You probably have encountered a situation where someone went all-in before the flop only to have their opponent respond, “I put you on A-K, so I called with my small pair.” The player most likely does not understand the concept of putting opponents on a range of hands when making the call.
You can immediately start eliminating your opponent’s possible holdings because they raised. It is almost certain that their worst hands would fold if your assessment is correct. As they are in an early position, they are likely to fold marginal hands such as A-7 and Q-9.
Players who are tight and straightforward raise ranges like this:
If your opponent is playing this range, they are raising every hand, so they are never limping in. Based on each player’s specific tendencies, it is important to formulate their range. The situation would be evaluated differently if the opponent limped or raised with the worst hands in this range significant changes have taken place.
If your opponent is the preflop aggressor, you cannot narrow their range at all if they make a continuation bet on the flop with all their holdings. You can narrow your range if you are faced with a player who bets some hands and checks others.
Even though there is a King on the flop, your 9-9 would win 46% of the time using a poker equity calculator.
When the turn and river come, you may know your opponent plays very straightforwardly, betting when they think they have the best hand and checking with just a marginal hand or nothing at all. A bet narrows your opponent’s range to top pairs and better hands if they bet.
Due to the top pair crushing you, you have an easy fold. The best you can do is fold to most of your opponent’s range, even if they bet turned flush draws and a few possible middle pairs. The odds of winning a turn bet are about 4%, so calling is not justified. It would be roughly this range of betting on this opponent’s turn:
As an alternative to your opponent checking, you are able to take all of the top pairs and better-made hands out of their hands. The odds of you winning 69% of the time are greater when you are left with only hands worse than the top pair.
Approximately, this opponent’s turn-checking range would be as follows:
Even though you lose a few hands in your opponent’s range, including Q-Q, J-J, and T-T, most of the range is in bad shape. You should bet if the river cards will dramatically worsen your hands, like Aces, Queens, Jacks, or Tens.
By making your range as wide as possible, you can put your opponents in tough spots. If you play more than half of your range, in the same way, you will be able to accomplish this. Amateurs tend to make a classic mistake by raising 3 big blinds before the flop with their playable hands. But, except for J-J and T-T, which they raise to 5 big blinds. If an opponent raises to five big blinds, they have exactly J-J or T-T, making them extremely easy to beat.
Amateurs often make the mistake of continuation betting the flop with hands other than their absolute best ones. It will be very difficult for their opponents to bet with the best possible hands when they bet. This will drastically weaken their flop continuation betting range and enhance their checking range. You can easily fix this flaw by checking your best and worst hands. Using this strategy, you will be able to maintain a reasonable betting range and a reasonable checking range. The only times you want to make an extreme move in poker are when you go all-in or all-out.
Keeping your ranges reasonably strong is usually not necessary. Even, if your opponents do not understand what you are doing and play face-up. The best way to crush your opponents is to play a strong, tight, aggressive strategy.
You need to put your opponent on a range and conceal your range. Even, as you move up in stakes and play against more difficult opponents.