Preflop Calling Ranges

These ranges are intended for situations when one player has made a raise before you. Before we go into these ranges, let’s consider the scenario where another player has called the raise in front of you. 

This gives you the possibility to call with a wider range. Especially hands that are speculative can be added (lower pairs and lower suited connectors primarily). To assess if this is a good idea you need to take into account the risk that someone after you will make a significant raise, which might force you to fold. 

Another player calling before you also gives you the option to squeeze. This means putting in a significant raise (usually around 4 times the size of the original raise) against an original raiser and one or more callers. The squeeze make it difficult for the original raiser to continue without a strong hand since he is facing two opponents. And since the second player only called the original raise, there is a decent chance he will fold directly. 

The squeeze play is especially attractive in the Big Blind if the button or CO has raised and the Small Blind has called (not recommended). Then you are likely facing wide ranges and you are in position versus the Small Blind.

Call MP vs UTG

We don’t have a default calling range in MP vs the UTG raiser. There are several players left to act after us and we might become out of position versus a raiser.

Call CO vs UTG

We don’t have a default calling range in CO vs the UTG raiser. There are several players left to act after us and we might become out of position versus a raiser.

Call BTN vs UTG
Call SB vs UTG

We don’t have a default calling range in SB vs the UTG raiser. If the Big Blind raises we will be out of position and our range will be seen as relatively weak. As you will see when we go through the rest of the positions, we don’t have a default calling range in SB in any scenario.

Call BB vs UTG
Call CO vs MP

We don’t have a default calling range in CO vs the MP raiser. There are several players left to act after us and we might become out of position versus a raiser.

Call BTN vs MP
Call SB vs MP

We don’t have a default calling range in SB vs the MP raiser. If the Big Blind raises we will be out of position and our range will be seen as relatively weak. As you will see when we go through the rest of the positions, we don’t have a default calling range in SB in any scenario.

Call BB vs MP
Call BTN vs CO
Call SB vs CO
Call BB vs CO
Call SB vs BTN

We don’t have a default calling range in SB vs the BTN raiser. If the Big Blind raises we will be out of position and our range will be seen as relatively weak. As you will see when we go through the rest of the positions, we don’t have a default calling range in SB in any scenario.

Call BB vs BTN
Call BB vs SB

As you can see, we are defending with a very wide range in the Big Blind versus the Small Blind. We call with 44% of all hands and we 3-bet with 5% (as you will see later). This means we are fighting back the Small Blind with half of our hands (which is a lot more than what many players are doing). We know the Small Blind is on fairly wide range and we will be in position, which makes it profitable for us to fight back with many hands. In general, it is very important to actively defend the Big Blind, if we just fold and give up all the time, the blinds will become very expensive. 

For some players the loss rate in the blinds are what is holding them back from becoming really strong winners. You will however always be losing in the blinds over a large sample, so that in itself is normal. But you need to be very active in minimizing your losses. A reason you can call quite a lot in the Big Blind even when you are out of position is that you usually get good pot odds. 

 For example, if you are facing one opponent in MP who has raised to 2.5 Big Blinds there will be 4 Big Blinds in the pot and you only need to pay 1.5 Big Blinds to see the flop. That’s better than 2.5 to 1 in odds (see odds exercise for more information and exercises with odds), which means you only have to win 29% of the hands to break-even (assuming wins and losses are of the same size).