When I’m playing in a live NLHE cash game, I use four auto-fold ranges. And we’ll get to them soon. First, let’s define.
Auto-fold ranges are hands you always intend to fold before the flop in a given situation. For example, at hold’em, if you intend to always fold 8-3 offsuit under-the-gun no matter how your opponents are playing, then that hand goes in your auto-fold range for “hold’em, under the gun.”
Auto-fold ranges are player independent because they are defined by position and prior action. (And possibly stack sizes, if they are short.)
The hands outside of your auto-fold range make up your “it depends” range. With those hands, you might fold, you might call, or you might raise, depending on player tendencies and other variables.
This table shows positions along the top and prior actions down the side. It depicts 40 preflop situations. But 40 squares doesn’t mean you need 40 different charts. Some ranges are multi-purpose. For example, I use only 4 ranges for all 40 squares. They are at the end of this article.
About My Auto-Fold Ranges
I play a position-centric version of hold’em. From the early seats and the blinds, my auto-fold ranges are uncommonly wide. But on the button, I only auto-fold 1/3 of my hands. The ranges below are not intended to represent my opinions as to what is and isn’t profitable poker for anyone but me. They are here to show what the finished product looks like. For details on how to do this, and why, check out my article called Auto-Fold Ranges: A Tool for Fixing Your Poker.
Here are my auto-fold ranges for live NLHE cash games in a public casino in 2019:
If no one else is in the pot, my auto-fold range from the early seats is AQ, AJ, etc., KQ, KJ, etc., and all lower hands, suited and unsuited. That’s range #1.
If at least one player has limped or opened in front of me, my auto-fold range in the early seats shrinks, and is now the same as my auto-fold range as the opener in the cutoff. That’s range #2.
When there’s a raise, and I’m in either blind, I always fold these hands, suited and unsuited: KJ, K10, etc., QJ, QT, etc., and all other ace-less, pair-less hands. That’s range #3.
In the small blind, if there is no raise, I auto-fold the same range, including blind verses blind.
In the big blind, if it’s folded to the small blind and the small blind raises, my auto-fold range is the same as on the button.
As first in the pot, or if others have limped or opened, my auto-fold range on the button is the same: all non-straighters that are king-high and lower. This is range #4. (A straighter is a hand that can flop a straight.)
Put another way, my button it-depends range is all straighters, all pocket pairs, and any hand with an ace. Situations exist where I might play any of those hands, right down to the worst straighter − 62o. But no situations exist where I will play the outliers.
In the cutoff, as opener, I auto-fold the same hands as on the button, with the addition of all unpaired hands containing a 2 or 3, and all gapped straighters containing a card lower than 8. (Translation: J7, T7, T6, 97, 96, 95, 86, 85, 84, 75, 74, 73, 64, 63, 62, 53, 52, 43, 32.)
If no one has entered the pot, and I have looked left and I think the button is going to fold, this is a positional promotion, and my auto-fold range is now the same as on the button.
I also play my button range from the cutoff when one or more players have entered the pot in front of me.
From the hijack, as opener, my auto-fold range is the same as the early seats, with these exceptions: If the button and cutoff both have low VPIPs from late position, or if one of them has telegraphed a fold, then the hijack is promoted to cutoff, and I play my cutoff auto-fold range.
I also play my cutoff range from the hijack when one or more players have entered the pot in front of me.
If you want to figure out your auto-fold ranges, instructions and supplies are here: Auto-Fold Ranges: A Tool for Finding and Plugging Leaks.
If you want to talk with me about your auto-fold ranges, or anything else, click on the coaching tab to schedule a video coaching call.
My Auto-Fold Charts
The charts below, along with the Table of Preflop Situations above, are in this Google spreadsheet.
2018 Coaching Update: I’m doing video coaching now on whatever ails you — from betting problems and tilt issues to bad quitting and no patience. For more details and to schedule a call, click here.