Tips and Tricks

Balance Preflop Checking Range with Ace-Rags


Should We Ever Check Ace from the big blind before the flop?

You’re playing heads-up hyper-turbo sit and go tournament against an unknown villain and you decide to limp from the button with 79o. The villain checks from the small blind. The flop comes A75 rainbow and the villain donk leads (bets out of the position) instantly. On what range are we putting our villain? Maybe middling cards like J7o,68o, and T8o. What about pairs? Not so many if I’d have to guess. What about broadway cards like KQo and QJs – not so many either. What about Aces? Not possible, why would somebody check behind that good of a hand before the flop? Well, you’re wrong. If someone plays a balanced strategy, we can and should expect that the villain has aces in their preflop out-of-position checking range.

I have constructed my big blind defend range in a way that it includes a specific portion of aces. In practice, this means that I balance my range with a couple of ace-rags and check behind A4o, A3o, and A2o part of the time.

Balancing Preflop Checking Range with Ace-Rags

To summarize, my tip of the week is to balance the preflop checking range and put a couple of the ace-rags in the range. This works especially well between regular vs. regular -encounters, and against aggressive opponents. The nature of an aggressive player is not to believe that someone has a hand. That’s why aggressive opponents have a hard time to believe that we would check Ax behind limp.

Regular’s leak is that they don’t believe that we would first of all check an ace behind pre-flop, AND then donk-lead it. The thought process (of a thinking player) is that: first of all, we shouldn’t have many aces here, and if we would, we definitely shouldn’t lead with it. And that sums up why they end up not believing and therefore making huge mistakes with second or third high pairs, or to bluff with no equity.

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