Polarized / depolarized / merged ranges

  • 22 replies
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
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      Polarized = at 2 ends of a spectrum, nothing in the middle.. in poker it means nuts or air in extreme cases but it can mean a specific amount of very strong hands and a specific amount of air, nothing marginal/mediocre.

      Depolarized = opposite of polarized, from strong hands to mediocre hands, usually way less air.

      Merged range is rather similar to depolarized afaik. It means you have lots of mediocre hands, not skewed towards lot of air or lots of very strong hands. You "merge" all the different parts of your range which are usually strong hands, mediocre hands and weak hands/bluffs.
    • DrDunne
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      awesome thanks for the definition EmanuelC16 i was just gunna make a thread about this. i guess a merged range then is the result of balancing - its hardest to read? i dunno... i wonder can anyone elaborate on these terms much i would really like to understand them in depth. there seems to be divided opinions at least as to what polarised means.
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
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      Originally posted by DrDunne
      awesome thanks for the definition EmanuelC16 i was just gunna make a thread about this. i guess a merged range then is the result of balancing - its hardest to read? i dunno... i wonder can anyone elaborate on these terms much i would really like to understand them in depth. there seems to be divided opinions at least as to what polarised means.
      Polarized is really clear what it means. Merged is not necessarily balanced imo. Balanced means a ratio of value and bluffs that goes hand in hand with your bet sizing so you never give your opponent the right odds to either fold often because you have more value or call often because you have more bluffs.

      Merged just means you have mediocre hands as well and is usually used when betting. If you bet AT on KT345r you have merged your range -> betting a bluffcatcher to get called by worse bluffcatcher like QT, JT, etc.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Thank you for the explanation!

      Could you elaborate on what the difference between "merged" and "depolarized" is? These seem rather similar to me at the moment.
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
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      These seem rather similar to me at the moment.


      Originally posted by EmanuelC16
      Merged range is rather similar to depolarized afaik.
      Same for me. Merged is more fancy to say, I never use it when explaining stuff. I use depolarized since I feel it's easier to grasp as opposite of polarized.

      This "merged range" terminology is usually used when betting. When you bet for thin value you "merge your range". I just say thin value instead of range merging. I find it easier to understand.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Thank you very much!
    • jonnyjm
      jonnyjm
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      Polerized range = A balance between the poles of your range (Top/Bottom, with nothing in the middle. So a Polerized 3betting range might be: AA-QQ/AK + a few hands like: J4s/10-6os (basically hands that are trash and wont put you in difficult spots)

      De-polerized range = Is more deceptive and consists of a variety of direct value and implied value hands. A de-polerized 3betting range might be: AA-TT/55-22/AK-AT/A5s-A2s/98s-54s/KJ-KQs.

      Merged range = Consist of playing spots in the same way with different hands and effectively balancing your range. So say your wanting to bluff in a certain spot you'll be wanting to make sure you play draws or/and nuts in the same way in the same spot (double merge or treble merge refers to the number of diffrent types oh hands you play that way in that spot).


      The diffrence between "De-Polerized & Merged" is De-polerized refers to the spectrum of holdings in your range, where as Merged reffers to the actions taken and playing parts of your range in the same way in spots.

      You can play with both polarized and de-polarized ranges and still merge spots.

      Originally posted by EmanuelC16
      Merged range is rather similar to depolarized afaik. It means you have lots of mediocre hands, not skewed towards lot of air or lots of very strong hands. You "merge" all the different parts of your range which are usually strong hands, mediocre hands and weak hands/bluffs.

      Not quite but your not far wrong...

      You can play with both polarized and de-polarized ranges and still merge spots. As merging is referring to the handranking (draws, sets, pairs etc) rather than the hand value (conectors, PP's, broadways, one gappers etc)
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
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      You can't be merged and polarized afaik.

      If you can, give me an example.
    • Jan217
      Jan217
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      Here's how I understand it:

      A polarized range is generally what most people 3bet with. you take the top few% of hands and add in a bunch of trash. This trash should generally consist of the most usefull hands that arent allready in your calling range (theres no need to use T6o when you can use A4o which has a blockers as well as better equity and playability if you are called)

      If you are up against someone who calls a ton of 3bets you want to depolarize your 3betting range: you throw out all of the trash hands and take straight up the top x% of hands to 3bet with. maybe something like 99+ AJ+ QK or even just JJ+ AK. Definately NOT hands like 45s - straight up equity vs calling range is what decides a depolarized range.

