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NL Hold’em Starting Hand Charts

One aspect of the game of No-Limit Hold’em that causes beginning players much grief is deciding which hands to play and which hands to dump. NL Hold’em is much more difficult than Limit Hold’em because the value of a hand depends on so many factors other than just the cards in your hand. Despite this difficulty, our coaches believe that following some general guidelines and adjusting from these is a better solution than having no guidelines at all. Given that well over half of your profitability in NL Hold’em is based on hand selection alone, we have developed these charts to help you better determine whether to play or fold.

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There are no perfect No-Limit starting hand charts. That is because there are many factors that affect your decision, and charts cannot account for all of them. Some of these include:

  1. The size of your opponent's stacks.
  2. How loose or tight, passive or aggressive, your opponents are.
  3. Where these opponents are located at the table – for example, does an aggressive player still have to act after you?
  4. Your image at the table – for example, how tight or tricky you are perceived.

That being said, these charts will serve you well in most typical low-stakes No-Limit cash games, such as games with blinds of $1/$2, and home games. These games typically have several loose players at the table, and good opportunities for winning big pots with suited connectors and pocket pairs. With practice, you will be able to be a consistently winning player with these charts as a starting point. As you improve, you'll find yourself making adjustments to these charts based on the factors listed above, and more.

  • A bet after the flop by a player who did not take the lead in betting before the flop (and when the player that did take the lead in betting before the flop declined to act). Compare with continuation bet prop, proposition player A player who gets paid an hourly rate to start poker games or to help them stay active.
  • AGAIN: These charts are a good starting point for beginners. Specifically, Chart #1 recommends a significant amount of limping. This is great in loose, passive games but less often seen in tougher games. You’ll find other training material on Advanced Poker Training that may recommend a more aggressive approach for more experienced players.

AGAIN: These charts are a good starting point for beginners. Specifically, Chart #1 recommends a significant amount of limping. This is great in loose, passive games but less often seen in tougher games. You’ll find other training material on Advanced Poker Training that may recommend a more aggressive approach for more experienced players.

The 4-bet size he recommends is circled at the bottom: 2.6-2.8x when out of position and 2.2x when in position. Note that the Mastersheet sizes and ranges assume there are antes. Nick recommends using these sizes when deep (60BB or more). Once your stack approaches 50BB, his preferred 4. 200% Texas Poker Odds Chart Deposit Bonus. The good old 200% deposit bonus. This is a well-preferred bonus among players as it will give you twice the amount you deposited, and a lot of the times you will not be faced with too high wagering requirements. Usually, you will see wagering requirements similar to the more common 100% bonus.

Note: It would be a serious mistake to apply these hand charts before reading the Frequent Asked Questions first.


CHART #1 ‐ LOOSE, PASSIVE GAME (OFTEN 4-5 LIMPERS PER HAND)
NO ONE HAS RAISED YET

  • Raise Always
  • Call from Early Position, otherwise raise
  • Call always
  • Call from Middle or Late Position if the conditions are right (see Frequently Asked Questions)

CHART #2 ‐ TIGHTER GAME (FEWER LIMPERS) OR MORE AGGRESSIVE GAME
NO ONE HAS RAISED YET

  • Raise Always
  • Call from Early Position, otherwise raise
  • Call (or Raise) from Middle or Late Position if the conditions are right (see Frequently Asked Questions)

CHART #3 ‐ THERE HAS BEEN A SINGLE RAISE
(3‐5 TIMES THE BIG BLIND) BEFORE YOU

  • Re‐Raise Always
  • Call from Early Position, otherwise re‐raise
  • Call always
  • Call from Middle or Late Position if the conditions are right (see Frequently Asked Questions)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For the hands in yellow, what do you mean when you say to play these hands if the conditions are right? The hands in yellow are speculative hands. They should always be folded from Early Position. From other positions, they can be profitable given the right conditions. Some of the questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are there other players who have called so far (the more, the better)?
  2. Are the players who have called playing poorly after the flop? Will they pay me off if I hit something?
  3. Is there an aggressive player still to act behind me (you might get raised and have to fold)?
  4. If there has been a raise and no other callers, what chance do I have of using my position after the flop to win the hand even if I don't improve (Chart #3 only)?

