Learning the terminology that applies to hand ranges is a key part of your poker repertoire. If you can quickly identify and categorize situations according to the broader perspective of what a range of hands looks like, it’s going to be much clearer whether to call, fold, or raise.
The first term is one you may be familiar with: polarized, or poled. This simply refers to a range that contains two very specific types of hands - very strong, and very weak. If a range is perfectly polarized, it contains exclusively the absolute nuts and the absolute nut low.
Next, we have the term linear. This is probably the simplest descriptor that we work with. It relates to a range that starts at the top and works its way down until it stops at a specific point. We use linear because it conveys moving from one hand to another in a straight line until the range is complete.
The term merged has a similar, but slightly different application. The best way to use this term is a context where a range would usually be polarized, but instead becomes linear. If this happens, the two portions of the range have merged together, creating a new range. Because the term is used somewhat interchangeably with linear, you won’t hear us using it very often.
A condensed range is essentially the opposite of a polarized range - it’s a range whose only residents are middle-strength hands. This can be applied to a preflop calling range in many spots, or a bluff-catching range in a postflop scenario.
The terms capped and uncapped refer to whether or not a range contains the nuts or near-nuts at any given point. So a standard preflop raising range is almost always uncapped, since it includes pocket Aces and Kings, whereas a standard preflop calling range is almost always capped. In postflop scenarios, these terms can be used in more precise ways.
Similarly, there are bounded and unbounded ranges. These are essentially the inverse of capped and uncapped ranges - they’re ranges that either do or do not contain the very weakest hands.
Finally, a randomized range is exactly what it sounds like - a range that isn’t planned out and includes some element of unpredictability. This happens with players who are far too loose and speculative with weak hands, so we don’t encounter it very often.
Take some time to master the terminology from today. If you can describe ranges, we can move to the next step: identification.