Now that you fully grasp the basic strategy and have played several thousand hands, you are ready to advance to the next phase of your development. With the intermediate strategy, you will learn a more advanced read-based approach to the game of poker built around core fundamentals. My goal is to provide a basic blueprint for strong play, which will supply a foundation that you can steadily build upon as your poker repertoire increases.
You will now learn how to base your decisions on the tendencies of opponents instead of following a static strategy. Pre-flop 3-betting and 4-betting decisions will begin varying depending on the ranges of other players. You will also start tailoring your post-flop play based on board textures, which lays the foundation for a much more diversified and nuanced betting strategy that will become the hallmark of your play moving forward.
In the end game, poker is all about exploitation. Having a strong standard game based on countering your opponents will free up your mind for precise and calculated maneuvering that will crush the competition. To that end, the rest of the book will be spent walking you through every single area of the game. I will provide insights that go well beyond the charts with the goal of providing information that is most practical and rapidly improves your game in a pragmatic fashion.
Before moving on, you should have your tracking software up and running. Until you get used to making decisions based on reads that are specified in the HUD, you will want to ease deliberately into the intermediate strategy. I suggest playing only one table for a few hundred hands while you get used to the new system. Depending on your background, this strategy may take a while to master; but, once you get it down, I am sure you will find that it was well worth the work.
This chapter will walk you through implementing the intermediate charts in a step-by-step fashion similar to how you learned the basic chart. I will once again supply quizzes to give you some practice using them. Make sure you spend plenty of time learning how the color coding works, especially if you have never used a HUD before. As you proceed, I suggest that you put a great deal of effort into reviewing each of your playing sessions hand-by-hand to make sure you are making accurate plays via the charts.
You will then want to read on through the book and incrementally add additional strategic and tactical components, such as the pre-flop calling strategy, to your game. Everything I have incorporated will have practical relevance to the learning process. I made a conscious effort not to include any “fluff” in the book. Some things take longer to grasp than others, so feel free to work at your own pace.
Without further delay, here are the intermediate charts.
x= Any card | AS= All suited cards | AC= All connected cards | ISO= Isolate | JAM= Shove all-in
- Choose the appropriate section based on your hole cards.
- Pick the row next to that section based on the situation. The pot will either be unopened, limped, or raised. For 3-betting decisions, use the “One Raiser” row. When facing a steal, use the VST column. For 4-bets, move to the V3B column.
- When deciding to 3-bet or 4-bet, only shove when facing an opponent with the specified color or looser. For example, if the box says to commit against Gray opponents, you would shove against gray, red, and purple. If the box says blue, you would shove against all players. For 3-betting decisions use the color of the opponent’s opening range and for 4-betting decisions use the color of the opponent’s 3-betting range versus your current position.
The intermediate pre-flop chart is set up very similarly to the basic pre-flop chart. The major difference is in the color coding and stack size adjustments for 3-betting and 4-betting. You will also notice the opening ranges are quite a bit wider in late position. To make things easy when facing a 3- bet, I set the chart up so that tier one hands are committed against all players, tier two against only gray, red, and purple, tier three against red and purple, and tier four only against purple 3-bettors.
3-Betting and 4-Betting Decisions
A strong short stacking strategy is not entirely based on wildly shoving over our opponents’ pre-flop opening raises. However, when used properly, 3-betting and 4-betting accounts for a modest portion of a short stack’s overall profits. In the basic strategy, I provided static ranges to shove all-in that was not based at all on reads. For the intermediate strategy, I have built into the chart different shoving ranges based on the type of opponent you are facing.
There are three basic player types listed on the chart. There are players with a tight range which are colored blue on the HUD, normal range players who are colored gray, and loose players who are colored red. I also added one more color, purple, for occasions when you face extremely wide open raisers and 3-bettors.