More Hand Range Software

[LL] “I found another poker calculator that’s for Windows but runs great using Wine on Macs: Equilab“, Leroy the Lion reported back.

[NN] “Is it better than Poker Stove?” Nate the Natural asked.

[LL] “It has more features. The most useful are the dozens of canned hand ranges (e.g., Under the Gun Open Raise), plus you can create your own custom hand ranges and save them for reuse.”

[NN] “That’s pretty neat.”

[LL] “And while Poker Stove and Equilab both let you copy the results as text, Equilab can also generate BB code.”

[FF] “What’s BB code?”

[LL] “It’s an HTML-like language1 that’s used for formatting posts on some web message boards.”

[NN] “‘BB’ for ‘bulletin board’, I think.”

[LL] “Oh, and I quickly discovered why both of the apps have Monte Carlo simulations.”

[FF] “I thought you said they were plenty fast”, Figaro the Fish commented.

[LL] “They were… until I ran a complicated scenario with two hand ranges against each other. The number of combinations blows up exponentially! A complete analysis still took under a minute, but if you just want a quick and dirty answer, then the faster estimate worked well enough, getting within one tenth of a percent in only two seconds.”

[NN] “And you definitely need the simulation if you’re running an app on your cell phone.”

[LL] “What app are you using on your iPhone?”

[NN] “I bought Poker Cruncher, which also has Android, and Mac versions.”

[LL] “How much did it cost?”

[NN] “I paid $4.99 for the Advanced version, although it’s currently $5.99.2 Don’t bother with the Basic version.”

[FF] “Why not?”

[NN] “It doesn’t support hand ranges. The Advanced version seems to be pretty similar to Equilab feature-wise, with built-in and savable hand ranges. But it also lets you save hand scenarios.”

[LL] “Equilab may let you do that on a PC or a good emulator, but it doesn’t work in Wine (it just pops up an empty error dialog box). I also crashed Wine when I tried to cut and paste using CONTROL-X/CONTROL-V, so I’d use Parallels if I ever wanted to run a lot of calculations.”

[NN] “What do you use away from your Mac?”

[LL] “I usually run PokerSniper, which handles just about everything I need. It’s limited to four players, but that’s enough most of the time. It supports hand ranges but only if you type them in (including percentage ranges). I got the iPhone app when it was on sale for $0.99, but it’s currently $2.99.”3

Footnotes:

  1. So much like HTML that there are numerous simple translators like this BB Code to HTML converter and this PHP conversion code, which is under a thousand characters.
  2. All prices are as of November 28, 2014 and are not only subject to change but quite likely to.
  3. December 24, 2018 update: Poker Sniper is no longer available. A good alternative is PokerCruncher, currently selling for $9.99.

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Visualizing Hand Ranges

[FF] “I keep hearing people talking about hand ranges, but how do you know what a hand range looks like?” Figaro the Fish inquired.

[NN] “There are 169 unique starting hands: 13 pairs, 78 suited non-pairs, and 78 offsuit non-pairs”, Nate the Natural began to explain. “The standard way to display these is a 13-by-13 grid with the pairs going down the diagonal from Ace-Ace in the top left to Deuce-Deuce in the bottom right, suited cards above and to the right, and offsuit cards below and to the left.

A good example, which is also the simplest place to play around with some percentages is the Poker Hand Range web site.

{Nate shows Figaro the site on his phone.}

[NN] “Drag the slider around or type in a specific percentage to see what various ranges look like.

[FF] “Hey, that’s pretty cool.”

[NN] “You can also tap on any specific starting hand. Or even click and drag to quickly select multiple hands. This does NOT update the percentage, however, so you can’t use this site to figure out what percentage a certain set of hands comprises.”

[NN] “For that and much more, you should get the free Poker Stove application.”1

[FF] “I’ve heard of that, but I thought that was just a PC app. I use a Mac.”

[NN] “There are more than a few Windows emulators you can use, like Parallels and Boot Camp.”

[LL] “I have Parallels,” Leroy the Lion chimed in, “but I almost never run it because it’s a huge resource hog. Fortunately, there’s a lightweight way to run many Windows apps under Mac OS. It’s called Wine2 (which originally stood for “WINdows Emulator” but was backronymed into “Wine Is Not an Emulator”). You can find instructions for downloading and running Poker Stove in Wine. Just make sure you get the latest version of the Poker Stove installer. I first got one file that was 732 Kb, but after installation it said it had expired. I then found another version that was 1.4 Mb, and that worked.”

[NN] “So there you go. The primary purpose of Poker Stove is to calculate equity by comparing two or more hands, but it lets you specify a player’s cards by Hand Range by tapping on the player’s button then the Preflop tab.”

[NN] “The Hand Range feature is pretty good. If you select any subset of hands, it will tell you what percentage that corresponds to.”

[FF] “That’s great. I can visualize a hand range this way much more easily than I could memorize a list of hands.”

Hand Ranges in 10% Increments (edited Poker Stove output)

Hand Ranges in 10% Increments

Footnotes:

  1. The Poker Stove application has a slightly different idea of the order of hands than the Poker Hand Range web site, but they’re pretty close. Poker Stove uses preflop all-in equity against three random hands, while the Poker Hand Range web site lets you choose from one to three opponents using unknown criteria.
  2. Wine also runs on Linux.

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“Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1” Review and Hand Index


[RR] “What was the other book you got, Iggy?” Roderick the Rock inquired.

[II] “Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1 by the online pros with the handles ‘Rizen’, ‘Apestyles’, and ‘Pearljammer'”, Iggy the Improver answered. “Not as immediately useful as Poker Plays You Can Use, but a good book nonetheless.”

[RR] “What do you mean by ‘immediately useful’?” Roderick the Rock asked.

[II] “I think it’s a book that you’ll pick up a few things from every time you read it. But there are no overriding themes, lessons, or instruction. I think the closest book in my library is Gus Hansen’s ‘Every Hand Revealed’.”

[SS] “So it’s just a series of hands from one tournament?” Stan the Stat inquired.