      Merging your range is generally something you do postflop, and mostly on the river, when you suspect someone is going to bluffcatch you with a wide range. Good examples are betting 44 on 3TT32 to get called by A or K-hi, betting 89 on 2789T to get called by random pairs, or betting the 2 :club: on a board with four :club: to get called by all sortsa stuff. Most commonly in the above examples you'd do this when its been checked down up to that point and its very likely that bluffcatchers make up most of the top of villians range.

      There are other ways of range merging like for instance checkraising a TPWK bvb because you know he will think you're full of shit most of the time etc etc...at some point its all just 'poker' ^^
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
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      Originally posted by Jan217
      Here's how I understand it:

      A polarized range is generally what most people 3bet with. you take the top few% of hands and add in a bunch of trash. This trash should generally consist of the most usefull hands that arent allready in your calling range (theres no need to use T6o when you can use A4o which has a blockers as well as better equity and playability if you are called)

      If you are up against someone who calls a ton of 3bets you want to depolarize your 3betting range: you throw out all of the trash hands and take straight up the top x% of hands to 3bet with. maybe something like 99+ AJ+ QK or even just JJ+ AK. Definately NOT hands like 45s - straight up equity vs calling range is what decides a depolarized range.

      Polarized and depolarized is definitely not based on 3betting. You only gave a common example. A range is always polarized or depolarized and both can be but not necessarily are balanced.


      Merging your range is generally something you do postflop, and mostly on the river, when you suspect someone is going to bluffcatch you with a wide range. Good examples are betting 44 on 3TT32 to get called by A or K-hi, betting 89 on 2789T to get called by random pairs, or betting the 2 :club: on a board with four :club: to get called by all sortsa stuff. Most commonly in the above examples you'd do this when its been checked down up to that point and its very likely that bluffcatchers make up most of the top of villians range.

      There are other ways of range merging like for instance checkraising a TPWK bvb because you know he will think you're full of shit most of the time etc etc...at some point its all just 'poker' ^^

      No, again you just gave some practical examples which are just a part of it. Merging your range actually means thin value betting and that's all there is to it. It's sometimes so thin you make people fold the next best hand or call with the next worst hand. If you "merge your range" you are not necessarily balanced as I've said before.

      Polarized, depolarized and merged ranges have nothing to do with the street you are playing like you gave in the examples. Both are valid but are not the only spots.
    • Jan217
      Jan217
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      Yeah I shoulda mentioned that ^^ But I think the best way to understand the concepts is by examples of when to use them.

      I do think merging is somthing you only really talk about postflop though, a preflop merged range would be exactly the same as a depolarised range no?
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
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      Originally posted by Jan217
      Yeah I shoulda mentioned that ^^ But I think the best way to understand the concepts is by examples of when to use them.

      I do think merging is somthing you only really talk about postflop though, a preflop merged range would be exactly the same as a depolarised range no?
      Yeah, true, merging is used more postflop, all the examples you gave are for most common spots where you hear talk about them.

      For preflop though, I think about the whole late position dynamics where you 5bet shove TT only to get called by 99 since both players are aggressive is somewhat of a range merge. I think that is easier to view as a rly thin value shove since you get some folds, a couple of calls by worse and a good percentage be flipping or behind but overall you are making money. It's about the same thing for postflop... you make opponent fold some better bluffcatchers, call some worse maybe not super +EV spot but you up your aggression to get paid off more with your nuts. As a practice I use it a lot, but I just call it thin value betting, not range merging. :D

      I've said it before, I don't think "range merging" is something that simplifies talking about poker (proof that we are still to give an accurate definition for it) so I don't use the term almost at all. From what I remember, aejones was the guy that started the talks about it and most of his terminology complicates poker so much. I sometimes think he does it just to make himself look smart, some ego thing.

