Heads Up NL Preflop Hand Ranges

Posted on Nov 15, 2008 by Gugel in Preflop

I can almost immediately tell how good my opponent is by their preflop hand selection. A good opponent is aware of the advantages of position. He’ll be aggressive on the button and tight in the BB. Just how aggressive should you be on the button and how tight should you be in the big blind? Well, that’s subject to a lot of debate on the forums of many poker websites.

Some of the best players will raise 100% of the time when they are on the button. Against weak-tight opponents, that might indeed be the best strategy. From the button, I usually throw away complete junk and stick to about the top 70% of hands and I occasionally mix it up a bit.

Preflop Hand Range on the Button:

HU Button Starting Hands

HU Button Starting Hands

It’s important to be a lot tighter in the BB than on the button. I typically play around the top 25% of hands from the BB. Position gives you a tremendous advantage and hands that are quite profitable on the button suddenly become unplayable out of position. Position is the most powerful weapon in your poker arsenal. Always remember that. That being said, here is my typical BB preflop range:

Preflop Hand Range on the Big Blind:

HU Big Blind Starting Hands

HU Big Blind Starting Hands

So if you’re up against an opponent that is as loose from the BB as he is from the button, you hit the jackpot.

If an opponent is tight on the button, he’s giving up the most powerful weapon in his poker arsenal. You can safely assume he’s not very good.

In my next post, I’ll talk about common mistakes people make when analyzing an opponent’s stats in heads up play.

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8 Responses to Heads Up NL Preflop Hand Ranges

  1. Jesse Goodin

    15. Nov, 2008

    Great Blog post. I am going to bookmark and read more often. I love the Blog template

  2. [...] that you have some idea on what hands you should be playing preflop, you should understand how often and how good of a hand you will hit on the flop. After all, this [...]

  3. [...] thats calling 50% from the button and 50% from the BB? Or does that mean hes calling 20% from the BB and raising 80% from the button? You cant tell with just a single VPIP stat! You need to split it up into BB VPIP and Button [...]

  4. [...] to the preflop hand range charts we talked about before, you should be raising the top 80% of hands on the button. Eventually, [...]

  5. admin

    14. Dec, 2008

    Ive actually expanded my raising range from the button to include any queen or any king.

  6. [...] very aggressive. Hes 3betting me 17% but almost always folds to my 3bets. Hes raising the button 70% of the time (which is good) and calling from the big blind 40% of the time (which is a too [...]

  7. [...] have a horrible hand on the flop, but take a look at this preflop hand chart.  10.4% of my button raising range that has a three.  Only 3.8% of my big blind calling range has [...]

  8. Archie

    31. Aug, 2010

    Hi, I know this really is a noob question and my apologies up front. What does the color coding in your charts mean? I understand grey is fold, yellow is raise and red is call? Or does red mean call with caution or only call sometimes and fold the rest? Im really not sure.