Why does Chart #2 say to sometimes raise with the hands in yellow, but Chart #1 does not? We have different goals in mind. Using Chart #1, we want to call to encourage additional players to enter the pot. These hands will be immensely profitable when our loose, passive opponents enter the hand, and get trapped when we flop a set, or make a well-disguised straight. When using Chart #2, however, we want to size up the opponents still to act. If they are tight, we can raise. Sometimes, we'll pick up the blinds. Other times, our pre-flop aggression will allow us to take down the pot on the flop.

What's the difference between AKs and AKo? AKs means an Ace and King of the same suit. AKo means an Ace and King of different suits.

What are early, middle, and late position? Early Position is generally the first 2 (in a nine player game) or 3 (in a ten player game) positions after the blinds. Late Position is the “cutoff” position (to the right of the dealer), and dealer button positions. Middle Position is everything in between.

How much should I raise? As a general rule, raise 3 to 4 times the big blind, plus 1 extra big blind for every player who has called before you. So if there are 2 callers already, raise between 5 and 6 times the big blind.

What if someone raises after I call? Whether you call the raise depends on how much money the raiser has for you to win, how many other players are involved, and what type of hand you have. As a general rule, if you have a pocket pair, lean towards calling. If there are a lot of other players (and therefore a big pot), lean towards calling. In general, fold suited connectors from early position. Fold hands like KQ that don't play well against a raiser.

How do I play from the blinds? From the small blind, play the same hands you would play from late position, plus a few more. But don't call with junk hands like T5o, just because it is “cheap”. From the big blind, if there is a raise to you, play like you would if you had already called from early position.

The chart says to fold KQo to a raise. Really? Yes, this hand performs very poorly against typical raising hands. Against AK, AQ, AA, KK, QQ, you are a big underdog. Other typical raising hands like JJ, TT, 99, AJs, are slightly ahead of you as well. The only time you might call or re-raise is from late position, if the opener was in middle or late position, indicating they might have a wider range of hands.

I was told to fold AJo from Early Position, why do you say to call with it? Folding AJo is not a bad idea in many games. We included it because, at low stakes tables (even tight or aggressive ones), the players are often playing badly enough after the flop that it can be profitable. We used data from millions of hands of low-limit poker to analyze this. The same could be said for KQo, ATs, and KJs – you can make a small profit in the long run at most low-stakes games, but folding would be perfectly acceptable from early position.

Can I use these charts in a NL Hold'em tournament? The charts would be best applicable to the early stages of a NL tournament, when everyone has a deep stack. In the middle and later stages, they should not be used.


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Table Of Contents

Are you struggling to figure out what starting hands to play and how poker positions change the way you play preflop? You are not alone.

This article isn't a poker strategy crash course. Instead of focusing on generic winning poker tips and bankroll management advice like many other training poker sites do, it gives you something different.

It's a collection of advanced poker charts that improves your poker game by showing you how to play preflop. It gives you a clear overview of the starting hands range you should consider through some handy poker hands chart images, PDFs, and Excel files.

Continue reading to learn:

  • And lots more

In other words, if you are looking for an in-depth game strategy guide to learn what is the best way to play poker preflop, you'll love this collection of poker range charts.

Why a Page about Poker Ranges?

All poker players have been there. Short-stacked. Bleeding chips with every orbit while staring at junk hand after junk hand. Feeling their chances of winning the tournament dwindle ever further while their stack continues to shrink.

Finally, they get a halfway decent hand. Nobody has entered the pot.

Is it time to shove?

There's an easy way to find out. Enter poker range charts. These handy tools allow players to see which poker hand ranges to play in preflop scenarios where the pot is unopened and a player plans to shove or fold.

Playing the proper ranges according to preflop charts make it so your play can't be exploited, so memorizing these is the key to short-stacked play.

Read on to learn more and find the accompanied printable poker hand ranges chart as a tool you can study to improve your performance when short-stacked.

What are poker ranges?

For those unfamiliar a poker hand range is simply a set of poker hands that may be held by a player. We try to estimate our opponents' ranges because guessing exact hole cards is a fruitless, nearly impossible exercise in most cases.

