secondly, they will play an equal number of offsuit hands after realizing that a suited hand only increases equity by 2-3%.

Lastly, they recognize that even if the real equity increase is minimal, you will probably flop with greater equity when you have suited hands, giving you the opportunity to barrel and capture the pot with no need for a showdown. Aim to have more suited hands than offsuit hands in your range as you are creating it.

Never overrate poorly suited connectors

Everybody enjoys playing low-suited connector hands as they can use them to create some really subtle hands and defeat an opponent’s overpair to win a sizable pot. Nevertheless, from initial positions, these cards lose a lot of their value because there is a greater likelihood that you will be competing against opponent who has the upper end of a big hand like a straight or flush once you do make one.

Furthermore, you rarely have those powerful hands, which means you’ll probably have to bluff your way out of problems or find yourself frequently folding checks.

Early Position: Play Tighter Than You Think

The most common error made by novices is believing they can play a variety of hands from initial position. A lot of players continue to exaggerate the amount of hands they can play from early position, despite the fact that this error has been corrected over time.

We frequently observe players raising with hands such as ATo or QJo from UTG despite the fact that they are not lucrative raises. Therefore, while playing from early position, lean on to the side of discretion and don’t raise your hand if you’re not sure if to.

Equilibrium Is the Goal of Hand Ranges

You need to keep equilibrium in mind when making your own ranges. Being overly value- or bluff-oriented makes it too simple for your rival to counter, therefore you must avoid it.

In contrast, if you seldom bluff, your rival will only call if they possess a powerful hand. For instance, if you bluff frequently, your rival is free to call when you’re holding a pair. Before playing a value bet, always consider the bluffs you would have in your range, and the other way around.


What does a poker range mean?

A poker range is a list of every hand you or a competitor could hold in a specific circumstance, such as a preflop raise or a river bet. Consistently consider each player’s potential hand range rather than the particular hand they are holding.

What is a poker range chart?

A poker range chart is a tool for displaying a poker range, which consists of the169 possible hand permutations laid out in a 13 by 13 grid.

How do you know what your opponent’s range is?

Blending the preflop position that your rival played their hand from, their general method of play, and any prior knowledge you may have about them, you can attempt to predict their range of hands by integrating these factors with any other information you may have.

How do you disguise your range?

Playing hands from places where others wouldn’t anticipate you to, like 54s from UTG at a 9-handed table, could be the sole means to hide your range. If you wish to achieve this, you must take care to avoid playing hands that will result in a loss of the advantage you believe your unpredictability will give you.

What ranges should you play preflop?

Preflop ranges must be chosen according on your starting position at the poker table, general playing strategy, and fellow players. Even while there are some fundamental rules, like playing tightly from early positions, you should be modifying your ranges depending on the game you’re participating in.

How do I create my poker ranges?

Your poker ranges can be constructed in a variety of ways. You may attempt to develop an exploitative range by incorporating or eliminating hands from the GTO range in order to take advantage of your rivals’ habits, or you may employ a computer tool to provide you with the best ranges for various perfectly balanced circumstances.

With every street in poker, how will the range shift?

All poker ranges often get smaller with each street that passes and with each decision that is taken. A poker range cannot grow as a result of additional actions because every check, bet, and call will result in the removal of a hand out of the poker range. Only when you incorrectly judged the range on a previous street can a poker range grow.

What is a GTO poker range?

The GTO poker range (game theory optimal) is a poker range developed by a poker solver that is intended to be precisely balance and produce favorable results against every opponent you face.

What is an exploitative poker range?

In order to take advantage of the characteristics of a specific player or playing group, an exploitative poker range departs from the ideal play recommended by theory of games. Your ability to modify your poker ranges to take advantage of them and increase your earnings depends on how much you understand other players.

How does a well-rounded poker range work?

A well-rounded poker range aims to strike an equilibrium between value bets and bluffs such that your every move is surprising and your precise hand is impossible to forecast. When playing against stronger opponents, you should balance your hand ranges, but this is not always essential.

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