[II] “There’s one series of hands like that leading up to the bubble bursting in one event1, but the other 75% of the book jumps around to random hands in random tournaments.”

[SS] “There must be some kind of organization!”

[II] “Yes, the main breakdown is by which player is analyzing the hand. Each of those four sections (one for each player and one for all the players together) is sorted by the blind size (which roughly corresponds to the stage of the tournament).”

[II] “These hands involve good players, so they won’t help you much against weaker opponents.”.

[II] “The biggest problem with this book is that it’s impossible to use as a reference. Except for one section on ‘Bubble Play’, there’s no way to find anything. You’d have to look through the whole book if you want to see examples of blind stealing or handling small pairs or suited connectors or whatnot.”

[RR] “Doesn’t the book have a table of contents and index?”

[II] “The table of contents just tells you that the book is broken down by which player is commenting: Jon ‘PearlJammer’ Turner does the first 50 hands, Eric ‘Rizen’ Lynch does the next 50, Jon ‘ApeStyles’ Van Fleet does the next 74, and all three of them do the last 20. There is no index, which I consider to be a major flaw for a book like this.”

[SS] “But like you said, maybe they just expect you to reread it occasionally.”

[II] “I have a couple dozen poker books in my library; I might not get around to it again for a decade. But all your lists have inspired me, and I summoned my inner-Stan to create an index!2 I added the two M columns because I thought they were much more useful than just knowing the blinds and stack sizes.”