      At the same time, viewing ranges as polarized or depolarized in any spot helps a lot, especially if you can see where most hands stand on such spectrum.
    • jonnyjm
      jonnyjm
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      Originally posted by EmanuelC16
      You can't be merged and polarized afaik.

      If you can, give me an example.
      Yeah a good example would be a hand Ben Wilinofsky played in EPT (i've been trying to find a link i swear it was EPT champions of Champions but it could also of been EPt Madrid :/)

      Anyway, the hand was similar to this:

      Say you have JJ and you have gone into the river. The board is: Qs-Qh-10s-6d-4c. Here if you overbet the pot at like 1.25x (so if the pot was 10k, you'd bet 12.5k), youd be polerizing your range here, but infact the way you've played it you are able to extract value from hands that would fold to a normal bet, because this spot would offen be nuts (or close to it) and bluffs your using that info to increase the value of your middle rang (that wouldn't be in a polerized range).

      Don't know if i've explained that very well though.
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
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      Perceived range is not the same as actual range. He is overbetting so his perceived range looks polarized, not because his actual range is.

      I thought you would bring a hand like that up, but those are 2 different things and still think merged cannot pe polarized or vice versa.
    • DeMarcohsp
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      I see it a little different and I'll make my point through an example.

      We called a raise IP vs a good aggressive opponent and the flop comes J :club: 9 :club: 3 :heart: .

      If we decide to raise our range will be:

      polarised if we only raise jj/99/33 and our Axo air hands
      depolarised if we raise sets, some air + few combo draws like A :club: X :club: , Q :club: T :club: + AA/KK
      merged if I raise all my strong holdings: 99+, J9s,33,all our draws sd/fd/combo draws and consequently since we expanded our value range so much we also are able to raise a very good amount of bluffs (far greater number of bluffs than before). Merging means we take an action consistent with all parts of our range, we raise both monsters,good hands, so-so hands, big equity/small equity and lots of air.

      To be a little clearer, vs a depolarized range my opp will usually fold TT as he is more often than not either flipping or beat, but against a merged range he has no idea what to do as I could have anything from the pure nuts, to A9, to pure air.
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
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      Actually the second range you considered depolarizd is still polarized but in a different way. It's monsters and monster draws. Very nutted.

      A depolarized range has a hand like QJ in it's raising range.

      I think the confusion comes mostly from people only knowing polarized/depolarized as a 3bet with the examples Jan gave and are completely unfamiliar postflop.

      Oh, and before I forget: against a merged range TT is an easier fold than vs a polarized range since now you have all Jx, not just sets and draws against which you can play OKish with TT. :)
    • supeyrio
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      Originally posted by DeMarcohsp
      merged if I raise all my strong holdings: 99+, J9s,33,all our draws sd/fd/combo draws and consequently since we expanded our value range so much we also are able to raise a very good amount of bluffs (far greater number of bluffs than before). Merging means we take an action consistent with all parts of our range, we raise both monsters,good hands, so-so hands, big equity/small equity and lots of air.
      thats not merged, thats just raising ATC.
    • DeMarcohsp
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      Then what would a merged range look like on that flop? (ATC= all the crap :D )

      Yeah missed the idea on the depolarized, you put some draws and some Jx in . I was talking about depolarized vs merged not polarized vs merged even though you point is correct.
    • tonybdavies
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      1st post hello all! Started study of poker beginning this year 2012 still yet to play but have deposited some dollars on PS and have my HM HUD and PS lobby settings configured so I'm nearly gtg! Anyway.

      Briefly with my limited 4 months of study and no play as yet understanding

      Merging is the counter strategic response > Bluffcatcher
      Bluffcatcher is the counter strategic response > Polarized ranges
      Polarized ranges is a counter strategic response > opponents folding against the Nuts

      I think the way Aejones imagined it is like this: three ranges where a) = premium range b) = bottom air range and a third range which upper limit touches the bottom of a) and where the bottom range touches the upper end of b) = c) merged range.

      OK, just had a thought. Since the merged range (remember this is a strategic tactical response to a situational event) touches both the bottom of premium and top of air ranges therefore it can be played deceptively yet still hold value. I know it called also be classified as thin-value but the value of thinking about this as a merged range is that it is a strategic response to a situation, whatever that may be.

      How does that sound?
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