I originally created this blog post in 2015 to provide conservative pre-flop ranges for beginning and struggle micro stakes poker players, including open-raising ranges, cold-calling ranges, and 3-betting ranges; however, my advice on implementing those ranges has changed over the years, so I’ve decided to limit this blog post to focus solely on conservative open-raising ranges because open-raising is one of the most fundamental aspects of pre-flop poker that you should master.
Why We Raise
So, why do we raise? If the action has folded around to you and there are still players left to act after you, you should typically either raise or fold and never open-limp. There are five specific reasons why we raise rather than limp, which are the following:
- We Show Strength
- We Gain the Initiative
- We Thin the Field
- We Build the Pot with Good Hands
- We Steal the Blinds
Open Raising Ranges: Tight to Loose
When open-raising from early position, we should raise a tighter and stronger range of hands. As we move from early position to middle position and finally late position, we should loosen up our raising range, as seen in the figure below.
The reason for playing a tight range in early position is positional disadvantage. When we open-raise UTG, there are five people left to act in a 6-max game, with all but the SB and BB having positional advantage post-flop. Furthermore, the more people there are left to act, the more likely someone can call or 3-bet with a strong value hand. As we move closer to the BTN, there are fewer people left to act, so we gain positional advantage and don’t have to worry about as many people calling or 3-betting us. This is why the BTN is the most profitable position in poker.
Conservative Ranges to Keep You Out of Trouble
The open-raising ranges I recommend you start off with are conservative pre-flop opening ranges. These are ranges I’ve devised from my own play, as well as from fellow poker coaches and training sites. These are ranges I use that have been profitable for me, as well as many of my students. They are designed specifically for 100bb effective stack sizes when playing 6-max NLHE. You’ll find that other poker coaches suggest you open wider ranges than I do; however, when you open wider ranges pre-flop, you must be able to play more marginal hands well post-flop. If you’re unable to play marginal hands well post-flop, then there’s little added benefit to playing a wider range pre-flop. In fact, it could harm your game. My recommendation is that you start with the provided conservative ranges and, as you improve, begin to slowly widen your ranges.
Open Raising Ranges
Okay, so now onto the ranges that you’ve been waiting to see.
UTG Open Raising Range
MP Open-Raising Range
CO Open-Raising Range
BTN Open-Raising Range
SB Open-Raising Range
Want Access to All of Our Ranges?
If you want access to all of our pre-flop ranges, they’re available in our 6-Max NLHE Range Charts Resource Pack, that you can access here:
Our resource pack includes printable PDF and Equilab 6-max No Limit Hold’em range charts, as well as an overview of the ranges and step-by-step instructions on how to import them into Equilab.