Understanding Hand Ranges in Online Poker
By Carl Bevin
Editor in Chief
Start Using Hand Ranges to Your Advantage & Win Big in the Poker Rooms
One area that most new players to poker really struggle on is what hands they should play with and which they should fold with. It’s actually a lot simpler than it seems, but you’ll have to spend time learning about hand ranges, and your position at the poker table before you can start making good decisions. Be careful to memorize different hand ranges for online poker, and use them while playing and you’ll notice that you win more consistently. That’s the power of playing the right cards more often.
Your Table Position Matters
The area that you are sitting in at the table makes a big difference concerning what cards you should be playing at the online casino. There are different hand ranges for online poker that are defined depending on what your position is at the table.
For instance, a K-9 starting hand might be okay to play in a late position, but is something that you shouldn’t consider in the early position at the table.
The Three Positions
Early position is the first three spots after the dealer. These are the players that go first and they are the ones that take most of the risk. They don’t know if a player later on is going to go all in, or if they have the best cards. The folks in the next three chairs going clockwise around the table are in mid position. They have an advantage over everyone in early position, but a disadvantage to those in late position. They can play a bit more boldly but still need to be cautious.
Late position is the last three spots at the table, with the dealer spot being the most advantageous. As one of the last few players you get to see what everyone else is going to do. The later your position is the more marginal hands you can open up with and actually risk a bit of money with them.
Hands You Can Play in Early
These are the only hands that you should play in the first three spots at the table. These hands are very strong and the chances of you getting them is quite small, so often you’ll find yourself folding in early position.
The middle spots are arguably the most difficult ones to play in online poker and hand ranges are very important to understand for this area. Try to stick to the top of this list when playing real cash games from early mid position, and venture farther down as you make it closer to late position.
Late Position Hands
These are all the starting hands that you should consider from the late position part of the table. Be aware that the top of the list is best for the beginning of late position and you should be careful about going too far down without being the dealer. These are the marginal cards that you have to be careful with and you shouldn’t put too much stock in them.
There’s Never a Guarantee
Even if you learn these best practices for hand ranges in online poker there is no guarantee that you’ll win those hands. Real money is on the line for every hand that you play and there are going to be plenty of times when you play the right hand and still lose. That’s why you have to read players, become familiar with their play patterns and master good poker technique if you want to be one of the best players. Learning hand ranges is a good place to start though on your way to becoming one of the few top rated players.