Range merging or merging your range is a term that you will come across more than often if you’re a blog reader or if you talk a lot about poker.
In simple terms, Range merging is when you bet on the river with a medium strength hand making your opponent believe that you have a very strong hand or bluffing. Therefore, you are enticing your opponent to call the bet with his bluffcatchers. The reason behind this is that your medium strength hand is already ahead of your opponent’s bluffcatchers, meaning it allows you to extract thin value on a lot of occasions.
A bluffcatcher is a hand with which you wouldn’t bet, because it’s not strong enough. However you would certainly consider calling a bet with it if you are suspicious that your opponent is bluffing.
By merging your range your opponent is likely to look you up with weaker hands and other pocket pairs. This is because he believes that your range is polarized (that is you are only betting with the nuts and air). There is obviously additional added value to merging your range, as opponents are likely to call value bets in later pots where you have a strong hand (in situations where they assume that you are “merging” again).
One thing to remember is that if you do this very often then players will adjust and start slow playing their strong hands as they expect you to merge again. This is of course more of a meta game situation than anything else, but it is of course important to be aware of how your opponent thinks and adjusts to the way you play!
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