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Study Help - Adjusting Ranges for RFIs >3bb

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  • Study Help - Adjusting Ranges for RFIs >3bb

    In my usual cash games there are a growing number of villains whose standard RFI raise sizes are >3bbs.

    I know we need to tighten up our calling/raising range when facing these RFIs. I don't know how to approach this from a mathematical point of view when studying away from the tables so that I'm prepared when I'm actually playing.

    Here is a range for a CO v LJ scenario:

    If this is how I choose to play in a deepstacked cash game versus an RFI of 3bb, how would I go about tightening this up if the RFI was instead 4bb? We have no reads at all on villain and so assume they are balanced and so we are not looking to exploit.

    We believe the villain's RFI range will be along the lines of:

    Hopefully that makes and isn't just a lot of waffle.

    I'm not looking for someone to actually show me what the range should be (although please feel free), just explanation of how I can set about working on it myself.


  • #2
    In most low stakes live cash games the RFI size is always more than 3x the bb. Im not advocating that this is correct, it's just the way live players play.

    I play mostly $2/5 and sometimes $2/5 with a $10-$25 BTN straddle and the RFI from most is 4x +.

    In general the large the raise, the tighter you should play due to the fact the large raises drastically cuts down on your implied odds.

    Your range in certain situations depends greatly on the stack sizes and the odds you are getting. You say deepstack, but deepstack means different things in cash and tournaments. In a tournament 100bb is a deep stack. In cash, this is pretty much a standard starting stack. IMO 150-200bb+ is more of a deepstack in a cash game.

    Post an example with the game your playing ($1/3, $2/5) raise size (4x, 5x, 6x) and stack size (100bb, 150bb, etc) and I would be happy to break it down and show the differences. All of these factors affect the ranges greatly.
    Last edited by JredA; 08-09-2019, 07:50 AM.


    • #3
      Playing low stakes cash I have fewer 3-bet bluffs in my range. When I do they are weighted towards middling suited connectors 78s 89s 9Ts TJs
      Using your range I would most likely remove A2s - A4s and just call with those IP if I most often expect the players behind me to call or fold.
      If I have a player behind that's really getting after it they aren't in my range. I also don't think we have to be perfectly balanced in 1/2. I play a
      mostly exploitative style with some balance.

      That said I can't relate to those opening bet sizes. On the US East Coast (at least) in 1/2 most standard opens are between 4.5x and 6x+

      We have crowded rooms where I play. So we also get knuckleheads (that think they are pros) sit in at 1/2 waiting for a 2/5 to open up. Typically
      they like to open for 6x - 8.5x. That's when I use my seat change coin and saddle up to their left first chance I get.

      I like my range to look something like this -

      Note that I bet more pairs for value in cash. That's because I feel like from the CO if I call with TT or JJ we are almost certainly going 5
      handed and those hands are to strong to be basically set mining (in splashy games). I want to get HU IP.

      I don't play cash very much at all so this can be a good learning opportunity for me too....


      • LondonImp
        LondonImp commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for taking the time to respond mate. I was trying to focus more on how we would approach adjusting our raise based on varying RFI sizes, not whether or not the initial starting range was correct - sorry that wasn't clear. I'd lifted one of Mr Little's ranges to try and avoid that too!

        I am in agreement with you regarding A4s-A2s, they're the first to go from my range against opponents I feel are opening quite a snug range.

    • #4

      I should've been more specific. By deep-stacked I was referring to ~200bb+.

      The stakes I play are normally £0.05/£0.10 so naturally there is going to be massive holes in all parts of my opponents' games, including their RFI ranges. That's why I wanted to discuss it from more of a theoretical perspective and specifically focus on the the effect of the RFI size. Making adjustments based on my opponents other "mistakes" is something I am more comfortable with (opening too wide, too tight etc)

      So using the example in my original post, if this is how we would act facing a 3bb RFI:

      How should this change facing a 6bb RFI?

      My initial thoughts are that because we are so deep we are still getting great implied odds to set-mine and I wouldn't really want to drop my mid-low pocket pairs (except maybe 44). The hands we'd need to watch out for would be our reverse implied hands, we'd getting better odds on further streets and could be likely therefore to lose a bigger pot. Looking at the range though I am not sure which ones (if any) really fit this category. KTs/QTs perhaps?


      • #5
        I am going to break this down into a few posts because there is a lot that can be said about this topic.

