May 10 2010

Pre Flop All in Ranges

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Pre flop play is largely a mastered skill. No one is ever going to be able to play perfectly pre flop, but most players have a pretty good idea of what they are doing. Because of this, it can be quite difficult to gain an edge by exploiting pre flop weaknesses. Players often struggle with which hands are worthy of an “all in” pre flop. Sometimes, QQ is an instant all in, but other times it can be an easy fold.

There are many different variables that should be considered in these spots. An easy to understand and apply dynamic is your opponent’s general playing style. If you are facing someone who tends to stack off quite lightly, it is easier to get the money in the middle with a relatively weak hand. On the other hand, a tight opponent might only go all in pre flop with KK or AA. In this situation, you need to carefully think about how you play your big hands. Beyond opponent’s playing styles, it is also important to consider factors like your position, the limits you are playing at, and your table image. If you can take all of these factors into account when making a decision, it becomes that much easier to make effective pre flop plays with big hands.

QQ and JJ

QQ and JJ are the biggest preflop mysteries for most players. Even though JJ is a somewhat easy pre flop fold in a lot of situations, there are still times where it warrants all in consideration. JJ is not beating a lot of pocket pairs that are going to shove pre flop, but with fold equity, it could have an edge over hands like AQ and AK. As it is, JJ is going to beat hands like AQ and AK, but not by much. To help expand this edge, players can incorporate what is known as fold equity. Fold equity is created when a raise or bet is made with the hope that another player will fold. If they fold, great, the pot is won and a showdown is unnecessary. If they call, we are still left with outs and might have a slight edge. It is the combination of calls and folds that can make playing JJ pre flop easier.

QQ is a hand that some players would never fold pre flop, but it is also a hand that certain players hate going all in with. There is definite merit to folding QQ pre flop, given the proper circumstances. If your opponent is tight, you have a tight image, and you are playing in a mid stakes game, folding QQ pre flop probably isn’t a bad idea. Since your opponents already perceive you as a tight, their willingness to play back at you indicates extreme strength. There are exceptions to every rule, but it is important that you play the odds. QQ is, generally speaking, a profitable pre flop shove, but not always. Consider the dynamics of each situation carefully before you make a pre flop play with QQ.

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