Extreme ranges: calling and raising

Extreme ranges: calling and raising.

This is a hypothetical situation. A situation that I have seen & experienced. Suppose your playing a ring game either heads up or 6/4MAX and a crazy lunatic player joins the game and open shoves.

Only info on player is as said: crazy, lunatic player. Very loosey-goosey & willing to gamble.

Whats your calling range? Obviously its easy to call with premium, but also consider they are probably shoving weak, almost any 2 & open shove bluffing for fun.

They keep shoving apparently any 2. What are you calling with also considering it is ring and HU or short.

Lets also make it 10% of your bankroll to add pressure and make a mistake profitable/costly.

I hate calling even with AK/AQ bc its coin flipping with a pair. I will at times call weak like A5o etc if I think a player is shoving weak garbage. Its frustrating to lose with the best Vs garbage but it happens.

Whats your minimum calling cards. At some point even tournament speaking gambling with decent cards will probably be required. What with?

Feel free to post your best preflop hero call.


Leaving the table is also an option.

The last time this happened to me, I got stacked. Maniac shoved some random garbage like 86o and got called by QQ, lost, immediately rebounds by doing the same thing the next hand. I happened to have JJ and called, and lost when they had AQ and flop coordinated for them.

My personal track record against and with the shove has been extremely unprofitable for big pots, over a long enough period of time that I have a pessimistic disposition about it.

I still call and I still shove, but I expect to lose when I do, even with premium hands. Sometimes I don’t.

Overall I have grown my bankroll, so I am doing something right, but if I could take back all of my big preflop commitments, I would probably have twice as many chips as I do. I only wish Replay supported a hand data api that I could use to extract data to prove that rather than just feel like it’s true, so that when I overfold, or when I complain about the site being rigged because of the variance invariably favoring the other player, I could be speaking with evidence backing me up.

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What you have described is a very dangerous situation and probably not a profitable table to be at. One bad call or suck out could take your stack down to the felt. Hours of good, thoughtful play could be wiped out in a single hand.

Recently, I was playing at a table with such a loosey-goosey player who was willing to gamble. But the player was not shoving preflop. Rather, he would limp in to hands and then make very large 3-bets preflop and very large c-bets on the flop. For example, the player limped in and I open raised with a fairly standard raise to 4 BBs, and the player 3-bet to about 14 BBs. I flat called and the flop came up garbage: all low cards (eight high) and an uncoordinated board. The player put in a c-bet of about 30 BBs and I decided to shove, since I had observed him do this over and over. I turn over my QQ and he turns over his 88. Down to the felt I went. On this hand, I have to say that I was outplayed.

On another hand, same story. I open with AA after he limps and he makes a big 3-bet and big c-bet on the flop and we are all in. This time he turns over K4 off suit (a king came up on the flop) and I am ahead, until he hits a 4 on the river. In the space of two hands, with premium holdings, I lost over 200 BBs. On another hand, he sucked out with 97 off suit, when he made a set on the river. I was more careful to avoid an all in on that hand (with QQ again), but I still lost plenty.

For context, we were playing at the 20k/40k level (9-handed) and this player had his entire BR on the table, which is usually an indicator of a reckless player. I don’t think he was thoughtless, though. I was probably playing above my level as well (I had about 25 buy ins) but I prefer to play against players who are stronger than me.

In sum, unless you have an opponent like this far outgunned in terms of BR, I would find another table to play at. Despite making what I thought were proper calls, I lost about 10% of my BR to this opponent. Keep in mind that I am not faulting this player – I take full ownership of my mistakes, and I simply don’t have the skill to read players like that.


If they’re truly all in every hand you can call with these hands and be at least a 60% favorite heads up versus their range.

  • Any pocket pair 66 or bigger.
  • Any suited ace A5s or bigger
  • Any offsuit ace A8o or bigger
  • Any suited king K9s or bigger
  • Any offsuit king KTo or bigger
  • QJs and QTs

If someone is giving it away, you absolutely want to be there to take advantage of the situation. However, due to the increased variance, you must be properly bankrolled. Having 10% of your entire bankroll subject to a 60/40 split isn’t a good idea. Your calling range is related to your bankroll - the more buyins you have, the wider you can call and vice versa.


I think it depends on your risk tolerance. 60/40 is a pretty big edge to get all in with. If you’re not comfortable with that then certainly you want a bigger bankroll - or of course tighten up.