        First, let's look at this question from a basic mathematical point of view, since that is what you were asking to begin with.

        I hate math, but it's important to understand in poker. You mention that the larger the raise is by the opener, the tighter we should be, but why is that?

        3BB OPEN

        When we face a 3bb raise from the LJ we have to call 3bb with an opportunity to win 7.5bb (our 3bb + raiser's 3bb + .5sb and 1bb).

        So from an equity standpoint we need the hands that we call with to be getting at least 40% equity (3/7.5).

        Since we want to avoid -EV decisions in poker, ideally, the bottom hands in our calling range should be +EV against the opener's range meaning getting more than 40% equity against their range.

        In the example you provide above (a LJ open), let's assume the LJ is an unknown and we assign an opening range around 16%.

        *It's important to keep in mind that the reads we develop on our opponents can sway the percentage of opening hands we assign them. So if he is a nit, even though he is in the LJ, he is probably opening less than 16% which means we should tighten our range as well. We don't just auto-play the ranges we study. It's important to consider all the variables.

        Here is a somewhat standard 16% opening range.

        Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 12.43.07 PM.png Views:	0 Size:	933.4 KB ID:	22233
        So when we look at the bottom of your calling range in the OP you provided we see a hand like T9s.

        Let's plug T9s into an equity calculator and see how it does against the 16% opening range:

        Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 12.48.11 PM.png Views:	0 Size:	952.8 KB ID:	22234
        We are right at the 40% equity threshold. Meaning we are making a slight +EV play.

        Now it's important to keep in mind this does not have to be exact when developing ranges because there are so many factors that can change the percentages, things such as:

        - The opener's actual range.

        They may be opening 20% sometimes and 14% another from the same position. They might not even know their range in specific spots. It's impossible to know exactly what their opening range is.

        They may have 16% of hands but the equity you have depends on the makeup of their range. So you may have 38% against one villains 16% of opens, and 40% against another.

        - Players left to act.

        The more players left to act, the better the chance is they either come along and make the odds better for us by adding money to the pot or they may raise putting us into another decision.


        How much money is taken out of the pot.

        And several others. So when you plug a hand like 89s, which is also in your calling range in the OP, and it falls just barely short, it's not the end of the world because of all the variables.

        This discussion, just like opening and calling charts, is simply a guideline and being within a few % points is fine. The main goal is it helps us develop ranges from a mathematical standpoint and this will help to prove the "why" behind playing tighter against larger raises.


        Let's take the same opening range...16%, but now make it a 6bb open.

        So now we need to call 6bb to win 13.5bb (our 6bb + raiser's 6bb + .5sb + 1bb).

        6/13.5 = 44% equity

        Now we need 4% MORE equity for the bottom of our calling range to avoid calling in a -EV spot.

        So a hand like 9Ts which was getting 40% equity is now on the negative side. And a hand like KJs which was getting plenty of equity before, is now right on the cusp.


        Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2019-08-09 at 12.55.31 PM.png Views:	0 Size:	961.1 KB ID:	22235

        So playing tighter against larger raise sizes is often correct and now you know why.

        It's also important to keep in mind this discussion is in relation to cash games. Wider ranges apply for tournaments when antes are involved as they give us even better odds to play.

        Another very important thing to understand is that this is just raw equity. Rarely do we get to realize all of our raw equity against a range (unless we are all in pre). So there is more to it than just comparing our hand to their range.

        Things such as position, player skill level, a hands playability etc should all be taken into account to help determine how much of your equity you can realize in a given hand. This is also why these charts that are all over the various poker online resources are should not be taken as gospel and only used as a guideline.

        Hopefully this shows you why (mathematically speaking), when you are faced with larger opening sizes it is often correct to play a little tighter.

        Next post I will show a few shortcuts you can use in game to help with close decisions whether to play a hand or not in your range against these larger openings.
        Last edited by JredA; 08-09-2019, 03:04 PM.


        • reeeeeeper
          reeeeeeper commented
          Editing a comment
          Great post, looking forward to seeing where this goes. I just wanted to make one small comment...

          > The more players left to act, the better the chance is they either come along and make the odds better for us by adding money to the pot or they may raise putting us into another decision.

          I think the latter part is a much bigger factor, that someone behind us will wake up with a hand or make a play and deny us the raw equity we're calculating. The extra pot odds are generally not legitimate as they're negated by the reduced equity from having more players/hands to beat.