We all know it’s impossible to know the exact hand your opponent is holding, but depending on his actions pre-flop and later on you can put him on a hand range that can help you make your decisions in crucial moments. The point here is to narrow a range you putting your opponent on after every move he makes. If the range is not narrowing as the hand is developing than you’re guessing and playing in the dark, which in most cases leads to bad decisions.
There are several factors you need to consider in order to become good at putting opponents on hand ranges. First there are bet sizes, cards on the board, action that preceded and history you have with your opponent and so on. Once you understand the basics you’ll see that putting opponents on hand ranges is not that hard at all, yet most of the unexperienced players never thinks about it, which can give you a big advantage every hand you play.
Knowing your opponent’s style is crucial
One of the things you should rely the most in this process is how well you know your opponent, and do you consider him as tight aggressive, loose aggressive, tight passive or something else. If you’re up against an aggressive player, for example, who likes to bet a lot pre-flop, c-bets a lot and if you call him on the flop usually checks, then his range is extremely wide – every pair, every broadway (any A-K-Q-J-10 combination), suited connectors…
When you compare this to an extremely tight player whose raises depend mostly on his position (if he doesn’t have a monster) and who would never raise anything lower than KQ or higher suited connectors like 910, then you see how important hand range is.
Now let’s get back to our loose aggressive player. If we have noticed that he raises a lot and always c-bets, then a good play would be to call him and then steal the pot on the turn. Keep in mind that these kind of players love to c-bet an A high flop so don’t be scared if he does it because in most cases he doesn’t have an ace.
We are not mentioning a hand we hold because when making these plays your hand doesn’t matter at all because you’ve entered the pot not to see a showdown but to bluff your opponent. Just in case, make sure that you have a decent hand at least, for that small chance that he might call you. In case he does, his next move will help you even more to put him on a hand range and you’ll know whether to continue your pressure or give up the hand.
So the most important thing you have to remember when putting your opponent on a hand is that you have to narrow his range with every move he makes. If not, then you’re risking a lot of chips just to keep guessing how strong your hand is.