23October2017

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Roughly what percentage of hands should I play before the flop?

A lot of the most important decisions that you make in poker come before the flop. At the end of the day you can choose to fold, call or bet, and any one of these moves will eventually lead to you winning or losing chips. Furthermore, as the community cards are not available and the action before you is limited you have to work harder to find out the right move. With this in mind, many people play very robotically pre-flop, but this is not a bad thing. In fact, many of the top professionals will tell you that over time your pre-flop range will be very similar to everybody else’s. Here, we will explore this point in more detail.

This is a general rule

It is imperative that you know that the percentages detailed in this guide offer a general rule rather than something you need to stick to religiously. The percentage you should want to play depends on the amount of players you are up against, because obviously, the less players the bigger your range.

Ten or nine seated tables (cash) – in this situation you should not play more than 20% of your hands. A tight player may only play 10-15% of hands in this situation, and that is fine. If you are playing more than 25% or less than 7%, you need to evaluate your play.

Six seated tables (cash) – in many cases you should be playing the same amount of hands as you would on a full table. However, you can make minor alterations to your range. Even if this is the case you should not be playing more than 25% of hand's pre-flop. If you are playing more than 35% or less than 10%, you should make a change.

Multi table tournaments – in the early stages you should be playing no more than 15% of hands. As the blinds increase your range of hands from the late position will increase so this percentage will go up as well. If you are playing more than 20% or less than 4% in the early stages of a multi table tournament, then you should re-evaluate your play.

It is important that you remember that this is the percentage of hands you should be looking at getting involved with over time. If you are worried that you are playing too many/few hands you should get your hand statistics from the site you are playing on. If when you evaluate your hands, the amount varies from the above you can go through the hands you folded and see if you could have played or folded without looking at the outcome of the hand because that could cloud your judgement.

Remember, in some tournaments you will be dealt a high percentage of good hands and therefore, your percentage of hands will naturally increase. However, in other tournaments, you will find that you get nothing and this is when it starts to level out. You should only start to look at your statistics when you have played over 1000 hands in order to get a clear view.

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