For 10% of bankroll, how big an edge would you want to go all in?

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Agreed it is a pretty big edge but variance is a killer. I don’t have a hard number because I think everyone has their own risk tolerances. I don’t recall ever having 10% of my bankroll on a single table though so I may not be the best person to answer.

When I look at games where you can easily achieve winrates of 30bb/100 just by grinding, I see less of a need to gamble it up in general. The larger your skill edge over your opponents is, the more you want to limit variance.

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I wrote a little Monte Carlo simulation to test this out.


  • Our villain is willing to go all in every hand with us for 25 hands before they leave.
  • Starting stack is 100
  • Hero has a starting bankroll of 1000. Villain has an infinite bankroll.
  • If either of us loses our stack, we always rebuy for 100
  • When we go all in we have 60% equity and are heads up with villain.
  • We’re willing to gamble until we lose our whole bankroll. (I don’t recommend this! In practice you might put a stop-loss of a certain number of buyins. Or you can say that we start with a bankroll of 20 buyins and are willing to gamble 10 of those - the result is the same as below).

Here are the results of running this 1 million times:
Screen Shot 2020-05-23 at 12.31.27 PM
(The x-axis is our final bankroll)

So we would bust out about 4% of the time, while we double our bankroll almost half the time.

Here are the results for different levels of equity when we go all-in:

Screen Shot 2020-05-23 at 1.06.50 PM

All of this ignores the effect of the blinds - particularly if you’re at a short-handed table you probably have to call a bit more than you otherwise would.


Did you include rake? If not, what effect would it have?

Also, I would expect the results to be smoother over a million trials, any idea why it’s so clumpy?

Very good stuff though.

I didn’t include rake. If we did include rake and blinds I think it’d favor the all-in-every-time player a little since we’re winning a bit less on average when we do get in. For this simulation I just ignored all the hands where we don’t call the all-in. To be more accurate it’d need to include the hands where we fold pre, and the relative frequency of those hands given the range that we’re playing.

I was surprised by the lumpiness too. The main factor seems to be that I capped it at 25 hands for each iteration which is still quite noisy. It gets smoother if I crank it up to 100 hands per iteration:

Screen Shot 2020-05-23 at 3.41.57 PM

Notice that if you’re prepared to sit for longer sessions playing this game of all-ins you have a higher chance of busting out. An interesting thought to consider is that if you’re playing against opponent with an infinite bankroll, if you play with them long enough you have a 100% chance of eventually going bust.


Normal variance will eventually kill us all. haha

Here’s another interesting thought to consider. You’re playing HU against another accountant and settle into a Nash equilibrium. There are no holes in either game, nothing to exploit! Except that, when we consider rake, we can see that both players are being exploited every hand, by the house, and both are now -EV. Play a 0EV strategy long enough, you will go broke 100% of the time! :stuck_out_tongue:


You will never find me anywhere with 10% of my bankroll… :slightly_smiling_face:

When I don’t know the player, I only call with AA, KK and AKs.
In case it is obvious he is shoving with ATC I might also consider calling with A8s+ or JJ+…
Of course it is annoying to lose to some J2o with these hands, but oh well…it’s just the result of one hand which doesn’t matter at all.

In tournaments situations might be different, but I have no experience in that as I only play ring games.



Me either. I now play less or correction “was” playing less than 1%.

When I moved from low to med stakes I was playing about 50%. I got hit & lost my stack & had to move back down. Ouch! After I built up and returned I was able to tripple up in less than 2 hours & double my bankroll. I found med stakes much better & easier than low stakes.

Banakroll management is supper important. I was willing and prepared and accepted the risk of losing my stack Vs the easy chance to win big.

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Thanks for the simulation & data analysis. It looks like tightening the hand range to just 65% reduced the chance to bust out from 4% to about 1.4%. That seems like a much better management of risk & more acceptable to me.

The 10% was purely to make it know to players how much was at stake. It was purely hypothetical, but a situation I’ve seen a fair bit. As you said your numbers would work for a 20 buyins (5%) and losing 10 buyins (50%). This is close enough &
probably a little more realistic. Personally Im prepared to lose 40% of bankroll MAX and walking away steaming hotter than Hellmuth after a badly played bad beat.

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Thanks, 100% agree. Yes the 10% was to make sure players know how much is on the line & the risk of gambling it up.

