Advice for better NLHE play

Let us say that it gets folded around to you in the cut-off seat and you have a playable hand like the 10c-9c in no limit Texas hold’em poker?”just what sorts of mistakes can you make here? Well firstly you have a playable hand and so you really shouldn’t be folding that hand. Probably around 99% of all players would play this hand with most raising with it.

However this is looking at the picture incorrectly because we are only addressing one hand in a vacuum. If we took this one situation to an extreme then we could end up with a really obvious example like Ac-Ad. All players would raise with A-A and nearly all players would fold with hands like 7-2o. How many hands you play in between these two extremes is your total range for this situation. So two individual players may both raise with the 10-9s but that doesn’t tell the total range of both these players.

So with the first player who was raising with say 20% of their hands then the 10-9s would represent almost the bottom of their range. Whereas someone who was raising with say 40% of their hands then the suited connector would be in the middle of their range. This is a vitally important concept in no limit Texas hold’em and understanding our opponents range depth helps us to see how often we can make profitable plays against them in no limit Texas hold’em. As a rule then your average opponents either do something too much or too little and this reflects in their ranges.

It is your job as an online no limit Texas hold’em player to gain as much information on your opponents as possible. The person with the most information then becomes the better poker player?”it is that simple. So what sort of mistakes could we make if it is folded to us in the cut-off? As a rule the two biggest mistakes are to not attack frequently enough or to raise too often?..in other words we are basing our mistakes on frequency levels which is an altogether more subtle type of mistake.

Let us say that an aggressive player raises with around 40% of their total range from the cut-off. This is not a good range and it does reflect an awful lot of hands. This is where we can exploit them in no limit Texas hold’em because if we three bet then most players would fold a large part of that range. This is a problem with raising too liberally because if your opponents choose to three bet you then you either have to fold to the three bet more frequently or play a hand with poor equity potential or four bet with the same poor equity potential.

Domination doesn’t always mean having say A-Q pinned underneath A-K in games like no limit Texas hold’em. We can face what is called a domination of equity. If a player is raising with say 40% of their total range and we three bet with 15% of ours then we have an equity edge over their range. If you or your opponents open raise too widely then you leave your observant opponents enough scope to open their three betting ranges accordingly.

This is bad enough but it then opens up the equally disturbing possibility that you will have to fold most of your range to a three bet. If your opponent 3/bets to say $21 after your $7 opening raise with $1-$2 blinds then they are risking $21 to win $10. This is roughly 67% of the pot and so if you fold to a three bet 67% of the time or more then your opponent is exploiting you. Even allowing for the times that you call then they will still have good post flop equity!

As always in no limit Texas hold’em then you are trying to balance your frequencies between doing something too often and not doing it often enough! The natural follow on of this is to have ranges that are too wide or too narrow for certain situations. At its very core then no limit Texas hold’em is an information based game and most of that information is based on frequencies.

Carl Sampson is an online poker player and poker ambassador for 888poker

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