You might have more good hands but if your opponent is more likely to have the nuts you need to play accordingly.
In my last column I brought up two terms you may or may not be familiar with – Range Advantage and Nutted Advantage. I felt they were worthy of clarification for those of you unsure what I was talking about.
To be a winning player in the modern game you have to play based on your range and your opponent’s range, rather than your individual hand or theirs.
Range Advantage refers to which of you has the best of it in terms of the entire range of hands you play. When you have Range Advantage you can be more aggressive, even if your actual hand has missed completely.
Nutted Advantage refers to how often you make a super strong hand, usually Two Pair or better. When you have Nutted Advantage you can bet bigger and demand more respect.
To some of you those two concepts might sound like essentially the same thing, so let’s look at an example.
Range vs Nutted Advantages
Let’s say you raise under the gun with a solid tight range, which might look like this:
Your opponent defends their big blind, you think they would have raised with most of their premium hands preflop but kept a big hand back for balance, let’s say they reraise with KK half the time and flat the other half. Their range looks like this:
The flop comes 4 2 2
On this flop, you have the Range Advantage. You have the lots of overpairs and the better Ace high hands. Even though you rarely connect with the board you can bet here because you usually figure to have the best hand.
Your opponent, however, can reraise you on this board because they have the Nutted Advantage. Even though their hand misses most of the time, they have 44, 22, 32s and A2s in their range, whereas the only 2 in your range is A2s. You have the most strong hands here, but your opponent has more hands that are Trips or better.
This doesn’t mean you should not bet in this spot, it’s still a very good board for your range, but having Nutted Advantage means your opponent is the only one who can make big bluffs, reraises, check-raises and other power moves. A good opponent will recognise this on a flop like this and it is something you need to prepare for as you move up the stakes.
Dara O’Kearney is sponsored by Unibet and is co-host of the award winning Chip Race Podcast.