How to play against people who don’t use ranges? (2 Viewers)

Burke

Flush
Joined
Apr 17, 2016
Messages
1,949
Reaction score
2,133
Location
Virginia
? wasn't scolding - hard to post in inflections i suppose. Maybe a better way to put it is that they don't think of their hands as ranges and you will just need to determine where they fall on the passive to aggressive scale.

Anyway, I'm jealous that you found a group of friends in med school who sounds like they are devoted to learning aspects of the game
 

Venturalvn

Flush
Joined
May 26, 2017
Messages
1,781
Reaction score
3,588
Location
Simi Valley, CA
How to play against people who don’t use ranges?

Back in my day we just called this "playing poker".

grimace-clint-eastwood.gif
 

djfayze

3 of a Kind
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
695
Reaction score
1,753
Location
Orlando, FL
Yeah, when residency is finished and you're looking at min $300,000+ per year with a decently busy practice, all that penny poker experience you played in med school will do you well for the 5/10 cash game that it will evolve into!
One can dream :D
 

camack7827

Sitting Out
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
18
Reaction score
23
Location
NJ
I might be wrong for thinking about it this way, but I play differently myself in that situation. I look at the small dollar/friendly game with buddies as a way to socialize and have fun drinking and playing cards. My intention is not as focused on building big pots to win with a strong hand (bc 3 betting preflop will literally chase everyone out). If I take a bad beat on someone I shoulda chased out, well.. I know it.
 

djfayze

3 of a Kind
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
695
Reaction score
1,753
Location
Orlando, FL
I might be wrong for thinking about it this way, but I play differently myself in that situation. I look at the small dollar/friendly game with buddies as a way to socialize and have fun drinking and playing cards. My intention is not as focused on building big pots to win with a strong hand (bc 3 betting preflop will literally chase everyone out). If I take a bad beat on someone I shoulda chased out, well.. I know it.
I totally get that. Our game is a little different, just because while we are all there to have fun and socialize (which we do) we also love getting better and playing good poker. Well, some of us at it do haha. But 3 better pre flop won’t chase anyone away at our games - it’s kind of a necessity.
 

Taghkanic

Full House
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
4,321
Reaction score
4,463
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
If one or more of them gets past the flop it’s tough because a relatively harmless looking Q-7-2 board could have connected with their Q-2 hand (it’s happened, trust me).

It will happen. But not often enough for you to worry about it, if you are playing a strong range.

Flopping two pair is hard. Always. If they are playing the whole deck, they have way more combos that whiffed completely than made any pair, let alone two pair.

If they are playing ATC, you have way more (and better) Qs in your range on any Q-rags board. When you flop top pair with QJ/QTs/Q9s, you are ahead more often than you would be against a tight player who more often has your Q dominated.

If their preflop behavior can’t be read because they play 85%-100% of the deck, I would pay even closer attention than usual to these players’ postflop patterns. If they are that bad pre, they likely are also terrible post.

It’s just a matter of figuring out their postflop habits. Do they continue with any pair (including bottom) and any draw (including gutshots to the low end of a straight)? Or as long as they have an A or K overcard to the board? (Amazingly, I know players like that.)

Do they cbet 100% of the time, or only when they make a big hand? Do they slow play? If there is a flush draw on the flop, and they bet big, does that mean they are afraid of the draw and betting only for protection for a made hand? Or do they bet their draws? The same size, or different?

Do they bluff missed draws? What size do they use for bluffs, big/medium/small? … Etc.
 
Last edited:

djfayze

3 of a Kind
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
695
Reaction score
1,753
Location
Orlando, FL
It will happen. But not often enough for you to worry about it, if you are playing a strong range.

Flopping two pair is hard. Always.

If they are playing ATC, you have way more (and better) Qs in your range. When you flop top pair with QJ/QTs/Q9s, you are ahead more often than you would be against a tight player who more often has your Q dominated.

If their preflop behavior can’t be read because they play 85% of the deck, I would pay even closer attention than usual to these players’ postflop patterns. If they are that bad pre, they likely are also terrible post.

It’s just a matter of figuring out their postflop habits. Do the continue with any pair (including bottom) and any draw (including gutshots to the low end of a straight)? Do they cbet 100% of the time, or only when they make a big hand? If there is a flush draw on the flop, and they bet big, does that mean they are afraid of the draw and betting only for protection for a made hand? Or do they bet their draws? The same size, or different? Etc.
This has been a common theme and I’m definitely going to be paying a lot more attention to post flop play. When a lot of our hands go multi-way past the flop and you’re trying to study players, do you just focus on one player at a time or try and keep track of everyone’s behavior throughout the whole hand?
 