I do like love2eattacos range list although I think it needs to be tightened up a little to reduce the possibility of losing too many buyins. It was stated to be 60% favourite Vs any two. I personally want to be more of a vavourite and try & reduce variance a little.

As said this is a proffitable situation & opportunity. I’ll probably play and lose 3 or 4 buyins before retreating to lick my wounds. Losing 30-40 % of bankroll is a massive hit to me.

This is my comfort zone. There is no need to risk or gamble very much on RP & be variance’s dungeon slave. Yeah its easy to grind it & make a killing, but as said hypothetically a situation, arises and opportunity knocks.

Its 100% hypothetical but in these situations its very possible to add 50% or more to bankroll etc. Its highly risky but probably even higher reward if a little bad luck can be avoided.

Thanks for thoughts

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Thats really made me LMAO. The point of this thread is to man up and take advantage of a profitable situation. That being said and joking aside yeah I’ve run away occassionally to avoid this if im not in the mood. Most of the time i’ll stay & profite.

Yea this is a big reason for this thread. Bad results & emotions often dissuade us from making the correct & profitable play, myself included.

This is why I said I dont like calling off my stack preflop with AK bc of experience losing to garbage or just coin flipping against pocket pairs.

If you talk to & watch very good players & pros they will almost always call off AK in a heartbeat or 2.

One note - I set that range up so that even the worst hand has at least 60% equity against a range of any two cards. But since it also includes stronger hands, the range overall has about 65% equity vs any two.

There are some players here who will only go in preflop with QQ+ and it’s fine to fold AK against them. Against players who can also have hands like AQ, AJ or even the odd bluff like A4s, AK is in great shape.

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I think many high stakes players are capable of bluffing with much worse than A rags. Prob a reason for having such confidence in AK. Also they are probably less TILTED & emotionally disilluded over losses when getting it in goodish.

Yeah I’ve called with KK preflop knowing a player almost certainly has AA simply bc I knew the player. A hasty call I regretted and felt I should have folded. Its nuts to be folding KK preflop on RP but against a minority of players the right move.

I made an all in Vs a player that was only playing premium hands against aggression. I ended up in a preflop war with QQ Vs AK and got lucky. Hindsight prob not a good move. I dont like flipping for my stack.

As in my OP I mentioned calling & raising. Basically preflop wars or BINGO. :clown_face: The following hand was played HU against villain with a fair bit of history. Very recent history actually.

Story: So I’ve played villain a fair bit previously. Actually I had battled with villain for quite a while HU to no avail. After nearly an hour of play & slowly losing I eventually lost enough lol & rage quit.

Decided to try a lil Monte Carlo & moved up stakes to 500/1K HU. Villain hunted me down lickety-split & took a seat wanting more of my chips.

Sorry Im not allowed to post the link. :face_vomiting:
Hand #577072630 (2nd hand after Villain joins new table 500/1K)

Villain: plays decent med stakes HU. Prob one of the better HU players. Villain is not passive nor a push over, though not particularly aggressive but will 3bet, 4 bet a lot. He doesnt like to be bullied lol. He is also very willing to gamble & isn’t afraid to get it in.

Hero: isn’t a great HU player & prefers, does well at short hand 6/4MAX ring.

Hero wins the first hand uncontested on the button. After history HU Hero decides to play 77 OOP.

Villain limps the button & calls SB, Hero makes it 4BB. Villains having none of that and 3bets to 12BB. Hero says: “I’ll call your bluff & raise all in.”

Hindsight the 4bet ship of 76BB into 16BB pot was pretty loosey-goosey & I hated what I was up against. It was a coin flip so it could have been much worse. I really expected and hoped villain was folding.

I expect the villains range to exclude premium hands etc based on the limp, 3bet. Hence I expect Im getting a decent amount of folds. TBF I think we both called each others bluff.


This thread was originally inspired from this HU Elite stakes hand played. It was between very high ranked players.

Villain open ships weak on the button for 200M.

Hero basically insta calls weak. Can you guess how weak hero calls?

Sorry I’m not allowed to post links.
Hand #552159305

Villains cards & the result are entertaining.

This is what happens when people no longer care. Villain had been open shoving any 2 cards for a while (not just this session). Of course goofy stuff happens all the time, even at nosebleed stakes - try punting off $500K+: