(Watch at 720p and enjoy the transcript below)
Today’s question come from Ron K, and Ron actually asked a 3-part question and this is going to be part 1. Ron says “I think a good idea for a video is ‘Adjusting Ranges’ depending on the players around you and their stack sizes. That being said, what types of hands should we play when there are fish in the blinds?”
That’s a great question and there are really 3 kinds of situations where this will happen:
1. When we’re in early or middle position and there’s a fish in the blinds
2. When we’re stealing and there’s a fish in the blinds
3. Specifically when we’re in the small blind and there’s a fish in the big blind
Those are kind of the 3 main situations where this will happen. Now if we’re in the situation where we’re in early or middle position and there’s a fish in the blind, as a default I’m going to use my typical raising range. I’m usually not going to change it too much because from early position specifically it’s usually going to be pretty strong-sided-weighted. From middle position obviously it’s going to be a bit more variable. Just remember that in these situations, its usually not just you and the fish…there are other players between you and that person. You also need to consider them. Are they 3-betting? Are they also fishy? Are they nitty and just going to get out of your way a large chunk of the time? Keep those kinds of things in mind as well.
Now when I’m raising from say, early position, and there’s a fish in the blinds…as a default I’m going to use my typical raising range. My default opening range from that position. That’s usually going to be pretty strong side-weighted and I’m going to be comfortable with that. But if it’s a situation where I can raise from there and I think I can get heads up from that fish a large chunk of the time, then I’m actually going to open up the value part of my raising range from that position.
Say as a default my raising range from early position consisted of AJ and KQ, well if there’s a situation where I think I can get the fish heads up to myself, then, and remember we’re going to have position on them because they are in the blind, then that’s a situation where I may widen it up to include AT and KJ and maybe even a QJs.
In saying that, we also want to be very cognizant of stack sizes. Ron did mention that in the original question which is great. The shorter their stack size, the less I really want to be changing my range all that much and usually the stronger I want to keep it against that shorter stack size. Against smaller stack sizes there’s not as much maneuverability, there’s less flexibility post-flop, and less implied odds as well. So I want to choose hands that are going to perform well in a smaller SPR pot if they do have a shorter stack size.
Now when I’m in later position and I’m dealing with a fish in the blind, I’m usually still going to be stealing relatively wide. But I’m not going to be stealing total trash like 84o or T7s. Those kinds of hands just aren’t going to perform particularly well. Remember, fish are going to call you more preflop so you’re going to have to see flops, and do I want to see that with total trash hands that hit like garbage? No, that’s not really going to be very profitable for us. So in those situations, I am still going to be stealing, but I’m not going to be stealing 70% of the time. I’m probably going to tighten that up to maybe my top 30% of hands, top 25% of hands, something in that range. I’m going to go totally nuts in a situation like that and again that’s stealing from later position when there’s a fish in the blinds.
If I’m in the small blind specifically, and there’s a fish in the big blind then that’s going to be a little bit different because post-flop they’re going to have position on us, so I may even tighten up that stealing range just a pinch more because I cant expect those folds pre-flop, I don’t really know if I can get those folds on the flop with a continuation bet or any sort of double or triple barrel and again do I really want to find myself in that situation with some really tough hands? Even a hand like T7o is going to be incredibly difficult to play when you’re out of position. You know you’re going to go out of position post-flop a large chunk of the time, so as always, plan ahead, think about how that fish is likely to react to your steal, thinking about how post-flop is going to work out for you, how your hand is realistically going to perform and how you can make profit in those situations.