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How to Range Your Opponents Accurately Using Database Software

One of the more difficult assessments for experienced poker players is assigning accurate ranges to their opponents.

Good poker players have honest disagreements all of the time about someone’s check/calling range, bluffing range, and value range, as examples.

Taking the time to evaluate your opponent’s range in your post-session analysis is one the absolute best ways to improve your skills and win-rate. Having tools that can make this process easy and fluid is a huge time saver.

Today we’re going to analyze a hand and assign a range using tools in DriveHUD. You can do this same kind of analysis with the other database software on the market as well, though the steps will vary.

Example: Assigning a Range

This hand below comes from a 100NL full ring cash game.

Online $0.50/$1.00. 9-Handed. $100 Effective Stacks.

Dealt to Hero: T T
UTG Folds. UTG+1 Calls $1. 3 folds. Cutoff raises to $2.80. Button calls $2.80. Hero 3-bets to $13. Only Cutoff calls.

Hero SPR on Flop: [2.82 effective]

Flop ($30.8): 2 7 A
Hero checks. Cutoff bets $16. Hero calls $16

Turn ($62.8): 2 7 A A♣
Hero checks. Cutoff bets $25.04. Hero calls $25.04.

River ($112.88): 2 7 A A♣ 8
Hero checks. Cutoff bets $45.96 (all-in). Hero calls $45.96

As we can see this is one of those polarized hero call spots where your opponent either has a strong hand (Ax+) or a bluff.

The first step in analyzing hand ranges if you’re using DriveHUD is to right click on the hand you want to analyze in your hand history grid and select Calculate Equity. This will load up DriveHUDEQ so you can do some hand analysis and equity work.

We want to do some range work on our opponents hand, so above your opponent’s hand click the RANGE button. At the bottom right hand side, click AUTO RANGE. This will get us started breaking down some of our opponents range. You’ll get a screen that looks like this:

drivehud range analysis

We’ll see a breakdown of what made hands our opponent has by percentage at the top right. Most importantly will see a list of all combos our opponent has broken down by four main categories.

CHECK/FOLD (21 combos 18.6%) | CALL (14 combos 12.4%) | BLUFF ( 30 Combos 26.5%) | VALUE BET / RAISE (48 combos 42.5%)

Immediately we’ll be able to see how unbalanced our opponents likely range is at this point, and we can make adjustments to it from there. In this case our opponent is very value heavy on the river, and they should be. Typically you want about a 2:1 value to bluff ratio on the river if you’re betting 1/2 pot to make your opponent indifferent to calling/folding.

The great thing about DrivehudEQ at this point is we can analyze and play with these ranges to see how many bluffs are opponent really will have, since in this case hero is deciding on making a hero call on the river. Each of these four categories are color coded in the hand grid, and we can adjust them by clicking on one of the four buttons, which will turn the button it’s corresponding color, and then we can click on the hand we want to adjust in the grid.

Let’s take a look at the hand action street by street using Drivehud or your favorite line analysis tool. Our goal here is to come up with the most reasonable hand range by the time we reach the river. Although in this case the turn and river are critical decision spots.

Pre-Flop: UTG Folds. UTG+1 Calls $1. 3 folds. Cutoff raises to $2.80. Button calls $2.80. Hero 3-bets to $13. Only Cutoff calls.

Pre-flop there’s a slight clue already on our opponents range. There’s an early limper, and he makes a fairly weak raise in the cut-off. The button calls in position, and Hero 3-bets out of the small blind to try and get the hand heads up. Pretty standard to this point, but every piece of information begins to build a story about an opponents range. What kinds of hands is he going to risk a multi-way pot with such a small raise with in position? Likely suited connectors (67s-QJs), and high unsuited connectors (JT-KQ).

Opponents range: 67s-QJs, JT-KQ, ATs/A9s, 66-99

Flop ($30.8): 2 7 A
Hero checks. Cutoff bets $16. Hero calls $16

The CO calls the pre-flop 3-bet and the flop is seen heads up. With pocket tens and the T, Hero elects to check/call the Ace high flop. Pretty standard line at this point, and you would likely mix in some bets roughly 20% of the time.

Opponents range: 67s-QJs, JT-KQ, ATs/A9s, 77. Their range isn’t changing much at this point. We could add a few more bluffs.

Turn ($62.8): 2 7 A A♣
Hero checks. Cutoff bets $25.04. Hero calls $25.04.

So not much has changed from the flop to turn. Hero checks and our opponent bets 40% of the pot, leaving roughly a 40% pot bet on the river. So if we’re calling here, we’re calling pretty much all rivers including diamonds. Again, there’s not much reason the bet here. A fold on the turn here is completely reasonable, BUT we have some interesting clues in this hand that weight our opponents range into some marginal hands, and lots of those marginal hands w/ likely one diamond. How many bluffs does he really need here to consider continuing?

drivehud range analysis 2

It looks as if there’s a good amount of reasonable bluff combos in this case, 49 according to DrivehudEQ. Again, we can adjust these as we see fit. But the numbers look pretty solid, and should lean us heavily towards a call. They key again in this hand is a small goofy positional raise. Without that info, these ranges would be skewed fairly differently.

Opponents range: 67s-QJs (betting almost all made flushes, checking some 7x, folding some whiffed SC’s, QJ-KQ (eliminate one bluff hand), ATs/A9s (probably checking at least 50%, and betting some non diamond combos) , 77.

River ($112.88): 2 7 A A♣ 8
Hero checks. Cutoff bets $45.96 (all-in). Hero calls $45.96

At this point we did our work, and we committed to calling the river if opponent bet, which they did. Against, a little over 40% of the pot and hero calls. Was this a good call based on the range analysis, the price hero was getting and the equity we should have?

drivehud analysis

Getting almost 3.5:1 on a river call, and over 50% equity versus our opponents range, it looks like an easy call! It’s not even close. Even if we want to remove a lot of our opponents bluff range, and simply keep in the diamond KQ/KJ combos, we’re still at 50% equity versus their range:

drivehud analysis

Even more, if we reduce our opponent range to only KQ with either K or Q of diamonds, we’d still have 6 bluff combos and only 15 value combos, and we’d be at 33% equity. Still more than enough for a call.

The Bottom line with Hand Range Analysis

Follow these simple steps every time you analyze an opponents range, and you’ll be making much better hero calls, bluffs and value bets in no time:

  1. Start with a reasonable pre-flop range, and keep it fairly wide unless there’s some really significant clues or reads you’re aware of.
  2. Pay close attention to slight differences from “normal play” like strange bet sizing, and quick click backs.
  3. The flop to the turn is key. This is where you should really take your flop range and make significantly narrowing changes to your opponents range.
  4. Reduce your opponents range to almost no bluffs and nearly all value bets if you’re deciding on making hero calls. Do the most absurd tight ranges, and work up from there.
  5. Ask for help from the poker community or friends about whether a hand range you assigned seems reasonable. Always be open to being wrong.

Oh, and for the record (not that it really matters) – Opponent had K♣ Q!

drivehud analysis final

Good luck at the tables! If you want more information on Drivehud and it’s core features, check out the website here: DriveHUD.com

About the Author

John Anhalt

John Anhalt is a successful U.S. born poker player and entrepreneur. He started playing Limit and No-Limit Hold'em in 2004 and quickly built a six figure bankroll off one $50 deposit. Since then he's coached over 100+ students, including athletes and celebrities. He's been a guest on several radio shows and podcasts about poker and the state of poker. He's written four online e-books on poker, and has done over 150 strategy videos on No-Limit S&G's, multi-table tournaments and cash games. John owns and operates DriveHUD.com.

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