Hand Index for Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1

Hand Page Buyin3 Hero
Cards
Hero
Pos
4
Hero
M
Villain
Pos
Villain
M
Villain
Style/Skill
Board Notes
1 18 $50 T♣T♥ D 65.7 MP 81.3 solid 8♥6♠3♣6♦K♣ playing safe early in tourney with medium pair
2 20 $150 T♥T♦ HJ 96.7 SB 250.2 strong T♠6♦6♥ flopping a monster
3 22 $100 A♦K♥ UTG1 71.3 UTG 50.0 ? 9♣7♦6♣K♦J♥ folding TPTK
4 24 $300 J♥J♦ CO 66.0 UTG 44.1 strong 8♠5♣2♦6♥Q♣ getting milked
5 26 $300 T♥9♥ BB 73.3 SB 76.6 tough 7♥5♥2♥A♣4♣ keeping the pot small
6 29 $150 J♥J♠ BB 51.9 SB 46.8 solid playing safe
7 31 $100 J♦J♥ SB 35.2 BB 25.1 ? 9♦9♣2♣ pocket pair with paired board
8 33 $150 K♦Q♦ HJ 81.7 D 29.7 ? K♠3♦2♠A♥5♥ top pair vs. short-stacked opponent
9 36 $100 9♣8♣ MP 57.5 BB 77.6 solid A♠9♥3♦8♠7♠ suited connectors
10 39 $300 T♣T♠ HJ 35.3 UTG1 41.0 tight 8♦7♦3♥6♦2♣ overpair
11 41 $120 3♥3♣ UTG 48.5 multi N/A ? K♥5♣3♠6♦9♣ bottom set with lots of action
12 44 $150 K♦K♥ BB 20.5 HJ 49.4 ? 9♦5♠3♠Q♥8♦ squeeze play with real hand
13 46 $240 A♣K♣ D 22.1 HJ 39.8 solid, tight J♠J♣T♣9♥A♦ top two pairs on dangerous board
14 49 $150 Q♦5♣ BB 49.9 UTG 66.2 ? Q♥6♠3♥J♠2♣ top pair, no kicker
15 51 $10 A♥9♣ SB 38.8 HJ 40.3 inexperienced Q♠T♠9♠9♦7♦ trips vs. possible flush
16 53 $150 A♦Q♠ D 20.0 MP 28.5 tight A♠4♠3♠J♣5♥ top pair plus flush draw
17 56 $50 8♣8♥ MP 10.3 BB 5.9 weak K♠J♠4♥2♣6♥ medium pair vs. short stack shove
18 58 $500 T♥7♥ CO 16.4 multi N/A ? J♥T♦3♠4♥T♠ second pair then flush draw then trips
19 60 $100 Q♠Q♣ SB 14.3 HJ 20.3 ? all-in with Queens
20 62 $100 A♦A♥ CO 16.2 UTG1 25.7 ? 6♥2♣2♦T♦8♥ extracting value with Aces
21 64 $500 5♠2♦ BB 12.8 SB 18.2 aggressive 9♥4♠3♣6♦T♣ blind vs. blind
22 66 $50 A♥J♦ CO 9.7 UTG 26.0 ? J♣T♠3♥2♥7♦ good hand vs. aggressive limper
23 68 $100 Q♣Q♠ UTG 11.4 multi N/A aggressive folding Queens to too much action
24 70 $200 K♣T♥ CO 30.6 SB 32.7 ? T♣4♠2♥3♥8♣ top pair to the river
25 72 $200 A♠A♥ HJ 19.9 UTG 37.2 ? 8♣7♠6♦A♣2♦ not slowplaying Aces
26 74 $50 K♦9♥ D 18.6 BB 31.4 ? A♦K♣8♠2♦Q♣ BSB second pair
27 76 $300 A♦6♠ SB 14.2 BB 14.3 ? A♠9♦7♦ blind vs. blind: weak Ace
28 78 $150 A♦J♦ D 17.0 SB 22.1 ? J♥5♥2♥J♣K♥ BSB top pair vs. flush draw
29 81 $100 A♠K♣ HJ 9.7 D 19.0 ? A♥8♦5♠6♦2♦ TPTK extracting full value
30 83 $50 T♥2♣ BB 5.9 MP 28.0 ? T♦9♣6♠ top pair, no kicker and short-stacked
31 85 $100 T♣9♣ UTG 10.9 CO 13.1 aggressive K♣7♥3♣ suited connectors: raising from early position
32 87 $150 A♥Q♦ UTG 32.8 CO 26.2 ? Q♥T♦3♥7♣2♣ TPTK check on turn
33 89 $1,000 2♥2♠ UTG 18.6 BB 20.5 very strong A♣Q♣J♦T♦ small pair: raising from early position
34 92 $50 K♦J♣ MP 17.2 SB 17.4 ? K♥8♠3♠K♣2♠ bubble: widening opening range
35 94 $100 5♥3♠ SB 1.5 BB 9.8 ? K♣Q♥7♥ short stack: limp and go bluff
36 96 $10 T♠T♦ CO 19.0 multi N/A weak K♠Q♣9♥6♠7♣ medium pair fold vs. all-ins from short stacks
37 98 $150 K♣7♣ BB 4.9 D 2.8 ? 8♣6♣4♠A♣3♠ weak King vs. short stack shove from button
38 100 $69 A♥K♣ MP 16.1 HJ 21.4 ? loose image gets raise; reraise gets pot
39 102 $500 A♠A♣ CO 11.2 MP 20.5 very strong T♣6♠4♥ slowplaying Aces vs. aggressive opponent
40 104 $100 J♣9♣ BB 10.0 UTG 36.4 LAG Q♠J♥4♥6♦4♣ second pair vs. aggressive opponent
41 106 $200 T♥T♦ BB 9.9 UTG 10.1 ? 9♦7♥4♣9♠3♠ overpair
42 109 $200 A♣Q♣ D 5.2 SB 7.6 strong, aggr. J♥7♠6♣5♠8♥ short stack BSB with good hand
43 111 $10 5♥4♠ BB 8.0 UTG1 17.0 weak 4♣4♥3♥J♦3♣ short stack big blind special
44 113 $10 J♣T♦ HJ 28.7 D 26.8 weak? K♠9♣7♣2♠ double belly buster check raise on turn
45 116 $50 K♥K♦ SB 13.4 HJ 17.5 ? K♣Q♦T♠A♦Q♠ bubble: not slowplaying Kings
46 118 $30 A♥6♣ D 27.1 multi N/A ? bubble: preflop resteal
47 120 $100 A♠3♣ CO 34.4 BB 9.7 strong, LAG Q♦6♦2♦8♦9♥ bubble: turn float with 4-flush on board
48 123 $200 6♠3♣ UTG1 20.0 multi N/A ? bubble: big stack steal
49 124 $10 8♥5♦ CO 16.0 HJ 11.8 ? bubble: preflop resteal
50 126 $10 J♣8♣ CO 19.3 BB 7.5 tight A♥Q♣7♣ bubble: semi-bluff flush draw on flop
51 128 $200 T♦T♥ UTG 166.7 BB 166.7 good, tight A♠J♣T♠2♠ set on dangerous board
52 130 $300 9♣9♥ UTG 101.0 MP 99.0 mixed 8♣5♠2♣ playing safe early in tourney despite overpair
53 132 $1,000 K♦J♣ HJ 99.7 D 100.0 tight J♠T♠6♦ playing safe early in tourney despite top pair, 2nd kicker
54 134 $150 3♦3♥ BB 102.7 D 104.7 weak A♠3♣2♥Q♣T♦ bottom set
55 136 $150 A♦K♣ D 99.0 MP 100.0 ? T♥9♥3♠ playing safe with 2 overs only
56 138 $216 J♥J♠ BB 97.7 multi N/A very strong T♥6♣4♠ playing safe early in tourney with overpair to two all-ins
57 140 $1,000 A♦2♣ CO 72.1 D 65.9 ? Q♣6♥6♦3♦K♦ 3-barrel bluff
58 142 $200 9♦6♠ BB 73.8 UTG1 23.9 very strong T♦9♠6♣A♦T♠ hero call with counterfeited 2 pairs
59 144 $200 A♦K♥ D 56.9 BB 134.0 ? Q♦T♠7♦K♦7♠ losing the minimum with TPTK on dangerous board
60 146 $200 K♥Q♥ HJ 88.9 UTG 70.0 aggressive Q♣8♠5♣3♠T♣ inducing river bluff with top pair, 2nd kicker
61 148 $150 A♦9♥ HJ 74.6 BB 39.0 solid, tight A♣5♦4♥T♥8♥ top pair, weak kicker vs. weak flop lead
62 150 $150 5♣4♣ MP 59.6 HJ 39.9 ? Q♦8♠6♣A♣ turn semibluff
63 152 $200 K♣Q♥ HJ 53.4 BB 28.6 strong, loose K♥J♣3♠5♦8♣ calling pot bet with top pair, second kicker
64 154 $150 9♣6♣ D 51.4 CO 65.6 ? A♥5♣4♦ 2-barrel bluff
65 156 $50 A♣K♦ HJ 35.7 UTG1 43.5 ? A♦T♠6♠7♣T♦ winning with TPTK after opponent bets weak twice
66 158 $150 J♦J♠ UTG 36.6 MP 50.5 ? Q♦T♦4♣7♠3♦ overplaying 2nd pair and losing badly
67 161 $200 K♠2♠ BB 57.2 SB 45.7 strong Q♠T♠2♣5♠J♣ lucky flush vs. 2 pair from big blind limp
68 163 $150 A♦K♥ MP 47.9 BB 18.6 ? Q♠J♠7♦A♥4♠ strange, just above min raise from big blind
