There’s a significant drop in most opponents’ open raising range from the cut-off than the button. For that reason, you need to tighten up your 3- betting and flatting range against most opponents. Most opponents will open raise from the cut-off about 24-33% of the time. Both 6-max and full ring tend to have similar averages, with full ring actually having slightly higher cut-off opening ranges to about 34.5%. It’s reasonable to assume that because it’s usually opened more often before it gets folded to the cut- off at full ring, that people seize the opportunity slightly more often. In either case, opening ranges in both games are very similar.
When deciding how you will respond to an opponent who opens from the cut-off with no callers in-between you, the same poker thought algorithms need to be applied as in previous situations.
1. How often is your opponent opening from the cut-off?
a. If they open on the lower end of an opening range (24% or less): Keep your 3-betting range a bit tighter, unless they have a really high fold to 3-bet percentage (67% or higher). Keep your flatting range even tighter since they will tend to have decent hands more often than most opponents and you don’t want to be stuck flopping second best hands against them.
b. If they open on the wider side of an opening range (31% or higher): Have a decent 3-betting range, but still much tighter than defending against an open button raise. Something in the range of: A2o–ATo, A2s–A9s, K8s–KTs, K9o–KTo, Q9s–QTs, Q9o–QTo, J9o, J9s. Don’t always 3-bet every one of these hands. You want to increase or decrease this range also based on how often your opponent is folding to 3-bets. The ideal being someone who is opening too loose, and not re-defending enough with a reasonably high fold to 3-bet percentage (somewhere over 65%).
2. How aggressive are they post flop?
a. Against more passive opponents (general aggression under 3AF): If they are passive on later streets, then you can expand your flatting range. Again, the more they open, the more you should expand this, and the tighter they are the tighter your flatting range should become. Something in the range of: J9s+, QTs+, KTs+, A9s–AJs, ATo–AQo, KTo+, QTo+, 77–TT. Sometimes consider 3-betting AQo/TT and any other hands that are on the bottom of this range that you don’t feel comfortable playing out of position. In general though you will be ahead of most of your opponent’s range. Against someone who is opening about 34% of their range, you’ll have a 52.3% pre-flop advantage. Take a couple of hands out at the bottom of your range and you can get it closer to 54%, which is reasonably good pre-flop. Take that same flatting range above, and tighten your opponent’s range to opening about 27% of hands, and your equity drops to about 49.5%. So the bottom of the above range needs to be tightened to account for this to something like: KTs+, A9s–AJs, ATo–AQo, KTo+, QJs, 77–TT.
b. Against more aggressive opponents (3AF or greater): You need to eliminate some of your baseline flatting range and turn those into 3-bets or folds simply because you will be outplayed too often post flop. So something in the following range: J9s+, QTs+, KTs+, A9s–AJs, ATo–AQo, KTo+, QTo+, 77–TT. Hands like J9s, JTs, QTs, A9s, KTo, or 77 should be 3-bet or folded. You can tighten that up even more against really tricky opponents. The more aggressive and the tighter your opponent is, the more you’re going to want to tighten, polarize, and eliminate situations where you’re out of position with marginal hands.
Consistently put yourself in the highest EV situation, and you’ll stay a step or two ahead of your opponents. There are a ton of post flop lines you can take against some of your better opponents to keep them off balance. Some of them also work really well against weak opponents who don’t know how to properly react (see more on this later in this section— out of the “norm” lines). If you are unsure about a situation when you’re out of position, it’s always better to fold then to put yourself in a spot where you aren’t confident. At some point though, you will want to push yourself to take more flops, flat, 3-bet, and experiment with your game in order to grow. Just make sure you’re doing it in small steps.