Taghkanic

Full House
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
4,321
Reaction score
4,463
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
P.S. I would also experiment with how big you have to go to get heads-up to the flop. There is a huge difference playing postflop vs one ATC fish vs seeing a flop multi-way. Let alone 5- or 6-way. In that situation (lots of ATC players see the flop) it can be genuinely difficult to know where you are, since their collective board coverage is enormous.

If they are also stations, you are not going to learn much from the flop/turn action unless they are all very predictable in their behavior.

So it’s in your interest as the lone thinking player to open quality hands big preflop and try to get to a more manageable heads-up or at least threeway situation on the flop.

And then really consider the texture of the flop carefully considering their wide range: Not seeing monsters, but evaluating the new strength of your hand vs theirs.

In general though, I’d say flopping top and even middle pair vs these players is much stronger than normal. Middle pair can become almost the nuts.

Lastly… Position. Try to avoid playing OOP except with your best hands. This goes for most games but 10 times more for loose/passive multi-way ones.
 
Last edited:

djfayze

3 of a Kind
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
695
Reaction score
1,753
Location
Orlando, FL
P.S. I would also experiment with how big you have to go to get heads-up to the flop. There is a huge difference playing postflop vs an ATC fish vs seeing a flop multi-way. Let alone 5- or 6-way. In that situation (lots of ATC players see the flop) it can be genuinely difficult to know where you are, since their collective board coverage is enormous.

If they are also stations, you are not going to learn much from the flop/turn action unless they are all very predictable in their behavior.

So it’s in your interest as the line thinking player to open quality hands big preflop and try to get to a more manageable heads-up or at least threeway situation on the flop. And then really consider the texture of the flop carefully considering their wide range: Not seeing monsters, but evaluating the new strength of your hand vs theirs.

In general though, I’d say flipping top and even middle pair vs these players is much stronger than normal. Middle pair can become almost the nuts.

Lastly… Position. Try to avoid playing OOP except with your best hands. This goes for most games but 10 times more for loose/passive multi-way ones.
This is all very practical, applicable advice I can implement right away, thank you! Really appreciate you taking the time to write it out.
 

Taghkanic

Full House
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
4,321
Reaction score
4,463
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
P.P.S. Re.: position:

Another thing I look for in these games is whether I can “buy” the button.

If the player(s) to my left are capable of folding to a preflop raise, I may widen my range in the cutoff/highjack if a decent raise will get them to fold and effectively make me the button. That allows me to exploit the rest with a somewhat wider range. And on the flop the callers are going to expect me to have a much stronger hand if I cbet.

If they will call from the button 100% of the time, that’s exploitable too, but somewhat less useful.

Then there are the players who have barely thought about strategy at all, but have vaguely heard certain things like:

* “Always raise your button”
* “Always defend your blind”
* “Cbet 100%”
* “Raise small pairs HUGE preflop!!!!!”

This kind of stuff becomes really easy to spot over time in a regular home game and can be profitable to exploit.
 

trigs

Flush
Joined
Sep 29, 2017
Messages
1,203
Reaction score
1,360
Location
Canada
This has been a common theme and I’m definitely going to be paying a lot more attention to post flop play. When a lot of our hands go multi-way past the flop and you’re trying to study players, do you just focus on one player at a time or try and keep track of everyone’s behavior throughout the whole hand?
I personally will wait until I can see a showdown and what cards they are holding. Then I will play the hand back in my head (during the next deal basically) to get a read on their tendencies. You can learn some tendencies without seeing their cards, but there's a lot more information available if you do.

Also possible to jot a quick note on your phone about a player. Even if you don't look back at it necessarily, it could help you remember better by writing it down. Using short forms and slang only you know helps to make it quick, and everyone probably just assumes your surfing the internet or texting. For example, even something simple like: CO R with KQo; CB w/ TP; Ch turn flush; Ch/C river bet w/ TP (CO = cutoff; R = raise; CB = continuation bet; TP = top pair; Ch = check; C = call just to use some short forms to make the note as short and quick as possible). Not sure how other players would react to you taking notes on them though, so that's something you'd have to consider also.
 

djfayze

3 of a Kind
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
695
Reaction score
1,753
Location
Orlando, FL
I personally will wait until I can see a showdown and what cards they are holding. Then I will play the hand back in my head (during the next deal basically) to get a read on their tendencies. You can learn some tendencies without seeing their cards, but there's a lot more information available if you do.

