Sports & Gaming

Hand Ranges and Board Texture

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 27:52 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.

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Topics include: Strive to Identify Range, Not Specific Hands • Build a Mental Database of Your Opponents' Ranges • As Betting Grows, Ranges Become More Polarized • Keep Your Range Balanced • Playing Against an Opponent’s Perceived Range • Range Advantage on Dry Flops • Range Advantage on Wet Flops • Factor Player Tendencies Into Range Advantage • Think Ahead • How to Adjust Your Ranges Based on Perception • Adjust Your Ranges Based on Opponents, Not Stakes


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, ...

About the Instructor

Put yourself across the felt from Daniel Negreanu, the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time. The six-time World Series of Poker champion teaches poker strategy, advanced theory, and practice through hand-reviews of his winning games. Learn how to sharpen your mental game through demos on reading opponents and spotting tells. Join Daniel at the table to increase your win rate, grow your ROI, and get your game “in the money.”

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Daniel Negreanu

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