Middle Position Ranges: Part 2September 26th, 2016 by LD1977
In the first part of the article, I discussed only the opening ranges, which we use when we are the first player in the pot (= it has been folded to us). Now lets see what can we do in more complicated situations.
Since our MP ranges are a bit wider than EP ranges, there will normally be a small increase of frequency of 3-bets (even though there are less players behind). This is mostly due to aggression from the BTN player, which means we need to have appropriate stats in our HUD so we can judge what his range is and how he plays post flop.
We can choose to 4-bet a polarized range (since we have a lot of Ax suited hands which can be used as bluffs) or call and play post flop. This is already covered elsewhere by other authors and I have mentioned some basics in the previous articles (EP ranges).
My basic strategy in MP is usually this:
- I like folding all dominated hands (suited Broadways, AQo, all Ax suited except AKs, small pocket pairs depending on the situation).
- I usually continue with all other hands and then try to exploit weaknesses in the opponent’s post flop play. It is not even necessary to actually hit anything to win the pot with XC, X, small river bet (around 30% pot) line against some players.
Squeezes and 3-bets + cold 4-bets
I have covered the basic ideas in EP article. Our range in MP is slightly larger than EP, but not too much. This normally does not provoke people to go wild with squeeze plays and cold 4-bets, so our own strategy does not need to change much either.
Folding is a normal reaction in most cases due to the fact there are at least two players behind and we can’t usually profitably call (because then we occasionally have to fold to a shove from original caller).
We need to have data in our HUD about squeezers range and reaction to shoves (SQZ-fold) so we can profitably 4bet shove.
Normally we 4-bet shove AK (blockers + good equity), KK, AA and some suited wheel Aces (blockers, decent shove equity), but it depends on the HUD data. Decision on QQ is dependant on the HUD since the hand has no blockers (to AK, KK, AA) so it gets called more and it relies on proper fold equity for compensation.
This traps the original caller, who normally has to fold here (if he was trapping with KK+ we need to make a note).
Against a 3-bet and cold 4-bet, we are usually in a bad shape and QQ/AK often have to fold (depending purely on HUD/notes). There are exceptions, against a MP open some people get too frisky so notes are crucial. I would however be reluctant to ever fold KK (unlike in EP, where it might be rare but more easily justified).
I generally do not 3-bet light from MP, since normally the ranges of original raiser are fairly strong and I find it more profitable to call in position (depending on probability of squeezes). I like flatting and shoving premiums (against squeezes), so after a while people stop attacking flat calls.
If we do decide to 3-bet, it is best to use a polarized range (either KK+ or AK/QQ+, balanced with wheel Aces as bluffs). This however makes it harder to dissuade people from attacking our calling range (we can only have so many premiums).
Ideal situation for light 3-bets is:
- original raiser has a wide range and/or folds too much to 3-bets
- original raiser likes to call a 3-bet but then check-folds the flop too much
- players still to act are very unlikely to flat call a 3-bet or make a cold 4-bet
- we normally have a tight 3-bet range and in general our image is very solid ( = our exploitative play does not provoke people to go wild)
We have to pay attention to:
- position of the raiser (EP or MP)
- size of his range (if we have HUD data for his positional RFI)
- post flop habits (does he barrel or give up easily), which influence our ability to take the pot even when we miss
- probabilty of a squeeze
It is not wise to call too much since there are still at least 4 players behind us (CO, BTN, blinds).
I generally stick to the same range as vs EP raiser (7% of hands, range is displayed in “Early Position Ranges” article), but expend it depending on the factors mentioned above.
The maximum calling range I use in absolutely ideal conditions is 12% of hands with good equity and speculative value.
This range contains 162 hand combinations, which is a lot, but actual calling frequency is much lower since we do not always see ideal conditions. Our image in MP will remain tight enough, which will help us expand our ranges in late positions (CO / BTN) while still giving decent EV.