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#9 Range interaction - case studies

Author: Pokeradmin

Publish: 2022-12-27 16:07:55

#9 Range interaction - case studies

This article will cover a topic that's also often overlooked by beginners; how different positions can change strategy. Almost all the time, when we learn new information, it gets stuck in our heads, and we overly simplify our strategy. That's quite normal, but sometimes can lead to huge errors.

poker range interaction

The issue

The underlying problem is that we tend to categorize certain situations to understand better and facilitate our life. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to errors because we don't consider variables that should matter when constructing our ranges.

In position situation

One of these factors is position. Let me give you an example; when we learn how and why to c-bet, we search for a good example. BTNvBB seems pretty good, as it is the most common that will occur and the most complex since ranges are wider than in any other positions. You see different board types, and you notice that you can c-bet a lot on certain flops, like 80%+. You compare the EV difference if you had c-bet your entire range, and you realize there is not much. Also, you consider that the player pool will overfold and not check-raise enough, so your strategy will work even better.

Next time in a slightly different situation, you want to rely on what you've already learned.

Consider the difference between your simplified range c-betting strategy on {#}J{#}8 {#}8 from the BTNvBB versus your c-betting strategy and how it should look if your position is UTGvBB:


Range interaction

BTNvBB 28% checking  

Range interaction_2

UTGvBB 51% checking

poker range interaction

poker range interaction

In this particular situation, it's easy to see that nut advantage is key. In a BTNvBB case, we have more 8x hands since we open some off-suit combos that the BB won't call preflop. In the meantime, some of his suited 8xs, he will 3bet. BB also lacks JJ+, so we have a huge nut advantage, reflected in our flop strategy. On the other hand, UTGvBB, the out-of-position player, will have that 8x advantage, which leads to a shift in our c-betting strategy. Had we c-bet range there, it would be easy to exploit. Besides that, are you happy with the middling part of your range getting check-raised or betting multiple streets for value? If you have like KJo or even AA. Sure, Villain can call down sometimes with worse or bluff, and we still have EQ against his value hands. One thing is for sure, not a happy scenario to call down with a mediocre hand when your opponent has all the goodies, and you don't.

Out of position situation

Another common mistake by beginners is approaching the same way different situations that look similar or have something in common. For instance, SBvBTN 3-bet and BBvBTN 3-bet spots. Both of them are 3-bet out of position, right? Let's look at ranges; from the SB, we tend to 3-bet linear, while from the BB, we use a merged 3-bet range, which means that different flops hit these ranges differently. From the BB, you'll have far more trashy hands in general, and boards that would favour you 100% had you 3-bet from the SB won't be that ideal from the BB. Take a look at the ranges:

poker range interaction

SBvBTN 2,5bb

poker range interaction

BBvBTN 2,5bb



Let’s compare ranges on the flop of {#}A{#}9{#}5 .


poker range interaction

SBvBTN 3-bet (23% check)

poker range interaction

BBvsBTN 3-bet (47% check)

Almost all of our hands from the SB have good EQ or at least some showdown value. If we compare to BTN's range, we also have a lovely range advantage as he was supposed to 4-bet or fold hands that get there as strong holdings (AA, 99, A9s, A5s and 55, A5s). Besides that, strong top pairs are more likely holdings in SB's range.

Now take a look at the BB 3-bet range. It's all over the place, with many trashy hands for board coverage (and to steal the pot preflop). The ratio of showdown hands is lower; we only have a few top pairs and strong top pairs. Also, the BTN call range will be tight (around 17%), mainly containing an ace or a pair. Broadway hands have their potential in backdoors and future EV of bluffing. So basically, there is very little fold equity even if we size up our c-bets.

Similar board texture

A great example of oversimplifying situations is in board texture. Let's take a look at disconnected rainbow boards in a BTNvBB case. Your first reaction might be, that's easy. We can range c-bet all of them. Well, according to game theory, not so much. Take these two flops as an example:

{#}K {#}8 {#}3 versus {#}A {#}8 {#}2

They look very similar, right? First, however, let's take a look at our entire range:


poker range interaction

BTN checkback 28%

poker range interaction

BTN checkback 56%

What is happening here is that an A-high board is a lot more static than a K-high board. On A-high boards, there is no new top pair possibility, i.e. if you have an ace, you are either far ahead or way behind. No draws are complete on the turn, and there are no board changer cards. Furthermore, pretty good hands, like a Kx top pair on K83r, are the worst hands on an A-high board. Not only do they lack improvement but block fold equity. High pairs that mean over-pair advantage in most cases are not an advantage anymore on A-high boards.

Other consecvences

One thing we still need to mention; sizing and frequencies will also change. In hands where we c-bet range, use wide ranges, we tend to size down. Now we saw many examples that a little tweak changes range interaction, so we are forced to continue with a narrower, polarized range. In most cases, this will mean that we have to size up; in hands where we c-bet range 1/3, now we may c-bet 2/3 size with a 50% frequency, etc.


We have seen several examples of how just one little factor can modify the correct strategy in certain situations. Next time you have to make a decision, just pause for a moment and think about range interaction. If your general approach applies to your actual hand, go ahead and continue. In case you notice something is different, switch your strategy. In most cases, you want to be polarized and use bigger sizes. How ranges interact in the actual hand is key.

If you’d like to maximize your EV to the fullest, consider the rake environment your poker room offers. A higher rake environment makes some 0 EV plays a slightly loosing play, which should affect your preflop ranges and post-flop play, as well. If you want to know more about the rake and rakeback deals, check this article out.

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