Poker tutorial 1.6: knowing your opponent’s handrange


In this poker guide we will discuss the importance of knowing your opponent’s handrange. If you have a decent estimation of what your opponent may be holding you can estimate your chances of winning the hand.

Preflop handrange

Preflop handranges (as you can see in the table above) of players are very important to determine if you call, raise or fold. The table above gives a quick insight in the preflop winrates of certain handranges considering one opponent. In general you estimate your opponent’s handranges based on the position he is playing and how often he played a hand in the past.

Postflop equity based on your opponent’s handrange

Estimating your chances post flop while taking into account your opponents hand ranges is a bit harder, because you need to assume some flops.

We will work with the following hand ranges:

5% your opponent is a tight player who raised from early position with 9 players behind, or from late position he may have reraised or rereraised. The top 5% of hands are: 88+,AJs+,KQs,AKo

15% your opponent may have called a preflop raise, or may have raised himself from middle position

The top15% of hands are: 77+,A7s+,K9s+,QTs+,JTs,ATo+,KTo+,QJo

25% your opponent called from late position

The top25% of hands are: 66+,A2s+,K6s+,Q8s+,J8s+,T8s+,A7o+,K9o+,QTo+,JTo

We will assume that you go to the flop with one opponent.

Postflop chances versus your opponents handrange

In the table below you can see the chances vs handranges on certain flops.

1.Do note that top pair is a good hand, but the kicker could make a difference between having 70% chance of winning or only 57%.

2.Do note that having an overpair doesn’t always mean that you are favorite in the hand. AA could have 84%, while TT only has 46,6% as an overpair. This is because of the assumption that your opponent is playing the top5% of hands. So if your opponent showed a lot of preflop aggression your TT overpair may not be any good. Also note that almost all overcards are potential outs for your opponent in this situation.

3.Second pair is in general not the type of hand to overplay, only 30- to 60% chance of winning the hand depending on the hight of the card, the kicker and your opponents handrange.

4.Third pair or even 2 overcards are on average even worse then second pair giving you chances of: 24- to 57%.

Chances of your opponent having a draw on a draw-heavy board

Below is a table of chances of AA on a flop with a potential flushdraw and a potential straightdraw.

1.The chance of your opponent having the flushdraw is only 6,5%

2.The chance of your opponent having any type of straightdraw (except backdoor straightdraws) is 60%

3.The chance of an already made straight or set is 7,9% on this flop

4.Do note that there is 30 to 40% chance of loosing this hand if you are holding an overpair.

5.On other straight- heavy boards the chances  of your opponent having the straightdraw are a bit smaller: only 29,7% on a board of 598. That is a very large difference with the T97 board.

A paired board

In case of a paired board with aces the chances are as follows while you are holding KQ ofsuit:

  1. Do note that the king high is actually no good in the case your opponent plays 5% or even 25% of the hands.
  2. The chances of having a set on this AA8 board (without taking into account the 2 more cards to come) are actually 28% and there is even 7% chance of having an already made full house. Do note that these chances are only the case with tight handranges of 5%. In the case of handranges of 25% the chances are smaller.
  3. If you are playing heads up with your opponents handrange of 70% the chances of your opponent having three of a kind or a full house is only 12,1% on this type of flop. Your opponents handrange makes all the difference in the choice you make on a AAx board.


To summarize:

1.It is important to know your chances on the flop and adapt your way of playing after seeing the flop. Knowing your opponent’s handranges is very important as well. Usually it is highly dependent on the amount of players at the table, your opponents position and the preflop action.

2.The chances of your opponent to win against your overpair may be larger then you expect, especially on certain boards.

3.On flops without any draws you can assume your top pair top kicker to be good. Be aware thought that the chances could be much lower if you are having a poor kicker.

4.Second pair and bottom pair are occasionally good, but should be played with small pots.

5.When you see a flop with a high pair, for instance AAx, your opponents handrange is very important in finding out your chances. If your opponent is playing any random hand (~70%) he has only 12% of having three of a kind or better. If you put your opponent on playing the top5% of hands, because of preflop action at the 9-player table, you can assume your highcard king to be worthless.


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