69 166 $150 K♠J♠ MP 38.3 UTG 28.6 mixed J♦8♥3♦ fold to flop reraise with top pair, second kicker
70 168 $150 3♣3♥ MP 14.5 SB 15.9 mixed J♣5♦2♥Q♠3♠ 2-outer on river for set
71 170 $100 7♣5♣ HJ 63.3 CO 160.2 very strong A♣T♠9♣ semibluff with flush draw
72 172 $150 6♠2♥ BB 31.0 D 56.6 mixed 8♥6♥2♣3♠3♦ big blind special 2 pair counterfeited
73 174 $120 K♥Q♥ HJ 33.7 BB 50.0 ? A♠9♠7♦Q♠A♦ caution with 2nd pair
74 176 $2,600 9♦9♠ HJ 95.3 MP 311.3 mixed 9♥7♠4♥5♥5♦ set vs. possible flush but fills up
75 178 $500 J♦J♠ CO 11.5 BB 14.9 weak K♠8♣5♣7♥5♦ 2nd pair vs. weak turn bet and medium river bet
76 180 $150 J♠J♥ UTG1 29.0 SB 81.7 ? K♦Q♣8♥9♠5♥ 3rd pair vs. min turn and river bets
77 182 $150 K♣J♥ HJ 74.5 MP 51.0 mixed A♥K♦7♥9♣ 2nd pair vs. min check-raise on flop then half pot on turn
78 184 $30 Q♦T♦ CO 37.9 SB 30.4 ? K♥9♠5♦J♣J♥ straight on turn but river paired
79 186 $1,000 5♠4♠ MP 43.2 D 37.9 very strong K♦T♦5♥K♣T♥ all-in bluff after 3rd pair counterfeited on river
80 188 $30 A♣7♣ SB 35.0 BB 48.1 weak 9♣8♥6♣T♥3♠ check-raise all-in with straight and flush draws
81 190 $100 K♥J♣ CO 44.6 BB 30.4 ? K♠8♠3♠K♣8♥ top pair on suited flop
82 192 $100 J♠T♠ HJ 51.1 D 12.8 solid, tough T♥9♣9♦8♣3♣ top pair on dangerous board
83 194 $2,600 8♦8♣ UTG1 67.5 BB 107.9 mixed Q♣J♠J♣7♠6♠ underpair on dangerous board
84 196 $200 A♠J♥ UTG1 12.4 D 10.4 strong J♦9♥3♦J♠8♠ cracking opponents Kings after two min-raises gave his hand away
85 198 $150 A♣Q♣ HJ 15.2 UTG 19.6 mixed 8♣6♣2♣2♦9♣ flopping the nut flush and playing it fast
86 200 $150 T♣6♥ CO 22.6 HJ 13.5 mixed folding to all-in rereraise despite good odds
87 202 $100 9♥9♦ SB 13.7 CO 29.4 ? A♠K♣4♥ all-in cbet bluff
88 204 $200 K♠J♣ CO 9.4 BB 23.6 mixed A♥7♣4♦ all-in bluff raise of small flop bet
89 206 $150 K♥Q♦ D 24.7 BB 10.4 aggressive 5♥3♣2♦Q♠6♥ top pair against LAG
90 208 $120 A♠J♣ D 13.6 CO 25.8 LAG bully K♣8♠7♣ bluff-raise cbet from LAG
91 210 $100 6♥2♣ BB 20.0 CO 10.8 ? bubble: preflop resteal
92 212 $200 K♣K♦ UTG1 29.7 MP 49.6 very strong A♥J♠7♦A♠T♦ 2nd pair vs. big stack
93 215 $200 A♥Q♣ SB 15.7 BB 14.1 very strong K♥T♠4♣6♣ 2-barrel bluff
94 217 $100 K♦T♦ D 10.3 BB 8.7 good A♣A♦Q♣9♠ turn bluff-raise with just inside straight draw after 2 weak opponent bets
95 219 $500 8♠8♦ UTG1 7.8 UTG 15.7 loose, passive Q♠3♣2♠K♦T♣ calling weak river bet with only 4th pair
96 222 $500 6♥6♣ BB 29.9 D 42.7 mixed 3-bet overly loose button
97 224 $500 Q♥3♠ BB 25.1 UTG 2.4 mixed odds-based all-in call with bad hand
98 226 $200 T♥8♥ BB 22.3 UTG1 3.2 very strong A♠J♣3♠9♠3♣ odds-based all-in call with bad hand
99 228 $200 A♦T♥ MP 12.7 BB 23.0 very strong Q♠7♦7♣ bubble: flop raise of big stack’s donk bet
100 230 $50 Q♣J♥ UTG 11.8 BB 26.7 aggressive T♥9♠5♥ cbet with straight draw, sized for 3-bet all-in
101 232 $215 T♠9♠ D 165.3 SB 168.7 ? A♥9♦5♦ early: reraising with suited connectors
102 234 $1,060 3♠3♦ D 86.9 BB 102.7 ? A♥8♥2♠K♠5♠ giving up on the bluff
103 236 $109 A♠A♥ D 52.7 BB 60.7 weak J♦9♥8♥T♥Q♠ overbet with straight on board
104 238 $320 3♣3♦ MP 126.8 HJ 96.0 aggressive K♣9♣3♥6♠K♥ flopped set called down to river
105 241 $320 J♣J♠ SB 134.2 UTG1 76.7 tight, passive A♣A♠J♥Q♦ folding a full house
106 244 $162 K♠J♦ CO 82.3 HJ 54.2 weak K♦9♠6♣6♥A♦ 3-outed with top pair
107 246 $320 A♦K♣ MP 70.1 CO 63.1 LAG K♥9♦7♣ folding TPTK to massive overbet and raise
108 249 $320 J♥T♥ HJ 65.1 BB 65.9 regulars 6♦6♠4♦A♣ turn bluff representing an Ace
109 252 $1,060 T♥T♣ D 95.5 multi N/A ? 4♠4♥2♥5♦5♥ folding overpair to too much action
110 254 $55 A♦Q♥ UTG1 40.5 SB 68.7 tight folding AQo to tight player’s 3-bet
111 256 $320 J♠J♣ HJ 56.5 UTG1 36.1 tight 8♣5♣2♣J♦ overpair plus medium flush draw
112 258 $215 A♥K♦ HJ 13.8 D 204.5 LAG Q♣Q♠8♠ all-in check-raise with overcards
113 260 $530 J♣J♠ BB 87.7 UTG1 23.7 aggressive K♥T♦4♥7♣K♦ putting opponent on second pair
114 263 $55 A♠J♦ BB 20.1 D 22.7 LAG T♣8♦4♥ planned flop all-in check-raise
115 266 $530 A♦K♥ MP 74.3 CO 58.7 tight K♠Q♣J♣9♦2♦ TPTK on dangerous board
116 268 $55 T♣T♠ UTG 38.4 HJ 26.4 tight folding Tens to tight player’s 3-bet
117 270 $215 Q♥4♠ BB 17.2 SB 17.0 ? K♦9♥6♥K♣Q♦ BVB: thin value raise with 2 pair on river
118 273 $162 A♦Q♠ HJ 25.7 MP 33.4 ? K♥T♣5♦T♦ floating with inside straight draw
119 276 $1,050 J♦J♥ MP 15.8 SB 33.9 loose, passive 9♥6♣4♦K♠3♠ putting opponent on weak pair
120 279 $530 A♦J♣ SB 25.7 UTG1 31.7 weak, loose, passive J♥7♥3♦9♦2♥ check-raise with TPTK to set up river shove
121 282 $215 Q♠Q♣ MP 20.7 SB 58.5 aggressive K♠4♥3♣5♥8♦ value betting Queens despite King on board
122 284 $109 K♣T♠ HJ 39.2 BB 30.9 loose A♥8♦8♣K♦3♦ giving up after c-bet fails
123 287 $55 T♦T♠ UTG1 21.3 SB 18.2 regular Q♦6♠3♥6♦K♣ putting opponent on weak pair
124 289 $215 A♠T♣ CO 34.7 D 33.1 aggr. regular A♥J♦2♠7♦8♦ checking to induce a bluff with top pair
125 291 $77 Q♥J♠ BB 34.0 HJ 25.8 aggressive K♣5♦3♠ check-raise bluffing a c-bet on King-high flop
126 293 $109 A♠9♦ BB 6.1 D 8.2 weak, tight raising late limper all-in to steal
127 295 $109 Q♦J♦ UTG1 17.0 multi N/A passive, tight all-in preflop against short stack to drive out deeper stack
128 298 $215 K♠J♠ CO 39.5 BB 14.7 solid raising a limper but folding to 3-bet
129 300 $109 J♣T♣ HJ 27.7 BB 24.5 weak A♦8♥6♣Q♣9♥ taking a free card on the turn and hitting the river
130 303 $109 7♥7♦ D 4.6 multi N/A loose short stack: all-in after three limpers
131 306 $1,060 7♦6♦ HJ 29.1 MP 11.0 ? bubble: 3-bet small raise to steal
