There is a tremendous amount of poker literature these days on balancing ranges and pot control. I think the sheer volume of what is written leads many players into situations where they struggle to see the woods for the trees so to speak.

One such area is in range balancing and how important it is. If you were to ask me how important it is to balance your range then I would answer that by saying that it depends.

Firstly there is nothing wrong with playing an unbalanced strategy if in the act of doing so it works a very high percentage of the time. Let us say that you are playing limit hold’em and you raise on the button four hands in a row and then get three bet by the big blind and then donk bet into on the flop when you have no hand.

This is clearly an annoyance but the big blind is obviously pushing you around with a very simple but yet unbalanced strategy.

Do Not Play Weak Poker

If you only continue on the flop if you hit in some way then your play is very weak. So your opponent’s optimal play then becomes one where he does not balance his lines. However it is when you go up against sophisticated opponents who are watching you more closely does balance then become more of an issue.

For example if you are playing live then balance isn’t as important. Let us say that you get the chance to call a steal raiser and then decide to donk bet into them on the flop.

In a live game then you may only get the chance to do this once or twice per hour and so it is more difficult for your opponent to put you onto a pattern.

Playing Multiple Tables

But the situation is massively different online where you may be multi-tabling and so could your opponent. If you have a “plan” of calling raises in the big blind with say 40% of your range but then donk betting 100% of your range then you are massively exploitable and your opponent will see you doing this many times per hour.

Even then in online poker then if you are playing low stakes and micro stakes then it probably isn’t even essential that you balance. But certainly as you move on up then balance becomes critical to your chances of beating higher stakes.