More About M

[SS] “Overall, Harrington’s too conservative for your temperament, but you might still appreciate his ideas about M”,1 Stan the Stat continued, specifically addressing Joey the Juvenile.

[SS] “His basic theory is that in tournaments when your M is high, you can sit around and wait for good hands. But when your M is low, you need to get busy. When your M is really low, you need to move all-in as soon as a decent opportunity arises.”

[JJ] “Makes sense”, Joey confirmed.

[SS] “To make it easier to remember and discuss, he assigns colors to the M ranges:”

M Range Name Notes
20+ Green No special strategy needed. Play your normal game.
10.0-19.9 Yellow Play looser and more aggressive. Small pairs and suited connectors are less playable.
6.0-9.9 Orange Be even looser and more aggressive. Be the first raiser if possible.
1.0-5.9 Red Fold or move all-in, preferably as the first one into the pot.
0.0-0.9 Dead Avoid! The only time you should be here is if you lost an all-in to a player with slightly fewer chips.

[SS] “It would have been better if he had used ‘black’ for ‘dead’, but that range isn’t important anyway. Can you remember all this?”

[JJ] “Sure. I basically just need to know three numbers: 20, 10, and 6. Easy enough.”

[SS] “Right. 20+ is green, and a green light means go. 10+ is yellow, which real Boston2 drivers know means hit the gas to get through the intersection.3 And 6+ is orange, like a big hazard sign warning ‘Road Work Next 5 Miles’.”


  1. See previous article, M and Q for the definition and calculation of M.
  2. Dan Harrington was born and raised in Cambridge and graduated from MIT and Suffolk Law School.
  3. I’ve lived here over half my life, but you can learn the finer points of Boston driving more safely through the The Boston Driver’s Handbook: Wild in the Streets–The Almost Post Big Dig Edition.

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