A preflop table is a basic tool to support pre-decision making before the betting rounds begin with the first community card on the table. The whole strategy is concentrated on these tables, which have to do with the range of preflop hands.
In preflop, we usually play conservatively so as not to compromise our play on later streets. It is crucial to make a good selection of hands, not to enter with mediocre cards and always be attentive to the IP game.
When in doubt, discard the hand. If you have to err, let’s do it with caution. If you play too many hands, you will end up compromising your bankroll. If you play few hands, even if you miss good opportunities, you will be being selective. And that’s what you want, even if you have to work on your hand selection later.
Preflop table: preliminary considerations
Although there are several types of preflop tables, open-raise tables are the most common for studying the game before the flop. They are usually used with a color code for the actions to be carried out, taking into account the position on the table in case our hand arrives without preceding actions.
How to work with the tables? Very simple. The first thing we have to do is to look for our hand on the table. Generally, in the tables the hands are accompanied by a lowercase letter – the “o” and “s” are usually used, depending on whether the cards you have in your hand are suited (of the same suit) or off-suited (of different suits)-.
At first it may seem a bit rough, but the dynamics of poker tables are usually common, so when you get used to working with one table, working with the rest will be a piece of cake.
On the diagonal of the table are always the hand pairs: AA, KK, QQ, JJ… above, the suited, and below, the off-suited. You will see that the hands are sorted by rows and columns, which makes it easier to locate your hand.
Open-raise preflop hand table
Below is a standard open-raise hand chart. Darker colors mean that these are hands that you have to raise from any position. The lighter the color, the more you have to open your hand from later and later positions.
Aspects to keep in mind about preflop tables
The first thing to keep in mind is that, although the open-raise preflop table we have shown you is generally a good reference to focus your preflop game, there are other types of preflop tables that can be equally valid.
That is to say, you will not always find the same information in the tables you consult. Nor the same color codes or hand distribution. Some tables are even specific to each hand, so you have to sift through the search each time you are going to use a table.
There are 3bet/call preflop tables, Cold 4 Bet tables, 3bet/call multiway tables, raise overlimpers tables used in microlimits… Therefore, it is key to find the preflop table you need.
An important point is the adjustment of ranges to the tables. Usually, poker programs have an option to simulate poker hands through the introduction of ranges instead of specific hands. This makes it possible to study specific and especially critical situations.
In specific plays, working with ranges is better than working with specific hands. This is especially useful in a game of Blast Poker, when a player can shove from the button with a specific number of blinds and we happen to be the SB. Entering the range of hands we think that player might have can be helpful.
Some tables work with data from the HUD, the front display. However, the use of poker software tools is very limited or prohibited, so it is best to take a reading of the table without using a HUD or poker software.
The goal is the same: to create a roadmap that helps preflop to lay the foundations of our game. It is important to play in a measured way in the first phase of the game in order not to compromise our hand in the rest of the streets, hence the importance of using the tables.