Preflop Planning

By James 'SplitSuit' Sweeney


Download MP4 video - 70.1MB (right click > save link as)

Preflop Planning video info.


  • Type: Concept
  • Stakes: -
  • Game: Full Ring
  • Tables: -
  • Length: 00:37:59
  • Added: 08 August 2011


"Planning" is the next big step up from basic starting hand selection when it comes to preflop strategy.

  • Starting hand selection = choosing to play hands that are generally profitable from certain positions.
  • Planning = thinking about all the possible outcomes of different plays based on your starting hand, players left to act after you, logical reactions from them (and how you'd react to those), and position... then making the play with the set of greatest +EV outcomes.

Planning obviously takes a bit more effort than straightforward starting hand selection, but that's why it's a more profitable approach to preflop play. Furthermore, with practice the entire process will become instinctive anyway.

Preflop planning is basically a more advanced (and more profitable) form of starting hand selection. So instead of just looking at your cards and position, preflop planning includes thinking about how the hand could play out in different situations, and whether you can profit from those situations.

You could just call it "thinking ahead", but hand planning and preflop planning are the more commonly used terms.

Although this is titled as Preflop Planning, this video could easily be described as a video guide to playing before the flop in Texas Hold'em. SplitSuit covers all aspects of preflop strategy, including; opening, cold calling, set mining, raising, 3betting, 4betting, and there's even a dash of 5betting. All of these topics are covered using actual hand histories in the hand replayer.

Decision Tree For Preflop Planning
Example of a decision tree that SplitSuit uses when working out whether to fold or raise.

About SplitSuit.

James "SplitSuit" Sweeney is author of Dynamic Full Ring Poker: Beyond The Basics. He also coaches at his personal website He uses the alias *Split* at the 2+2 forums, which is where you can find his famous contributions to the COTW thread.

Table of contents.

  1. (0:00) Intro
    1. (0:46) Video outline
  2. (1:26) Basics and theory [working out EV equations]
    1. (3:14) Example 1 - 44 in EP. Deciding whether to raise, call or fold.
    2. (7:53) Example 2 - Isolating with AJo in MP.
    3. (10:19) Example 3 - Opening with a dynamic range from LP [cbetting]
    4. (13:35) Example 4 - Set mining with 66 in MP2. [Baby Pairs has a section on set mining]
    5. (16:04) Example 5 - Flatting with AA with a likely 3bettor behind. [squeezing]
    6. (19:08) Example 6 - Planning for postflop - cold calling to win money postflop
  3. (22:34) 3bet planning
    1. (26:32) Example 1 - Outright profit - 3betting with J9s from CO vs MP1 raiser.
    2. (30:53) Example 2 - Profit later - 3betting from the BB with K7s vs raise from the CO. [stats like Fv3BET are covered in HUD Ninja]
    3. (33:55) Example 3 - 5betting - 3betting BTN raiser from the SB with A3s. [ranges]
  4. (36:31) Video recap

Go back to the immense Texas Hold'em strategy videos.


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