Preflop range charts
In Texas Hold’em, understanding preflop play is crucial. Preflop range charts provide a solid foundation by outlining recommended actions (fold, call, or raise) based on your hole cards and position at the table.
Nowadays (2023) almost all preflop range charts are based on GTO (Game Theory Optimal) ranges. This means that they are optimal in the sense that there is nothing your opponents can do to exploit you. Sometimes you want to deviate from the default recommendation to punish opponents who are not playing with optimal (GTO) ranges, but that is mostly for advanced players. In general, players that are significantly better than their opponents can play more hands profitably, but that is also a consideration for advanced players.
To use a chart, begin with finding a chart that is suited for the situation you are in. For example, if you play cash games with 100 bb stacks, you select a preflop range chart for that situation. If you are in an MTT and stack depths are 20 bb, you select a chart for that situation.
When you have a solid collection of range charts for your situation you look up the specific scenario you want to learn. All preflop ranges in Poker Trainer can be explored in the Range Viewer. For example, if you want to see how to play when you are in the button and face a 3-bet from the big blind you would select that scenario to find the correct chart.
Here is an example of a preflop range chart:
It shows what your default action should be based on your hole cards. The pocket pairs are shown in the diagonal from upper left corner to lower right corner. Below that diagonal you have the offsuit hands and above it you have the suited hands. For example:
- – fold (see A2o)
- – fold (see A3o)
- – fold (see J4s)
It is challenging to memorize all the different charts just by looking at them. It is also hard to know if your memory is correct. We strongly recommend practicing preflop ranges in the preflop exercise to help you commit them to memory and get feedback on mistakes.