The idea of a player “limiting” their hand range is a critical hand reading concept. The basic idea is this: Anyone who has a very strong hand wants to get money in the pot. They’ll be looking for an opportunity to do that. If your opponent bypasses one or more excellent opportunities to go for value, particularly on the turn and river, they have effectively denied having a very strong hand.
Put more simply, if your opponent keeps checking and calling, eventually you can be fairly sure they don’t have the nuts. They have “limited” the strength of their hand. Use can use that knowledge against them.
Here’s a hand I played recently where I used my opponent’s limited range to identify a profitable bluffing opportunity.
I was in a live $2-$5 game. One player limped in under the gun, and then a tight, but generally not too aggressive, player made it $25 to go. (This raise size was typical for the game, and I thought my opponent could have a range of hands that included big and medium pocket pairs, big-card hands such as A-T and K-Q, and possibly suited connectors or suited aces.) Two loose players called, and I called on the button with 9 9 . The blinds and the limper folded. We were four-handed to the flop in a $112 pot.
The flop came A J 5 . The preflop raiser bet $45, the two loose players folded, and the action was on me.
Tags: Hand Reading, limiting calls, no-limit-holdem, poker, turn play