comparing opening ranges pt. 1 (?)

poker — commander flatus @ 5:55 pm August 1, 2019

i’ve become a big fan of Sky Matsuhashi’s Smart Poker Study podcast. i’m also realizing the need for some form of accountability in poker study so rather than type junk into evernote i’m going to make notes here and try to do some semblance of a coherent write-up.

why do i like his podcast? because it’s meta. the best teachers, coaches, and people teach you to become better students, players, and people. Sky does a good job of teaching how to learn poker. His “how to study poker” book is a perfect place to start prior to doing his podcasts. i will warn the gentle reader, though, that you’re going to want to read or listen to it twice.

anyway, he encourages accountability and goal setting. i’m going to set the bar low – i want to do 2 of these per month. i’m going to start by talking about recommended opening ranges because i think i’m guilty of opening too many hands from all positions.

we’re going to start out with what i believe is my current UTG and UTG+1 range (i currently believe my range is the same for both positions in live cash (what i’d like to get better with) and online low-stakes (what i’m using for practice). note that i plotted this out without looking in my hand history db or looking at the other material, this is supposed to be my tightest range and i would add other hands if the table was super-tight and i was loosening up to counter.

fig. 1: current opening range from utg and utg+1

next i looked at ed miller’s recommended opening range advocated in the excellent “the course” and online at his training site, red chip poker (i paid for one of their course, didn’t care for it, more on that later). here’s that range:

fig. 2: ed miller’s “tight” opening range early position vs limpers. note – ignore KJo it’s highlighted darker blue for no reason. note that it’s a significantly tighter range. i would have expected it NOT to be based on reading the book previously.

this range is much much narrower than my present range – at least what i believe. it’s 10.1% vs 7%. further, here’s the “loose” range:

fig. 3: ed miller’s “loose” range for unopened pots.

this “loose” range is still narrower than my current range – 8.75%. even when you add in semi-bluff/bluff hands like K8s and 76s that may flop well with good implied odds.

ok, i wanted to look at some other recommended opening ranges from utg and early position. for some reason, annie duke’s mediocre book (but a good book to serve as a starting point) “decide to play great poker” came to mind first. unfortunately she eschews charts and dictating ranges. she just advocates a super tight borderline nitty range when you are a starting player. she points out (correctly) that most of your opponents are playing too many hands postflop.

jonathan little has written about playing low-stakes cash (which is what i like to play). his two recurring themes are to not be afraid to get out of line in low-stakes cash and to model your play after higher-stakes players to enable you to eventually be able to play higher stakes. here’s his suggested opening range in early position:

fig. 4: jonathan little’s recommended opening range in early position.

i was surprised by two things looking at this chart – that this is 10.1% of hands (same as my impression of my own range), but that this represents a much stronger set of hands that will also be easier to play post-flop. my personal feeling is that opening 22 and 33 and even 44 is a bad move for online where it’s loose/passive and there’s lots of limping. i do, however, agree that this is a quality range for live. in general though even at live i detest opening 22 and 33 because of their terrible realized equity.

the goal of this thought-piece is to create my own range for opening utg and utg+1 for both live and online cash and have identical ranges for both. keeping that in mind and having watched and read and studied other poker materials, here’s what i’ve come up with:

well, i use commander flatus as my player name on multiple poker sites, so i’m not going to play face up the rest of my life. let’s just say i used the excellent PokerCruncher to create a range of hands I like playing from ep with appropriate frequency for online and live cash. these hands play relatively straightforward post-flop.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
(c) 2019 polydipsia | powered by WordPress with Barecity