Preflop Opening Ranges

In these scenarios no one has raised yet, that is why the are called opening ranges. You open the pot by raising the Big Blind. If you open the pot by calling the Big Blind, it is called limping. We never limp ourselves when no one has entered the pot (this is considered an amateur move by almost all serious players). We either raise or fold.

 Exceptions can be made if other players have limped before you. Then you might want to limp behind with speculative hands (hands that are not good, but can hit a flop well) like for example lower pocket pairs or lower suited connectors. You might want to do this when the circumstances are right, for example several have limped before you and it is unlikely that anyone after you will make a big raise.

Betting when no one has yet attacked the blinds is called opening raising or RFI (Raising First In). When someone has entered the pot by limping they are usually a very weak player that we like to play against. At the same time they are also likely to be a calling station (calling too much) so it can be tough to bluff against them. As a starting point you raise to 3 Big Blinds + 1 Big Blind per limper. So if two players have limped you raise to 5 Big Blinds. 

As a starting point when you are in position you can raise with the range from the position before. So when you are in the BTN you raise with the CO range. When you are in the blinds (out of position) you can raise with the UTG range. This is a conservative approach and when you are comfortable with attacking limpers you can profitably add more hands to your ranges. Especially when you have information about their tendencies and weaknesses they can be very profitable to play against. For example some limpers will almost always fold to a continuation bet (a follow-up bet from player who raised preflop) on the flop when they miss (fit or fold players). Some limpers will rarely fold when they have some kind of hand (calling stations).


We recommend a fairly tight opening range from Button as the default. But this assumes reasonably competent players in the blinds who will fight back a lot. If the blinds are folding too much you can expand your range quite a bit. In this case you will often get the blinds without fight and when they do fight back you will always be in position.


We recommend using the same opening range in Small Blind as on the Button as default. The reason for this is that we will always be out of position. However, if the Big Blind is a weak player with a tendency to fold too much we can open with a much wider range.