Limits Hold’em (Professional Way)
The reading of the hand is one of the most malicious concepts between informal poker players. The mistake made by this casual player is trying to put their opponents in a particular hand. It can make a good TV, but it’s not a practical or effective way to approach hand reading. You will learn the right way to read your opponent’s hand, which involves placing your opponent on “Range” of all the hands they might have.
Hand Reading Process Using The Range.
Hand reading is not easy. There is a lot of information that you need to think about in a very short time span, and every information has an impact on your opponent’s range. I like to call all this information “data point”. Here are some examples of general data points:
- Your position and your opponents.
- Your opponent’s bet size.
- The tendency of your opponents.
There is a number of data points that are almost countless in poker, and no one can consider each factor in a short time between the decision on the table – even the best players in the world. This is why you need a simplified and effective process to follow, which you will learn today. Let’s start by putting the basics of hand reading:
- The range is getting smaller because the hands develop from the preflope to the river.
- Every time your opponent makes a decision, you can remove the hands of its reach that doesn’t seem to fit the decision.
Now, let’s go through an example so you can see how to read the streets. (We will use examples of cash games, but this process works well also in the tournament.)
Hand Reading Example: K 8 In Big Blind.
Let’s say you play a $ 0.50 / $ 1.00 hold’em game. It’s your first hand at the table, so you have $ 100 in your stack and there is no readable reading on your opponent.
Folding action to the player in the Cutoff position that raised to $ 2.50. Buttons and small blind players come out of the way and you have K 8 in the big blind.
We haven’t seen a flop, but we can start the starting process. There is no way to know exactly the exact hand it is raised – the best we can do is estimate the information we have. Because players are lifted, chances are he has strong hands or at least played. But he also raised the late position, which might mean he had a variety of relatively broad hands. We can estimate the range is 22+, A2S +, K7S +, Q8S +, J8S +, T8S +, 97S +, 85S +, 65S, 65S, 54S, ATO +, KTO +, JOG, Visualisized here:
Note: As you can see, we have eliminated a lot of hands from the reach of opponents based on the fact that he lifts. When hands develop, we will be able to eliminate more hands based on your opponent’s decision. K 8 is an easy call considering you only need to call $ 1.50 to win $ 4 against this loose hand range. You maintain your big blind with K 8 . With $ 5.50 in a pot, the failure comes K 5 4 . You check and cut $ 2 betting. This is a fairly uncoordinated failure, although there are some potential visions. In this failed texture, you should expect your opponent to make a continuation bet (C-BET) in this failure with most of its reach. Now, we have to make some assumptions about how Cutoff plays to estimate its reach. We will regard CUTOFF:
- Betting with all strong hands (couples above or better).
- Betting with his most vulnerable partner (like 65 or 77).
- Betting with all flush draws and flush backdoor images.
- Betting with all straight lottery and backdoor straight lottery.
- Check with a pocket tall under the king (QQ-TT).
- Check with ACE-high hands that don’t have flush potential.
To the range with so many cliffs and vulnerable partners, you have super easy decisions compared to small bets with your top partner.
You call $ 2 at k 5 4 flop.
With $ 9.50 in a pan, the rotation is 7 . You check and cutoff bet $ 7.
Again, we must make some assumptions to estimate the cutoff range. He might be:
- Bets with strong hands (Top Top Kicker couples who are good or better).
- Bet with flush and straight lottery images.
- Check with the rest.
To that range, it has 38.88% equity (click here to see the capital calculations). You only need 29.8% for favorable calls based on your pot opportunities, so this is an easy call with a top up and straight lottery. To the river!
You call $ 7 on K 5 4 7 Board.
With $ 23.50 in the pan, the river is 2 . You check and Cutoff bet $ 17.
Consider most of your opponents cliffs in turn are Draw Flush Shovels, which seem like unlike rivers where you can call bets. However, let’s estimate the reach and see if there is a way that you can contact here. In this river, your opponents are likely to:
- Bets with strong hands (set, straight, and flushes).
- Bets with hands that skip their draw (Q8-98, A6, A2).
- Check with one partner and two pairs.
You need 29.6% equity to call this river bet, but K 8 only has 26.83% equity versus the range above (click here to see equity calculations). So, you have to fold because this will lose a little call to the estimated range. I suggest trying the reading process with these hands several times alone, far from the table, before you try it in the game. May need to get used to, but I think you will feel quite easy and intuitive after a little exercise. (If you don’t have equity calculation software, you can click here to download the Equilab Poker.)
The Last Thought In Hand Reading.
Poker is an incomplete information game. The best players ensure that they make the best decisions with information available for them. Your job as a poker player is to extract, interpret, and prioritize information available for you, and to formulate the optimal counter strategy. I hope this article has helped you improve the skills of reading your hands! If you have questions or comments, do not hesitate to leave a comment below.