132 309 $1,060 T♦3♠ MP 31.1 MP 11.8 aggr. regular bubble: fold bad hand with bad image against good player
133 310 $1,060 K♦Q♥ MP 31.1 HJ 27.5 ? bubble: raise but fold to 3-bet
134 311 $1,060 9♦2♠ UTG1 29.7 multi N/A n/a bubble: easy fold with bad hand in early position
135 312 $1,060 7♣6♠ UTG 29.7 multi N/A n/a bubble: easy fold with bad hand in early position
136 313 $1,060 7♦3♠ BB 29.7 D 12.0 aggr. regular bubble: fold bad hand to raise
137 314 $1,060 Q♠7♣ SB 29.1 BB 22.6 ? bubble: BVB steal
138 315 $1,060 A♦7♠ D 29.8 multi N/A ? bubble: BSB steal against decent stacks, not short ones
139 316 $1,060 K♥9♥ CO 30.8 multi N/A ? bubble: steal from CO as bubble is very close
140 318 $1,060 3♣3♥ HJ 31.8 multi N/A ? bubble: 4th steal in a row with low pair
141 319 $1,060 6♦5♥ MP 32.8 multi N/A ? bubble: time out from stealing
142 320 $1,060 K♣5♥ MP 32.7 MP 8.9 ? bubble: fold to raise with bad hand
143 321 $1,060 Q♠T♥ UTG1 32.7 UTG 14.0 ? bubble: fold to larger raise
144 322 $1,060 T♥3♦ UTG 32.7 multi N/A ? bubble: easy fold with bad hand in early position
145 323 $1,060 Q♦T♠ BB 32.7 multi N/A aggr. regular bubble: all-in resteal vs. presumed button blind steal attempt
146 325 $1,060 K♦7♥ SB 46.3 BB 21.6 ? bubble: 4-bet all-in steal after sucking out on last hand
147 327 $1,060 T♥7♦ D 51.1 CO 15.4 ? bubble: fold to 4xBB raise
148 328 $1,060 Q♦2♦ CO 51.1 HJ 16.3 ? bubble: fold to min-raise with bad image
149 329 $1,060 Q♠T♠ HJ 51.1 D 26.3 ? A♣7♥3♥ bubble: c-bet with air
150 330 $1,060 K♣6♣ MP 40.0 multi N/A ? bubble: fold still trying to restore image
151 331 $1,060 Q♣4♣ MP 39.9 UTG 24.4 pro bubble: fold to UTG raise
152 332 $1,060 9♦3♦ UTG1 39.9 multi N/A ? bubble: early position steal attempt fails
153 333 $1,060 A♣T♥ UTG 38.7 multi N/A ? bubble: early position steal attempt succeeds
154 334 $1,060 Q♦8♣ BB 39.7 UTG 13.3 ? bubble: fold to UTG raise
155 335 $1,060 Q♣Q♠ SB 39.1 MP 5.9 tight bubble: 4-bet after min-raise and 3.5x reraise
156 336 $1,060 Q♥2♥ D 44.5 CO 8.8 ? bubble: fold to raise
157 337 $1,060 T♠2♣ CO 44.4 MP 21.9 pro bubble: fold bad hand to raise
158 338 $1,060 A♥2♥ HJ 44.4 SB 10.5 ? bubble: c-bet King-high flop
159 339 $1,060 7♥2♥ MP 46.4 multi N/A ? bubble: fold with bad hand
160 340 $1,060 Q♠5♦ MP 46.4 multi N/A ? bubble: fold with bad hand
161 341 $1,060 J♥3♥ UTG1 46.4 multi N/A ? bubble: fold with bad hand
162 342 $1,060 J♦5♥ UTG 46.4 multi N/A ? bubble: fold with bad hand
163 343 $1,060 J♥T♥ BB 46.3 none N/A ? bubble: walk
164 344 $1,060 A♦8♥ SB 46.8 CO 26.5 pro bubble: fold with decent hand but OOP vs. tough opponent
165 345 $1,060 K♣7♣ D 46.5 multi N/A ? bubble: BSB steal
166 346 $1,060 7♣3♠ CO 47.5 HJ 9.3 ? bubble: fold to min-raise
167 347 $1,060 Q♦T♦ HJ 47.4 MP 2.7 pro bubble: 3-bet in position
168 348 $1,060 8♣3♦ MP 49.4 UTG1 26.4 pro bubble: fold to raise with bad hand
169 349 $1,060 Q♦7♠ MP 49.4 UTG 27.3 pro bubble: fold to raise with bad hand
170 350 $1,060 8♦8♠ UTG1 49.4 BB 28.3 pro bubble: fold medium pair on flop with 3 connected overs
171 351 $1,060 3♣3♥ UTG 48.3 SB 30.8 pro bubble: c-bet with underpair
172 352 $1,060 J♠5♣ BB 50.4 SB 8.6 ? bubble: big blind steal vs. limped small blind
173 353 $1,060 6♥4♦ SB 40.9 CO 23.6 pro bubble: fold to raise with bad hand
174 354 $1,060 J♦8♦ D 40.6 multi N/A weak, tight bubble: BSB steal as bubble bursts
175 356 $320 J♦J♠ CO 100.0 multi N/A ? 7♥3♣2♥T♠ early: Jacks vs. UTG1 raise
176 361 $215 Q♥Q♣ MP 87.7 UTG 100.0 ? early: Queens vs. UTG 4-bet
177 363 $25 A♦K♥ MP 62.3 UTG 70.6 ? 7♦6♣3♣A♠8♦ early: big slick vs. UTG raise
178 368 $150 A♥K♦ BB 39.6 CO 74.8 ? K♠9♣6♥J♣ early: big slick vs. UTG limp and CO raise
179 371 $50 A♦T♥ BB 54.7 SB 30.7 ? Q♠J♣8♥K♥9♥ BVB with SB limp
180 374 $50 J♦T♦ UTG1 47.4 CO 172.9 ? K♠T♥9♦Q♥9♠ suited connectors in early position
181 379 $150 A♥K♣ CO 52.8 multi N/A ? big slick with raise and reraise in front
182 381 $200 A♦J♦ UTG 47.4 multi N/A weak A♣6♠4♦6♥T♣ top pair, 3rd kicker vs. blind limpers
183 385 $200 T♥T♣ CO 27.0 HJ 21.1 ? medium pair vs. possible HJ steal then D shoves
184 388 $320 K♣Q♦ HJ 30.9 CO 24.3 loose J♦4♦3♣K♦5♥ TPTK vs. possible flush
185 392 $320 Q♦Q♠ MP 19.2 UTG 24.3 ? A♣9♥7♠4♠ Queens vs. Ace on board
186 396 $650 J♦J♠ MP 29.8 SB 19.4 ? Jacks vs. pot-committing raise
187 398 $150 A♠Q♥ CO 46.4 D 11.5 ? AQo vs. all-in reraise
188 400 $650 Q♣Q♥ D 14.6 multi N/A ? K♠J♣7♠K♥ Queens vs. King on board and 2 opponents
189 404 $500 A♠A♣ SB 13.2 CO 22.9 ? Q♥T♠7♣ Aces vs. CO raise
190 407 $200 7♥7♠ MP 33.6 UTG1 25.3 ? Sevens vs. early raise
191 409 $25 A♥Q♥ UTG 11.1 SB 18.3 ? T♣8♠3♠J♥A♠ top pair on river
192 412 $100 J♠8♦ SB 11.9 BB 10.2 ? J♥T♦9♣ top pair and straight draw
193 415 $50 2♣2♦ BB 2.6 multi N/A ? short stack: small pair vs. raise and call
194 418 $150 A♦6♥ HJ 3.1 multi N/A ? short stack: shove or fold decision
Title Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1
Author Eric Lynch, Jon Van Fleet, and Jon Turner
Year 2008
Skill Level Advanced to Expert
Pros Lots of hands (423 pages worth), each presented with the thought process (and sometimes critique) of one or all three of the pros. A wide variety of tournament situations are covered.
Cons No overriding theme or continuity. It’s completely up to the reader to figure out what lessons to learn. Book isn’t nearly as long as its page count, as hand diagrams take up almost half of the space (this is just book one of a three-part series).
Rating 3.5 (4.0 with the above index)

Footnotes:

  1. Hands 131 to 174 were consecutively played as the table chip leader starting from 15 players away to the money bubble in a tourney with a mix of good players and satellite winners.
  2. If you want to sort or modify this table, make a copy of the Google Docs spreadsheet index for “Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1”, which has additional columns like table size. Like a lot of the tables in this blog, the HTML above was dynamically created by a column in the spreadsheet.
  3. The buyins for hands 21, 64, 65, 75, 84, and 88 are my best guesses as they are not given in the book. While a larger buyin usually means higher skilled players, some of the tournaments had weaker fields from players who had satellited in from smaller events.
  4. Pos = Position (SB = small blind, BB = big blind, UTG = under the gun, UTG1 = under the gun plus one, MP = middle position, HJ = hijack, CO = cutoff, and D = dealer button).

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Basic Player Reading – The Next Step

[FF] Deb the Duchess was being anti-social, tapping away at a Texas Hold ‘Em game1 on her iPhone when Figaro the Fish and Nate the Natural approached. “Haven’t you beaten that game yet?” Figaro interrupted.

[DD] “I’m on the second to last tournament, the National Championship on the top difficulty”, Deb responded. “It’s going to be a long time before computers can beat the pros, but they’re still challenging to me.”

[NN] “Don’t be fooled. Computers will be better than the pros at Hold ‘Em sooner than you think. If IBM can conquer Jeopardy! with Watson by building a large enough information database and crafting a smart enough language parser, other programmers can certainly keep improving their Hold ‘Em algorithms until they outclass even the top poker pros. Paraphrasing The Simpsons,2 Ken Jennings conceded on his Final Jeopardy answer screen, ‘I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.'”

