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Sports & Gaming

Hand Ranges and Board Texture

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 27:53 min

Daniel breaks down hand range theory using specific scenarios to demonstrate how to identify ranges based on board textures, betting patterns, and player tendencies.

Daniel Negreanu
Teaches Poker
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Poker's evolved a lot obviously, over the last 20 years since I've played. And one of the main ways that it's changed is just the way that you read hands, right? So when I started out, the common theory was, OK, what is my hand, right? So you understand what you have, the strength of your hand based on the board. And then the second question is, what hand do I think my opponent has, right? Very simple. What do I have, what do I think my opponent has. Well, that developed through the years to, now I know my hand, and I know the strength of my hand. So what range of hands could that opponent have? Could he have a pair of 6's, could he have three aces. So now you're not putting them on one specific hand, you're putting them on a range of hands. Well, that's evolved even further now to a point where poker is at sort of a really game theory based place. Where now, I'm focusing on in a situation, what range of hands could I have that my opponent may think I have, and what range of hands does my opponent have. Now so instead of playing which was the very elementary version, my hand versus your hand, which became my hand versus your range, which ultimately becomes my range versus your range. And this is going to become important when we talk about situations where you'll have a range advantage. Certain boards where you know you're more likely to have stronger hands on your opponent. It's very important to know this kind of stuff because it's going to affect how often we're betting, what frequencies we're deciding to go with based on understanding we have a range. They don't know exactly what we have, they have us on a range. We can have them on a range, and we need to play accordingly. When you're trying to break down an opponent's hand, you don't just throw out a dart and be like, you must have king 5. Now you may have seen me do this on television in the old days, but essentially, I was still doing the same thing in terms of breaking down a range starting with a wide one, making it smaller. And sometimes, because players were so obvious back then and they had such a honest way of playing that I was able to pinpoint the exact cards. Now ideally, you want to narrow it down to the smallest number of hands you can. And sometimes, against some specific players, you can specifically figure out their exact two cards. But ideally, what you want to just figure out is OK, how many combinations of value hands do they have versus how many combinations of bluffs. Because that's all that's going to matter. You don't need to know exactly what the bluff is. You don't need to know exactly what the value hand is. You just have to gauge whether or not your hand you know is good enough to beat the value hands or whether or not your opponent is bluffing or not. How long it takes to kind of figure out what range of hands your opponents play in certain situations-- there's no real way to say like it takes exactly one hour, it takes 20 showdowns. I mean, ...

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Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Daniel, if you're reading this mate, good stuff. In practicing patience for poker I accidentally learned how to handle variance in life itself, and that's all because you had a smarmy grin in the thumbnail of the first thumbnail. This has been my first, but not last, experience of poker. I love it.

playing on new level now i can get people off hands now. win % went way up. always keep changing your game plan keeping them guessing

Best poker class i have ever seen spends time on things that will make you better

Before masterclass I was slightly above beginner level. I knew the basics of the game with a few advanced concepts mixed in but after completing masterclass i understand a much larger amount of concepts that i know with practice will make me a better play in the long run.



Question about those ranges : I play mostly with amateurs, and I suspect they don't really think that much in terms of "ranges"... Or at least not in such a structured way... How do you adapt your strategy when your opponents plays more erratically, which makes it harder (I think) to pinpoint them on a specific range... Any tips about that?

A fellow student

Can we please get rid off the pop-up on the pause screen. That not an add that is making nay money for your business and it's terribly annoying. And before you tell me that there is a hide button, I'd like to tell you that I am aware of that and the problem with that button is once you hide the pop-up, your keyboard functionality (space bar to pause-unpause the video) is taken away. This is so annoying. Why can't this be simple given that I see this comment on almost all the videos dating back to 3 months.

Thomas M.

What is wrong with you Masterclass... I pause the video to look at an Illustration and you put a pop-up over the screen. Terrible UI.

Mary P.

very very beginner. I was able to use what I learned in an app on my pad to make progress learning!

A fellow student

Best "Master" so far. He is to the point and actually provides useful advice, unlike many others who talk just too high-level.

A fellow student

They really need to address the whole hide layover when pausing the video... like yesterday. I'm 3 videos in and it is VERY discouraging to have to click to hide every single time. I rewind videos and pause it to have more analysis on my side and it is so annoying to have that layover appear. The info that it contains is not really that useful either, it probably can go on the video description as is in my opinion

Dennis H.

Has anyone been able to install equilab on a Mac running Catalina? I've tried winebottler without success.

Bruce R.

It's almost like I didn't hear this the first time through...great stuff and I'll PLAY and WIN more hands now!


Great lesson. Needed to pause the video a number of times to digest the hands and ranges referenced. Every time you pause, you need to click the "hide" button on the pop up, which gets annoying. Would have liked the option for the pop up to permanently be hidden...

Pascal M.

Havent seen the hole class till yet, but is Daniel talking about cash-or tournnament play after all? I really like and respect him but thosee poker types are such different.