• July 30, 2021

Online Poker Dictionary: Range Merging | Part 2

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A player who is range merging will bet marginal hands as they have a good read on their opponent and expect they will call with a bluff catcher.
In other words, the range of hands bet changes from being polarized (very strong and weak hands) to betting a merged range which contains lots more value hands that can beat bluffcatchers.
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This can be a profitable strategy against players who payoff too much. When playing against such opponents, it would make little sense betting your weaker hands (bluffs) on the river.
Opponents will often call with weak hands as they are confident that they will be able to catch you out on your bluff. These hands that opponents call with are therefore known as “bluffcatchers”.
However, our medium-strength hand actually beats their weak bluffcatcher that they thought they were catching us out with, so we take the pot with that little extra value.
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If you merge your range frequently, opponents will get wise to your game and start slowplaying strong hands as they expect you to continue betting. Therefore, if the example hand above was repeated, the second time around our opponent may well check with an Ace because they will be expecting us to bet with a mediocre hand on the river.
This is more of a metagame problem more than anything, so I’m not going to go in to the ins and outs of what your opponent thinks and how they are going to react to your plays. Just be aware of how range merging will affect the way your opponents play against you.
Range merging is simply taking advantage of players who are trying to catch you out when they think you are bluffing. This article was quite meaty, but I can split it up in to two main sections of learning:
Figuring out what a bluffcatcher is and when we use it.
Learning how to take advantage of players using bluffcatchers.
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Steve Carr

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