[DD] “How soon do you think that’s going to happen?”

[NN] “I think Black Friday set the timetable back a couple years, since the breakthroughs will probably come outside the U.S. now, but certainly within a decade.”

[NN] “Computers can do the math perfectly. They can calculate odds almost instantaneously with massive lookup tables and powerful processors. They can analyze your hand history to see how you play. All that’s really left are a few advancements in the algorithms that decide what to do with all this information. It essentially comes down to hand reading, and I don’t mean palmistry.”

[DD] “That’s what separates the pros from the amateurs.”

[NN] “The reason hand reading is so daunting to most humans is that there’s so much to keep track of on just a single hand, let alone over a session of hands with the same players. Computers don’t have the slightest problem with it. Which is why most good online players use HUDs (heads-up displays).”

[NN] “To put your opponent on a hand range even before the flop, you need to take into account his stack size; the blinds and antes; his position; the action ahead of him, including who bet what from where; the amount he called, bet, or raised; how he’s been playing recently; and his playing style, which alone can be broken down into dozens of smaller areas; and more.”

[FF] “But how am I supposed to keep track of all that?”

[NN] “To start as simply as possible, the most important element is a player’s style. In a home game, you’ll get to know the regulars quite well without even trying. You two certainly know how I play, and I know how you play. In an unfamiliar ring game or any larger tournament, you’ll have no history with your opponents, but every hand adds to your database of information about them.

  • How many hands do they play (i.e., are they loose or tight preflop)?
  • How often do they 3-bet? 4-bet? 5-bet? (i.e., how tight a range does each of those represent)?
  • Do they correctly value position (e.g., do they play many more hands in late position than early and can you discount their bets in position vs. out of position)?
  • Do they tend to call or raise (i.e., are they too passive or too aggressive)?
  • Do they bluff too often or too infrequently (i.e., can you discount the strength of their bets or should you take them as real)?
  • Do they call too much or can you bluff them out of pots (i.e., should you value bet them or steal from them)?
  • Can they make big folds? (i.e., should you try to make a big river bluff or all-in bluff)?
  • Do they like to chase draws? (i.e., should you charge them more for their draws and/or not try to bluff if you think they have a draw)?
  • Will they bet if they have just a draw (i.e., could your third pair be the best hand despite their bet)?
  • Do they tend to underbet the turn and river (i.e., will you get a good price to hunt for your draws)?
  • Do they overbet the flop when the board is scary (e.g., can you put them on a hand like top pair or an overpair)?
  • Do they adjust to their opponents (i.e., do you need to take into account what they think of your style)?
  • Is their style static or can it change (i.e., once you’ve figured out how they’re playing, can you count on that always)?”
  • Do they play differently when they’re shortstacked? (e.g., can you devalue a shove from them once they’re short enough on chips)?”
  • Do they like to steal the blinds from the button? The cutoff? The hijack? (e.g., can you devalue all of those raises)?
  • How often do they check-raise, if at all? (e.g., if they check to you, can you bluff knowing that you won’t get raised)?”

[FF] “Yikes!”

[NN] “If the event is a tournament, a few more questions are relevant:

  • Are they very afraid of busting out? And do they have any rebuys left if it’s a rebuy tournament?
  • Does their style change as the blinds go up?
  • Are they happy just to cash or are they trying to win it all?
  • Do they play more tightly near a bubble or will they attack if their stack is healthy?”

[FF] “My head is spinning.”

[NN] “I know it’s overwhelming at first, so start by just watching the player on your immediate left or right or the most active player at the table, and note only a few of those pieces of information. As you get comfortable, add more information and more players. You can do it. You just have to try.”

Footnotes:

  1. See “A New Game in Town – THETA Poker Pro”.
  2. You can watch the segment from the “Deep Space Homer” episode.
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Hand Groups Formula, Part 2

[YY] Having finished his homework1, Yuri the Young Gun has reconvened with Benny and Joey, “Okay, I got it. For convenience, here’s the full-table formula again.

  • If your hole cards are paired:
    • Aces through Tens are Hand Group 1; Nines through Sixes are 11 minus the denomination (i.e., Group 2 through 5), and Fives and lower are Hand Group 6. [As a list, AA-TT:1, 99:2, 88:3, 77:4, 66:5, 55-22:6.]
  • If your hole cards are unpaired:
    1. If your higher card is an Ace, start with 1, King is 3, Queen is 4, Jack is 5, and otherwise 11 minus half the denomination rounded up; e.g., a Seven is 7 (11 – 4). [As a list, A:1, K:3, Q:4, J:5, T:6, 9:6, 8:7, 7:7, 6:8, 5:8, 4:9, 3:9.]
    2. Add 1 if the gap is 1; add 2 if the gap is 2; add 4 if the gap is 3; and add 5 if the gap is bigger (e.g., for QJ add nothing, for J9 add 1, for 74 add 2, for J7 add 4, and for A2 [gap of 11] add 5).
    3. Subtract 1 if the gap is 0 or 1 and the higher card is a Jack or lower.
    4. Subtract 2 if your cards are suited. Anything under 1 is Hand Group 1, while anything over 10 is Hand Group 10.”

[YY] “Joey, compared to full table play, how do you think values should change when you’re heads up?”

[JJ] “What do you mean?” queried Joey.

[YY] “Each set of hole cards has three basic features: high card strength, connectedness, and suitedness. Which of these is worth more and which is worth less with fewer opponents?”

[JJ] “Well, my dad says that you want to play your suited connectors against more opponents so that you can get paid off when you hit. That means that being suited and connected (other than pairs) are worth less heads up.”

[YY] “Excellent! You’re really picking up this game quickly. On the flip side then, pairs and high cards are worth more, since they’ll hold up more often against just a single opponent. Those adjustments lead to the following formula for Heads-Up Hand Groups.”

