I know there is a ton of pre-flop open/3-bet range charts online (even in this forum). But, I am trying to understand the "main" considerations people use to build them. I'm pretty new to the game, and want to understand how to use these ranges better.

Excluding specific considerations (loose/tight games etc.), I assume people generally compare effective pot odds (which varies through positions) with pre-flop equity.

IE: UTG effective pot odds are pretty bad, hence one "should" open with top equity hands. Therefore, typical range charts for UTG opens are usually something like (77+, AJs+, KQs, AQo+).

Is there another big consideration/theme I am missing when building these ranges?



3 Answers 3


Welcome to poker.se

When building any pre-flop range chart, there are some main things to take into consideration. The most important of which are the following:

  • pairs
  • suits
  • connectedness
  • value (rank of the card i.e. Ace)

these four things are the most important factors to consider in a starting hand, and they are the main driving force of pre-flop range charts (that is why the charts are filled in more towards the top left and empty at the bottom right and why more suited combos are included.

Position is very important as well (if not the most important factor) when creating pre-flop ranges. Opening ranges should widen up in later positions and include more hands that you would not play in other positions.

There are a lot of things that are considered when constructing these ranges. Like you mentioned, pot odds is one of them. Pot odds is not as important pre-flop because the equity of hands changes drastically when the flop is dealt but it is still something that should be taken into consideration. Implied odds is very important pre-flop because some hands have a much higher ability to become a strong made hand by the river than others. Blocker cards can also be a factor pre-flop, for example if you are considering a 3-bet on the button with A5s it can be a much more profitable 3-bet in the long run compared to 3-betting with other hands because it is less likely for your opponent to hold an ace.

You can also build ranges by using percentages and trial-and-error, although this works best if you have played a lot of hands and have a lot of data to go by. Hypothetically, you can say that you want to open with 30% of hands on the button and construct a range chart with the best ~50 hands. It is very important to use trial and error, if you find that you are getting into tough situations with some hands, consider playing them less often and playing them differently when you do decide to stick around.


The main consideration is whether the hand makes +EV profit on average when played in a given situation.

It's good to have a default which takes into account GTO ranges or even better, ranges based on player population tendencies. The former can be found using solvers, the latter can be found using a massive database sample.

The ranges are generally created by taking into account whether a hand has implied odds, reversed implied odds, play-ability and this is all a function of stack sizes. You need unique ranges for various stack sizes.

Your ranges are only as good as the ranges you're up against yourself and thus must be adjustable. You need to adjust the range on the fly ingame depending on how the ranges of your opponents changes. This is because your starting hands deviate in EV depending on the ranges you're up against.


Another angle is we build preflop ranges that make postflop decisions easier, avoiding tough spots. This doesn't say how to build it but why. It helps me to remember that.

Examples: Easier to play in position, wider range at button. Tough opponents, tighter range, playing very deep more connectors and small pairs, etc.

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