Are you keeping opponents’ range wide?

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Assume we’re playing in a nine-handed cash game with 100 big-blind stacks. We raise preflop with {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts} in middle position and our opponent calls on the button; everyone else folds. The flop comes {a-Clubs}{9-Spades}{8-Diamonds}. We make a bet two-thirds the size of the pot and our opponent calls. The turn is the {6-Hearts}. Most players have a standard play on the turn based on their tendencies: always checking or always betting. But what we do here should depend much more on our opponent’s tendencies than ours.

Before I explain why that’s important, if you’re a member of AdvancedPokerTraining.com, go to your APT database to look for situations similar to this one to see if I’ve described you correctly. Most of you are probably familiar with APT, where you can play 500 hands an hour against more than 100 lifelike opponents. With the new feature of saving every hand you play and advanced sorting and filtering capabilities, you can easily find these specific hands to see your actions.

Were you consistent on the turn? Most players will play this situation the same virtually every time. Let’s look at why that’s a bad idea. Suppose we can label our opponent passive or aggressive. By looking at the chart shown here, we can see the proper play – betting again into the passive opponent, or checking to the aggressive opponent – dramatically increases our equity. We profit here by keeping our opponent’s range wide.

Sadly, many players lose money long-term with hands such as A-Q and pocket jacks. It’s because they face these common scenarios all of the time, and they don’t understand the concept of keeping their opponent’s range wide.

On AdvancedPokerTraining.com, you can configure the software to deal you only A-Q or J-J, or whatever your trouble hand is, over and over again to practice. The lifelike opponents are a mix of players designed to target your weaknesses so you can improve at a more rapid pace.  

Poker is a game of specific scenarios, so just watching a pro’s video from another training site may not be the most effective learning technique. It could have the opposite effect, if you constantly apply things you see in videos vs. the wrong player types or in the wrong situations.

APT has a new set of “Beat the Pro” challenges that allow you to play a set of hands first (such as A-Q), and then see how our pros played those same scenarios against the same players so you can improve at a pace other training sites can’t offer. With practice, you can learn how considering opponents’ tendencies can significantly increase your win rate.

— Tom Braband (TitanTom32) is a Southern California poker pro with nearly $3 million in winnings. He’s part of the coaching team at AdvancedPokerTraining.com and is available for private coaching.