Skip to content


Leak 7: Using Preflop 2bet Ranges From Poker Coaches | Podcast #199


Sky Matsuhashi

on August 16, 2018

I help you plug the leak of straying outside of profitable preflop 2bet and 2bet calling ranges by utilizing ranges created by poker coaches.

In episode 198, I helped you diagnose the leak of straying outside of profitable preflop 2bet and 2bet calling ranges.

The 5 F's of utilizing preflop 2bet ranges from poker coaches.

Find (3:00)

You can find ranges in books like ‘The Course’ by Ed Miller, ‘The Grinder's Manual’ by Peter Clark or even my book, ‘Preflop Online Poker’.

You can also find ranges by going online. Upswing Poker, Red Chip Poker and so many other sites out there. Just Google search or YouTube search for “preflop ranges”.

Wherever you find your ranges, try to also learn how the poker coaches intend you to use them. If they say to raise to 4bb’s in EP and min-raise on the BTN, do it. They’ve played with and analyzed their ranges before you ever get to see them. So trust how they say to implement the ranges.

Every range you find that totals to the same percentage will look very similar. After all there's only a few ways that you can build a solid 12% range for example. A 12% range from me and from another coach won’t contain hand like J4s or T9o. But, they will contain many of the same pocket pairs, broadways, Aces and suited connectors.

Here's my EP 2betting range. This is the one I use for both FR and 6max games, and it’s for every position before the CO.

My EP range is 12% and contains 22+, ATs+, A5s-A2s, AQo+ and 76s+.

2bet Pot Preflop Ranges:

My CO range is used in that position and in the SB when it’s folded around. The BTN range is used there and in the BB, when the SB is the only limper. And there’s also an isolation range that’s used from the blinds versus one or more limpers.

When you’re using my ranges, I recommend to open-raise to 3bb’s or more. Choose the sizing that will limit it to one or two callers or steal the blinds if that’s your goal. If isolating limpers, size it to 3bb+1 per limper at a minimum. I’ve found success lately isolating at 6bb’s or more per limper. Choose the sizing that will limit the callers or get the necessary folds you’re looking for. If you’re isolating out of the blinds, make it even bigger to charge your opponents for their post-flop position.

When it comes to calling, consider the bet sizing you face and how the remaining players will respond to your call. You just sweetened the pot for others to overcall, and you’ve also sweetened the pot for 3bet bluff squeezes.

Look at your remaining players and if your call creates an easy to exploit situation for players capable of doing so, think twice before you click that button.


Don't follow ranges blindly

Ranges are meant to be a default play on tables and against players who you know nothing about. As soon as you start to learn your opponent's tendencies, the bet sizing they use, their post-flop actions and anything else, that's when you'll start deviating from these ranges.

Speaking of coaches, are you looking for one?  I do coaching (online micro stakes, send me an email) or my friends at have a ton of coaches they work with.  Check them out here.

Frolic (8:30)

Now that you’ve Found your ranges, it’s time to Frolic with them. You’re going to play 10,000 hands or more with the ranges.  Frolic with them in your normal games at your normal stakes. But don't frolic frivolously. Frolic with focus. Pay attention to the table and the players you’re playing with.  Consider the EV nature of every single hand before you open raise with it, before you isolate with it or before you call with it.

If a hand falls within your range, think before you VPIP with it.  Being dealt ATs in early position is NOT a mandatory open raise. For example, if you're at a table full of callers, then you're likely going to multi-way to the flop with ATs. Not the worst situation be in, but it's not a B&B situation either.  And if you're considering open raising in EP 76s? Well, if your table is full of 3bettors, you may have to fold quite often after raising here.

As you are frolicking with focus, tag any tough hand or tough spots you get yourself into.  You’re tagging so you can review and learn from these hands in your next study session.

Lastly, you want to envision how the rest of the table will react to your play before you click that button preflop. Start planning the hand now before you even get to the flop.

Figure (10:40)

This is where you Figure out the profitability of the ranges that you found and have been frolicking with.

