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Small Stakes Limit Discussions about small stakes Texas Hold'em (from 2/4 to around 15/30)

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Old 03-16-2017, 10:11 AM   #1
Bob148
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Join Date: May 2012
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The most important hands in the opponent's range.

Crossposting from the theory forum for different points of view.

I tried to put this idea down earlier but I decided to change it completely before posting. I think this is applicable to both our studies and actually playing the game. I'd like to focus on gameplay, but you can talk strict theory if you like.

There are different stages of hand reading that we go through as we progress through the hand. Preflop, we're trying to guess the bottom of our opponent's range based on tendencies and position. Postflop is a bit different though. Once I decide on a preflop range for my opponent and the flop falls, I start thinking about how the flop hits our ranges. There is a crossroads here where we have options both tactically and strategically. I'd like to focus on the strategic options, since this is the theory forum. However I'm not opposed to talking about multiway tactics.

I'll split up the flop crossroads into a few categories:

1) When our opponent has bet and we're in position.

I'm thinking about the top of my opponent's bluffing range and the bottom of his value range. These are the most important hands in the opponent's range. From there it's much easier to imagine how the rest of his range lines up and whether or not my hand fits into a good calling or raising strategy.

2) When our opponent has checked and we're in position.

I'm thinking about the bottom of my opponent's bluffcatching range. From there it's much easier to imagine how the rest of his range lines up and whether or not my hand fits into a good betting strategy.

3) When we have checked and our opponent is in position and he bets.

I'm thinking about the top of his bluffing range and the bottom of his value range. From there it's much easier to imagine how the rest of his range lines up and whether or not my hand fits into a good calling or raising strategy.

These are the most common flop decision points, which I'd like to focus on. However, I'm not opposed to taking it a step further to flop raising, facing a flop raise, and or turn and river action.

Handreading is hard and maybe not suited for the theory forum, but this is more of a question about the theory of handreading, which is applicable to all games.

What can I do to improve this hand reading process?

Thanks
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Old 03-22-2017, 01:02 PM   #2
Bob148
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Re: The most important hands in the opponent's range.

The theory forum thread got quite sidetracked. Here's some more rambling free of charge:

Quote:
The point is that I consider the marginal hands first and then I fill in the blanks. The most important hands are the marginal hands. If instead I was to think about the hands in the middle of my opponents value and bluffing ranges I would still have to fill in the blanks. However by concentrating on the marginal hands I can fast forward the process in my mind visually.

----

This isn't something that I came up with before I tried to implement it at the table. This is just the thinking process that I have adapted to after many hands.

I decided to actively think about the process after a river situation caught my eye. I had called a river bet in a checked down pot with queen high in a heads up limit holdem game. It turned out that my opponent was bluffing with the exact same hand. We chopped it and it got me thinking about the top of his bluffing range. Different people view the games differently. I for one wouldn't have bluffed in my opponents shoes because queen high is often good enough to win a showdown in heads up limit holdem in a checked down pot and if he's bluffing all worse hands in his range then he's likely quite bluff heavy. Now that I've identified the hand that surely must be close to the top of his bluffing range, it's easier for me to calculate the best response at game speed vs that opponent.

Then after the session I was mentally reviewing the hand and put my finger on something that had previously escaped me conceptually.

I think the idea is particularly valuable on the river, but I chose to put my thought process for flop decisions in the op because there are so many ways to get to the river action but there are relatively few flop situations.
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