For example, if the tightest player you've ever seen reraises you preflop in hold'em, you may estimate their range to be aces and kings only.

On the other hand, if a player who hasn't folded one hand in an hour calls your raise, you may estimate their range to include any two cards in the deck. Of course, most hand ranges will be somewhere in between.

How Do You Calculate Poker Ranges?

Analyzing ranges can be a tricky proposition, and only by learning game theory and playing thousands of hands can a poker player get better at it.

Including some proper proper preflop strategy in your poker training will help you understand what poker hand ranges they'll play.

The more time you spend playing and watching opponents' hands at showdown, the more clues you'll get about their strategy. That will enable you to get more precise estimates of their ranges when playing future hands.

This video from poker pro Jonathan Little explores the concept in a little more depth and tries to answer the question 'how do I think in terms of hand ranges?'

How to Use Preflop Range Charts

Every position at the poker table has a certain range of starting hands that can be profitably shoved at a given stack depth.

Generally, these stack depths are at 20 big blinds or less.

Preflop range charts outline the hands that constitute a winning shoving range.

A player who knows these charts can shove with a positive expected value (+EV) no matter what cards are held by the opponents remaining to act.

Here on PokerNews you find free preflop poker charts for five different stack depths at both six-max tables and nine-handed tables.

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Here's how to use them:

  1. Figure out how many big blinds you have in your stack.
  2. Go to the corresponding chart. If you have a stack that doesn't match one exactly, pick the closest one.
  3. Go to the column that corresponds to your seat.
  4. Scroll down until you get to the row that corresponds to your hole cards — the chart starts with pairs at the top, then ace-high hands, then king-high and so on.
  5. You can shove all of the hands listed there, as well as any hands to the left that were shoved in an earlier seat.
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Poker Ranges Charts

Here are 10 essential poker charts to help your preflop poker game.

They're broken into two categories: full-ring ranges and six-max ranges. Each category features shoving hands for five different stack sizes, raised in increments of three big blinds.

As you'll often have stacks in between these sizes, it may take a small amount of guesswork and intuition to expand or tighten the ranges a bit and get the appropriate strategy.

1. Full Ring Ranges Poker Charts

2. Six-Max Ranges Poker Charts

Use the Printable Poker Charts on Excel!

Want to bring all the poker charts with you? Make a copy of this shared Excel file and download the full collection of our advanced poker charts.

To create your own copy of all the poker charts on this article:

  • Click on 'File'
  • Then click on 'Create a Copy'
  • Done! You can now use all these poker ranges charts to improve your win rate!

These are optimal poker ranges for winning chips if your opponents are calling correctly. Each poker chart should be adjusted depending on reads you can gather when you play cash games or tournament poker.

  • If your opponents are calling too wide, shove a little tighter so you're more likely to have the best of it.
  • If your opponents aren't calling wide enough, widen your range of hands and shove a few extra hands because you are likely to be able to steal their blinds.

Considerations should also be made for the state of the poker tournament, i.e. proximity to the money bubble, a pay jump, or a final table.

These can heavily influence calling ranges and proper shoving strategy, changing the way you should play if you are using these poker charts to play winning poker.

Some bits of the poker ranges charts may look a bit weird, specifically in regard to suited ace-high hands.

This is because some of the small suited aces perform slightly better against calling ranges than middle aces. At certain stack depths and positions, it's better to shove ace-five suited than ace-seven suited, for example.

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How to memorize poker ranges

Given that there are 169 different hands in Texas hold'em poker, differently sized tables, and slightly different shoving ranges for every stack depth, it's unreasonable to think you'll be able to perfectly memorize an exactly correct shoving strategy.

Furthermore, doing so would probably be counter-productive, as you're better off dedicating your brainpower and efforts elsewhere.

Getting a rough idea of correct preflop poker ranges to shove will allow you to play well with a short stack while still improving your game in other aspects with your remaining study time.

There's no handy acronym like 'Roy G. Biv' (rainbow colors) or 'PEMDAS' (order of mathematical operations) to help you remember the shoving strategy offered in all the preflop range charts on this page.

And despite what other poker guides and poker training sites say, the purpose of poker charts like these ones is not to have you memorise everything. That's not how you will improve your win rate.

The best way to learn is to make your shoves and then continually check afterward whether it was correct. Eventually, the raising ranges will start to take shape in your memory.

Here are a few poker tips to keep in mind:

  • Pairs are great to jam with. If you're under 10 big blinds, you can almost jam with any pair from any position. With such a small stack, waiting for top pairs is not a good idea.
  • If your cards are unpaired, it's obviously preferable to have high suited cards.
  • Small suited hands lose a lot of value in preflop shoving situations compared to their deep-stacked playability. Many hands wind up unimproved by the river, so the higher cards will win in these spots.
  • Still, hands with a high card and low card (something like king-five offsuit) might be favored against something like ten-nine suited in a head-to-head clash, but the latter performs better against opponents' calling hands, so it's preferable to shove with.
  • The biggest jumps in shoving range will come the closer you get to the big blind — i.e., the difference between shoving in the first two seats is far less than the difference in shoving between the button and small blind.

    This is because one extra fold represents a much bigger portion of the remaining opponents, meaning the likelihood of running into a big hand has decreased more significantly. So, get comfortable shoving very wide in the small blind and still quite wide from the button and cutoff.

Most Common Preflop Ranges

All percentile ranges you see below are taken from pokerhandrange.com

Top 7%

If you run into a very tight opponent, expect here or she to be opening something like the top 7% of hands from early or even middle position. Only the tightest ranges will play this way.

What does that look like? About as strong as you'd expect:

  • 88
  • ATs , AQo
  • KJs

Top 15%

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Opening the top 15% of hands is still quite tight, but allows a bit more play down to the strong offsuit Broadways, most of the suited aces, and all of the suited Broadways.

It's probably close to a 'typical' opening range for a standard live player:

  • 66
  • A5s , ATo
  • K9s , KJo
  • Q9s , JTs

Top 35%

If you run into a player who is aggressively trying to steal seemingly every time it's folded to them in late position, their range might be in the top 35% Betfred sign up offer. or so of hands, or potentially even wider.

That's going to include a great many suited combos with even just one Broadway, as well as some fairly weak offsuit holdings down to jack-nine:

  • 33
  • A2s , A5o
  • K2s , K8o
  • Q4s , Q9o
  • J7s , J9o
  • T7s
  • 97s
  • 87s

Top 60%

Only the absolute loosest, most aggressive opposition will play a range this wide, but it certainly does happen.

The top 60% is usually reserved for short-stacked players shoving from the button and small blind, so if you wonder what that range might look like, here it is:

  • 22
  • Ax
  • K2s , K3o
  • Q2s , Q5o
  • J2s , J7o
  • T2s , T7o
  • 94s , 97o
  • 84s
  • 74s
  • 64s
  • 54s

Additional Readings

Now that you have our starting hands range and you have all the information you need on your Excel printable file, it's time to continue this poker lab experiment with more poker guides.

If you are really committed to playing better poker, here's a list that will help you reach your goals.

  • Essential Poker Tips: a complete collection of the most effective poker tips we know. While some might be more beginner-oriented, other tidbits might help also more seasoned players.
  • Poker Equity: one of the most popular poker articles ever published in our advanced poker strategy section. This is one of those must-read poker guides you need to go through at least once in your (poker) life.
  • Poker Positions: having our printable poker range charts in PDF is not enough to become a winning poker player. You need a lot more — including this guide to poker positions. Learn how every position named at the table and learn how to use everything to your advantage when you fire up your poker software.
  • The Best Online Poker Sites: the world-famous and award-winnings PokerNews rankings. If you ever wanted to play a hand of online poker, this is the perfect starting point for you.
  • Mobile Poker Sites: some poker software a great on desktop, but how about their mobile apps? Read this one to find out what brands offer the top mobile products in the industry.
  • Free Poker Sites: Not all online games cost money. All the sites on this list offer great poker games that will cost you nada.
  • Poker Freerolls: want to win real money prizes but don't want to risk your own? play a freeroll! This page gives you access to all the top free poker tournaments happening right now.

Additional Note:

The shoving ranges in this article, while available in many forms on different poker resources, were specifically taken from SnapShove. Check out SnapShove for more information about preflop shoving and calling strategy.