Also possible to jot a quick note on your phone about a player. Even if you don't look back at it necessarily, it could help you remember better by writing it down. Using short forms and slang only you know helps to make it quick, and everyone probably just assumes your surfing the internet or texting. For example, even something simple like: CO R with KQo; CB w/ TP; Ch turn flush; Ch/C river bet w/ TP (CO = cutoff; R = raise; CB = continuation bet; TP = top pair; Ch = check; C = call just to use some short forms to make the note as short and quick as possible). Not sure how other players would react to you taking notes on them though, so that's something you'd have to consider also.
This is great advice, thank you. Makes taking notes not seem as overwhelming. The guys wouldn’t care, and probably wouldn’t even notice if I was on my phone
 

utgtrash

Two Pair
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2021
Messages
439
Reaction score
552
Location
Los angeles
P.P.S. Re.: position:

Another thing I look for in these games is whether I can “buy” the button.

If the player(s) to my left are capable of folding to a preflop raise, I may widen my range in the cutoff/highjack if a decent raise will get them to fold and effectively make me the button. That allows me to exploit the rest with a somewhat wider range. And on the flop the callers are going to expect me to have a much stronger hand if I cbet.

If they will call from the button 100% of the time, that’s exploitable too, but somewhat less useful.

Then there are the players who have barely thought about strategy at all, but have vaguely heard certain things like:

* “Always raise your button”
* “Always defend your blind”
* “Cbet 100%”
* “Raise small pairs HUGE preflop!!!!!”

This kind of stuff becomes really easy to spot over time in a regular home game and can be profitable to exploit.
This is allllll really really good
 

Taghkanic

Full House
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2017
Messages
4,321
Reaction score
4,463
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
This has been a common theme and I’m definitely going to be paying a lot more attention to post flop play. When a lot of our hands go multi-way past the flop and you’re trying to study players, do you just focus on one player at a time or try and keep track of everyone’s behavior throughout the whole hand?

I don’t have any system per se… I just try to pay attention to every hand, including ones that I’m not involved in.

At one point some years ago in my home game (which started more than a decade ago) I actually wrote out a profile of each regular player for myself. Kind of silly, but the exercise forced me to clarify what I knew, thought I knew, or was unsure about their play. Typing it out made it a lot clearer and harder to go with just basic hunches. Then I knew going forward what I wanted to watch for each person.

Things which stick out as unusually bad are obviously more memorable... Guy opens from under the gun, calls a reraise pre and flop/turn bets, had nothing except a gutshot until the river, makes only bottom pair with 95o, then calls someone who obviously was strong from the start… What?)

In addition to basic stuff (like are they positionally aware, do they ever bluff, do they ever 3bet pre except with ultrapremiums, do they ever squeeze, etc.), I try to look for things such as what does it mean when this player overbets? Or, when they donk bet small, are they trying to set their own price on a draw, or is that what they do when slowplaying? Do they mix things up at all? Are they only getting to the river with top pair or better? Can they release a pocket pair that looks obviously beat?

Also helpful on the most fundamental level to know who just plays their own cards and who thinks (at least a little) about your image. What do they think when you bet buy? Do they assume you are weak when you check, and bet into it with air/weak made hands? etc.

The beauty of a regular home game is that you don’t really need to be in a rush to develop reads/profiles. Just pay attention to hands, think them through backwards when you have the chance in game, or afterward (as others have suggested). But mainly just let your observations accumulate.
 

utgtrash

Two Pair
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2021
Messages
439
Reaction score
552
Location
Los angeles
I don’t have any system per se… I just try to pay attention to every hand, including ones that I’m not involved in.

At one point some years ago in my home game (which started more than a decade ago) I actually wrote out a profile of each regular player for myself. Kind of silly, but the exercise forced me to clarify what I knew, thought I knew, or was unsure about their play. Typing it out made it a lot clearer and harder to go with just basic hunches. Then I knew going forward what I wanted to watch for each person.

Things which stick out as unusually bad are obviously more memorable... Guy opens from under the gun, calls a reraise pre and flop/turn bets, had nothing except a gutshot until the river, makes only bottom pair with 95o, then calls someone who obviously was strong from the start… What?)

In addition to basic stuff (like are they positionally aware, do they ever bluff, do they ever 3bet pre except with ultrapremiums, do they ever squeeze, etc.), I try to look for things such as what does it mean when this player overbets? Or, when they donk bet small, are they trying to set their own price on a draw, or is that what they do when slowplaying? Do they mix things up at all? Are they only getting to the river with top pair or better? Can they release a pocket pair that looks obviously beat?

