Analysis of post-flop poker ranges is where it gets really interesting! This is because players will never play a hand in exactly the same way with the same bets and the same visible signs. There is also an astronomical amount of possible outcomes on the board that will dramatically change how a hand is played according to the colors and values of the cards.
By using logical deductions, not only will you be able to better define your opponents’ pre-flop range, but you will also be able to counter their game with an approach aimed at exploiting them.
For example, during a hand, you can ask yourself basic questions such as:
- Is my opponent a passive player who checks his medium and weak hands and bets only with his strong?
- How often does my opponent bluff? Is he bluffing too much or not often enough?
- Did my opponent get used to certain table textures to improve his hand range?
- Is my opponent classic or cunning?
- Is my opponent a regular with a range of hands combining an appropriate number of strong hands and bluffs?
- Depending on how your opponent bets on the three rounds, you can determine what strength and hand range he might have.
- Then associate this with …
- The strength of your hand relative to that of your opponent’s hand range
- The strength of your hand relative to all hands in your hand range
- The size of your opponent’s bet
You will generally be able to quickly deduce which bet pattern corresponds to particular hand strength with weaker players. They will often be the most classic adversaries.
Other times, you will need to recognize the wagering trends that good players use and then decide what they mean and how to counter them.
Larger bets tend to be more polarized: they represent either a very strong hand or nothing. (As you will soon discover, making big bets can often allow you to include more bluffs in your poker hand range. However, few players follow this route since they generally aim for the maximum value.)
Smaller bets tend to be made to get more value. However, this range of “value” includes many more hands than the strong. For example, if a player bets half the pot on the river, depending on the value part of their hand range, they could have the best hand or a second pair with a good kicker (thinking that worse hands can follow). This is why it can be difficult to pass the hands of the middle of your poker hand range since they will be able to beat (on average) enough hands of your opponent’s range to justify the following.
Post hand analysis can also deal with study session material. For example, to improve your poker skills, you need to review your own hands and analyze those of your opponents. In this way, you can better deduce which hands you should call (or bet) in certain situations and thus improve your game.
The river is often the most crucial turn of a hand. When returned to the river, the pots are often well-stocked, and the difference between following/betting on the river and passing / checking back can have a big impact on your win rate and profitability. This is why analyzing the situations on the river, and your decisions on the last game turn can GREATLY improve your profitability!
For example, if your opponent bets ½ pot, this would give you 3: 1 odds in following, which means that you have to win 25% of the time or more to call profitably. If you compare the hand you have to a narrow range of your opponent; you could deduce if the odds of calling were in your favor.