  • If your hole cards are paired:
    • Aces through Sixes are Hand Group 1; Fives and lower are 7 minus the denomination (i.e., Group 2 through 5). [As a list, AA-66:1, 55:2, 44:3, 33:4, 22:5.]
  • If your hole cards are unpaired:
    1. If your higher card is an Ace, start with -1, King is 1, Queen is 2, Jack is 4, Ten is 6, and otherwise 12 minus half the denomination rounded up; e.g., a Seven is 8 (12 – 4). [As a list, A:-1, K:1, Q:2, J:4, T:6, 9:7, 8:8, 7:8, 6:9, 5:9, 4:10, 3:10.]
    2. Add 1 if the gap is 2; add 2 if the gap is 3; and add 4 if the gap is bigger (e.g., for QJ or J9 add nothing, for 74 add 1, for J7 add 2, and for A2 [gap of 11] add 4).
    3. Subtract 1 if your cards are suited. Anything under 1 is Hand Group 1, while anything over 10 is Hand Group 10.”

[BB] “That sounds very close to the full table formula, but with most of the numbers changed.”

[YY] “Yes, I think that might make it hard to remember those two formulas separately. So instead, I present you the combined formula.”

Hand Groups Formula for Any Size Table2

  • Paired Hole Cards
    • Aces through Tens: Hand Group 1.
    • Nines and Lower: Start with half the table size rounded up. Add 6. Subtract the denomination. Anything under 1 is Hand Group 1; anything over 6 is Hand Group 6.
  • Unpaired Hole Cards: For the purposes of this formula, table sizes are 8-10 players (big), 5-7 players (medium), and 2-4 players (small).
    1. Higher Card Score:
      • Aces through Tens: Start with 1 for an Ace and 16 minus the demonimation otherwise. For Aces through Queens, subtract 1 (medium) or 2 (small). For Jacks, subtract 1 (medium and small). [As a list, A:1/0/-1, K:3/2/1, Q:4/3/2, J:5/4/4, T:6.]
      • Nines and Lower: Start with 12 (big) or 13 (medium and small). Subtract half the denomination rounded up.
    2. Gap Adjustment:
      • Gap of 1: Add 1 (big and medium).
      • Gap of 2: Add 2 (big and medium) or 1 (small).
      • Gap of 3: Add 4 (big and medium) or 2 (small).
      • Gap of 4+: Add 5 (big and medium) or 3 (small).
    3. Gap Readjustment: Subtract 1 (big and medium) if the gap is 0 or 1 and the higher card is a Jack or lower.
    4. Suited Adjustment: Subtract 2 (big and medium) or 1 (small) if your cards are suited.
    5. Anything under 1 is Hand Group 1; anything over 10 is Hand Group 10.”

[YY] “Some examples to help you learn this:

  • 9♠9♥ with 8 players (big): 8 / 2 = 4 + 6 – 9 = Hand Group 1.
  • 7♦7♣ with 5 players (medium): 5 / 2 = 3 + 6 – 7 = Hand Group 2.
  • 3♥3♦ with 4 players (small): 4 / 2 = 2 + 6 – 3 = Hand Group 5.
  • A♣K♣, 8 players (big): 1 (higher card) + 0 (gap adjustment) – 0 (gap readjustment) – 2 (suited adjustment) = -1 = Hand Group 1.
  • A♥Q♠, 6 players (medium): 0 (higher card) + 1 (gap adjustment) – 0 (gap readjustment) – 0 (suited adjustment) = Hand Group 1.
  • A♣10♦, 2 players (small): -1 (higher card) + 2 (gap adjustment) – 0 (gap readjustment) – 0 (suited adjustment) = Hand Group 1.
  • J♥10♥, 8 players (big): 5 (higher card) + 0 (gap adjustment) – 1 (gap readjustment) – 2 (suited adjustment) = Hand Group 2.
  • 10♠8♠, 2 players (small): 6 (higher card) + 0 (gap adjustment) – 0 (gap readjustment) – 1 (suited adjustment) = Hand Group 5.
  • 9♦4♥, 9 players (big): 12 – 5 (higher card) + 5 (gap adjustment) – 0 (gap readjustment) – 0 (suited adjustment) = 12 = Hand Group 10.
  • 7♥5♠, 5 players (medium): 13 – 4 (higher card) + 1 (gap adjustment) – 1 (gap readjustment) – 0 (suited adjustment) = Hand Group 9.
  • 7♣2♦, 2 players (small): 13 – 4 (higher card) + 3 (gap adjustment) – 0 (gap readjustment) – 0 (suited adjustment) = 12 = Hand Group 10.

[YY] “Class dismissed.”3

Concise Hand Groups Formula for Any Size Table

  • Paired Hole Cards
    • AA-TT: 1
    • 99-22: T/2 + 6 – D (max of 6)
  • Unpaired Hole Cards
    1. Higher Card Score:
      • A-T: 16 – D [-1 for A] [-1 for A/K/Q medium] [-2 for A/K/Q small] [-1 for J medium/small]
      • 9-3: 12 – D/2 [+1 medium/small]
    2. Gap Adjustment:
      • 1: +1 big/medium
      • 2: +2 big/medium, +1 small
      • 3: +4 big/medium, +2 small
      • 4+: +5 big/medium, +3 small
    3. Gap Readjustment: -1 big/medium if gap <= 1 and higher card <= J
    4. Suited Adjustment: -2 big/medium, -1 small

T = Table Size (number of players at table); 8-10 (big), 5-7 (medium), and 2-4 (small)

D = Denomination (A = 14, K = 13, Q = 12, J = 11)

Footnotes:

  1. Sunday’s blog post was about Pre-Flop Hand Groups, and Tuesday’s was the Hand Groups Formula for full tables.
  2. I’d like to call this the Chen-Jen Hand Groups Formula for Any Table Size, but if Bill would like his name taken off, no offense will be taken. I just liked the rhyme.
  3. Behind the scenes note: THETA Poker Pro of course has no problems memorizing 169 values, so it uses one static lookup table for 10-player tables and another for heads-up. For all table sizes in between, it just takes the weighted average of the two values (e.g., the 5-player value is 3/8 of the 10-player value plus 5/8 of the heads-up value).
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