Also helpful on the most fundamental level to know who just plays their own cards and who thinks (at least a little) about your image. What do they think when you bet buy? Do they assume you are weak when you check, and bet into it with air/weak made hands? etc.

The beauty of a regular home game is that you don’t really need to be in a rush to develop reads/profiles. Just pay attention to hands, think them through backwards when you have the chance in game, or afterward (as others have suggested). But mainly just let your observations accumulate.
really great plain language "system!" This maps to multi-way or headsup optimal theory but don't jump to that because people will try to rely on strategic systems rather than understand the sensibility first. this is the proper way to develop poker "sense." In really loose games it is difficult to get people to conform to your personal comfort zone so you have to understand the general and individual leaks and try to exploit. Also one great point Taghkanic made above is that people who play more hands hit more flops but they MISS a lot more boards. it's true you will take more beats but if you bet size correctly relative to the pot AND their stacks, you will convert your hand equity (obviously you need some in this game) to realized value.

as practical advice, people are often flop-junkies and will pay a lot to feed that addiction. if you want to narrow their ranges or take advantage of their missing the flops, you might have to outsize your preflop opens or threebet even though it will annoy players. also, you might try to short buy in hopes that your superior hand will hold up without worrying about stack depth beyond the flop. if you do double/triple up, you can patiently observe and try to take advantage of their mistakes on later streets. i play with a few players that know how to play a shortstack but they are kind of lost if it goes much past that. in deepstack nlh, the game really begins on the turn, but perhaps in your game right now winning the flop battle is all you need.
 

djfayze

3 of a Kind
Joined
Oct 11, 2020
Messages
695
Reaction score
1,753
Location
Orlando, FL
Just updating everyone - I implemented a lot of the advice in this thread at our game tonight and it went very well! Tried to see a lot more flops in position with hands that play well multi-way and was able to take down some great pots when I realized my equity. I paid more attention to player tendencies and was cautious of low equity bluffs against calling stations. Looking forward to continue learning more about my players next game. Thanks for all the tips!

B6436E73-685A-45D6-9F71-8BF1FC322C70.jpeg
 

KentuckySteve

Sitting Out
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
13
Reaction score
5
Location
Columbus, OH
100%. I worry about losing players because of higher stakes (we’re all students). Maybe I just need to make the “you’re buying in 2-3 times anyway, might as well double the blinds” argument haha
I understand the student-with-a-budget thing, but I’d ask just how ‘micro’ your stakes are. What I mean is, if your playing nickel/dime blinds then moving to dime/quarter shouldn’t break anyone while making the stakes higher and getting a few more junk hands folded more flop.
 

XBobdog

Flush
Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2016
Messages
1,074
Reaction score
1,216
Location
charlotte
I don’t have any system per se… I just try to pay attention to every hand, including ones that I’m not involved in.

At one point some years ago in my home game (which started more than a decade ago) I actually wrote out a profile of each regular player for myself. Kind of silly, but the exercise forced me to clarify what I knew, thought I knew, or was unsure about their play. Typing it out made it a lot clearer and harder to go with just basic hunches. Then I knew going forward what I wanted to watch for each person.

Things which stick out as unusually bad are obviously more memorable... Guy opens from under the gun, calls a reraise pre and flop/turn bets, had nothing except a gutshot until the river, makes only bottom pair with 95o, then calls someone who obviously was strong from the start… What?)

In addition to basic stuff (like are they positionally aware, do they ever bluff, do they ever 3bet pre except with ultrapremiums, do they ever squeeze, etc.), I try to look for things such as what does it mean when this player overbets? Or, when they donk bet small, are they trying to set their own price on a draw, or is that what they do when slowplaying? Do they mix things up at all? Are they only getting to the river with top pair or better? Can they release a pocket pair that looks obviously beat?

Also helpful on the most fundamental level to know who just plays their own cards and who thinks (at least a little) about your image. What do they think when you bet buy? Do they assume you are weak when you check, and bet into it with air/weak made hands? etc.

The beauty of a regular home game is that you don’t really need to be in a rush to develop reads/profiles. Just pay attention to hands, think them through backwards when you have the chance in game, or afterward (as others have suggested). But mainly just let your observations accumulate.
The advice above is really good advice.

I was going to rephrase it to look for players that do particular things. Always have the nuts or close,
when betting, connect with their high card on the flop and don't want to fold after... Avgs are one thing, but if you find one of these.... You can avoid big trouble easily or catch big pot.
 
Top Bottom