You can calculate the profitability as you go, but I recommend just playing at least 10,000 hands before you dive seriously into the profitability of the ranges.

As you play you're going to be reviewing any tagged hands. But when you're trying to look at the actual hard numbers of profitability, use figure here, you want to lease to 10K sample.  Playing 6max, you’ll be dealt almost 1,700 hands in each position. This is enough to begin analyzing for profitability (but 20,000+ is better).

You can filter through your database for 2bet hands by position and 2bet calls by position. You can also filter for specific hands or groups of hands to see how they're working for you. For example, you can look up just 76s, or look up 76s – T9s. For any hands that seem unprofitable or tough spots that you've been researching, what's making them tough or unprofitable? Is it your hand choice? Your position? The number of opponents you face? The stack sizes or the pot size on the flop? It could be more than just your hole cards that're causing problems for you.

Record your findings and especially take note of hands and positions you find difficult to play.

Start your audiobook learning by picking up ‘Preflop Online Poker' through Click the pic above to begin your free 30-day trial or to purchase the audiobook version if you're already a member.

Fine-tune (16:05)

Now that you know which hands are unprofitable or cause you too many headaches, you can Fine-tune these ranges to make them more suitable to your style of play.

How you do the fine-tuning is completely in your hands. This is where you take the poker coaches ranges and make them your own.

For example, let's say you really like playing KQo from the EP. That’s not in the range I gave you. Well, in order to add this hand, you need to remove others so you’re not playing too many hands. KQo is 12 combos.  You can ditch 76s, 87s and 98s. That’s 12 combos removed, making way for the 12 combos of KQo. You could instead ditch 22-33 instead if those aren’t profitable for you.

There’s a great reason for fine-tuning the ranges: it makes the ranges fit your style and the games you play. Now you have ownership over these ranges. There’s nobody to blame now but yourself if your ranges are making you unprofitable.

Now that you’ve made them yours, frolic with focus over another 10,000 or more hands.  Follow this up with another round of figuring out their profitability then fine-tune once again. Repeat these steps until you’re happy with the ranges.

Finalize (18:00)

Now that you've frolicked and figured and fine-tuned over and over again, it's time to Finalize these ranges. Make them your ranges now.

Proceed from this moment with confidence in these ranges. You feel fulfilled with all the work that you've done.

You are free from doubt regarding the profitability of these ranges. They work for your stakes and the games you choose to play.

And you are fearless in your use of the ranges. You've done so much work and hopefully you’ve played 20,000 or more hands by now through this whole process.  You know these ranges inside and out and you don’t falter in your use of them.

Challenge (18:40)

Here's my challenge to you for this episode: Follow the 5 F’s for your preflop 2bet hand choices starting today and through the next 10,000 hands or more.

FIND a set of ranges you think look promising. Use mine from ‘Preflop Online Poker' or look elsewhere. If you already have ranges you use, great, proceed with the next 4 F’s.

FROLIC with the ranges. Make sure you’re frolicking focus and tag every tough hand or spot you find yourself in.

FIGURE out their profitability after at least 10,000 hands.

FINE-TUNE the ranges and add or subtract hands as you deem necessary.

Frolic, figure and fine-tune some more until you’re ready to FINALIZE them. Do this when you feel fulfilled, free from doubt and fearless in using these ranges.

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.

Support the Show

The incomparable Chase purchased PokerTracker 4 through my affiliate link.  He's now primed to study his butt off and crush the competition.  Get PT4 here.

Bryan Spencer gave my latest book Preflop Online Poker a radical 5-star review.  Thanks for the kind words and I'm glad to hear your win rate is up, Bryan! If you buy a copy for yourself, please leave an honest review afterwards.  You can also buy and leave reviews for How to Study Poker Volume 1 and Volume 2!

Up Next…

In episode 200, I’ll hit you with another 3-question Q&A.

Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.


Sky Matsuhashi

Don’t Miss Out!

Get expert tips and strategies straight to your inbox each week!