LearnWPT Poker Study Session: Preflop Strategy


Photo credit: Drew Amato

There are only a few things you can actually control at the table during a hand of poker. By far, the most important is your ability to choose the right cards to play before the flop.

Knowing which hands to raise first-in with and how to adjust based on position and stack depth is the bedrock of winning tournament poker. Responding to aggression with the correct strategy is vital to accumulating a big stack and crucial to avoiding costly mistakes that can derail your Championship run.

Over the next 2 months Team LearnWPT is hosting Poker Study Sessions for Members to get their game ready to dominate the 2023 WPT® World Championship Festival at Wynn Las Vegas.

For each poker Study Session we'll provide Members with a curriculum that focuses on specific concepts and habits essential for tournament success and our 2nd Study Session is focused on Preflop Strategy!

First, watch the selected Episodes, download the charts, play the WPT GTO Trainer pack, and write down any questions you have.
Then join Team LearnWPT LIVE on Wednesday, October 11th at 6PM ET / 3PM PT to discuss the study session topics and to get answers to your questions.

Let's Get Started...

Study Session 2: Preflop Strategy

Huge Tournament Series like the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas bring excitement and tons of opportunity. To make the most of these gigantic fields and massive prize pools, it's important to have a solid preflop, postflop, and defense game-plan.

Knowing how and when to make moves Preflop is one of the keys to getting a hold of chips in a poker tournament. Since simply deciding to bet, raise, or call based on “feel” is not a proven way to be a long-term winner, it’s essential to base your move-making on a solid theoretical base.

In this Session we are focusing on the one decision you must make in every hand you play - what to do when action folds to you preflop. We'll also discuss strategies such as 3-Betting that will give you the opportunities to exert skill edge against your opponents.

🤔 Send us your questions to [email protected] about preflop strategies and we’ll answer them during the Live Study Session.

Know The Basics: Start With The 5 Keys 🔑

These 5 Key Factors are important for you to think about EVERY time you play a hand and they will guide your decisions on later streets:

  1. Always be aware of your and your opponent's Position
  2. Know the Stack Depth and Effective Stack in terms of big blinds
  3. Assign Preflop Ranges (not a specific hand) based on each player’s position and how they entered the pot
  4. Note the Number of Opponents seeing the flop
  5. Understand the Board Texture and how it affects your next move

Get these 5 Key Basics down pat by watching these four LearnWPT Strategy Episodes:

The 5 Keys Of Poker Tournament Strategy Quick Tips:

To build mental muscle memory for these concepts in real-time, focus on the 5 Key Factors even when you are NOT in the hand. Notice hands that were shown down, you’ll find an interesting trend...

  • The more players that see the flop, the stronger the average hand will be at showdown
  • The more coordinated a board is, the more likely it is someone has a strong draw or made hand
  • Multiway and Coordinated? You’ll likely see the strongest possible hands in a player’s range at showdown

🛑 Know Your First-In Hand Ranges

During the course of a poker tournament you are likely to face dozens of stressful decisions. Your ability to stay present in the moment and focus on the 5 Key Factors will likely decide whether you make a deep run or bust out on Day 1. Luckily there are some things you can start doing now to take away distractions and help make high quality strategic decisions under pressure.

Spend just a few minutes each day reviewing the Game Theory Optimal (GTO) Preflop Hand Ranges. Over time you will gain a solid grasp of each positional range and your preflop decisions will feel less stressful. You’ll free up mental energy to work on other areas of your game and be able to maintain sharp focus when facing tough spots postflop.


Watch this Strategy Episode from LearnWPT Instructor Nick Binger as he gives you a detailed breakdown of which hands you should play from each seat position when raising first-in to the pot.

If you are a tournament player and haven't added these first-in hand ranges to your game plan you are missing opportunities to grow your chip stack and gain a balanced preflop attack. Understanding what hands to act with preflop from Early, Middle, or Late Position is crucial to your success!

Here are a few points from this Episode to remember...

Think in Hand Ranges:

  • A range includes all hands a player may have in a given situation
  • Avoid trying to put your opponent on a specific hand
  • Position, action, and stack depth help determine ranges
  • Analyzing hand ranges is best done away from the table

GTO First-In Hand Ranges - Tournaments

Download a copy of the GTO First-In Hand Ranges

Use these rock solid Game Theory Optimal hand ranges and you'll be well on your way to an award winning performance at the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas!

These charts will tell you what hands to play when you are the first person to put money into the pot at the poker table. They'll keep you on very solid, profitable ground.

Quick Tips For Using the First-In Hand Range Charts:

  • Use the Position Graphic to determine your position at the table and reference the appropriate chart for your seat. Always count backwards from the Button to determine your position
  • You should raise with all hands highlighted in PINK. Do not call the minimum bet amount - RAISE!
  • Your raise sizing should be between 2.3 and 3 times the big blind amount depending on stack depth.
  • Stay consistent with your raise sizing. If you raise a larger amount with a specific hand and smaller amounts with others, you will be easier to read at the table (IE don't raise to 600 with AA, but 400 with 99)

You'll develop Muscle Memory for preflop play by simply reviewing the charts and putting them into practice at the table!

Have Preflop Strategy questions? Send them to [email protected] and we’ll answer them during the October 11th Live Study Session.

Opening Hand Ranges With 20BB Stacks

Grinding a 20BB stack can be a challenge, especially when facing tough opponents or players with huge stacks deep in a tournament. Playing this awkward stack size without a solid preflop strategy can often lead to needlessly busting in all-in confrontations or failing to get max value on big hands due to betting pattern tells.

Adding a balanced first-in hand range for 20BB will bolster the chances of spinning up a stack and getting back into contention.


Watch this Strategy Episode as Nick describes how range composition changes as the Effective Stack Depth decreases and provides you with an easy to remember methodology for adjusting to opponents in real-time at the table.

Note: The advanced hand ranges featured in this Strategy Episode are the result of modifying Game Theory Optimal hand ranges to remove the need for randomizing and exclude some hand combinations that are infrequent in common live poker games.

Download the Brand-New GTO Hand Range Charts!

GTO First-In Hand Ranges - Tournaments - 20BB Effective Stack

For more in-depth hand range study focused on pure Game Theory Optimal (GTO) solver generated ranges and solutions at various stack depths, open sizes, raises sizes, and position visit the Tools Dashboard and the WPT GTO Trainer.

Not a Member? Join for just $5 your first month to watch the full Episodes, download the charts, and attend the LIVE Study Session.

3-Bet Defense in Tournaments: Facing 3x Sizing

Responding to aggression preflop in tournament play is a crucial skill to making deep runs, especially after you've open raised and are facing a 3-bet.

Your plan for deciding which hands to continue with and how aggressive to counter opponents preflop must be built on the same foundation as your first-in strategy to be successful.


Review this LearnWPT Strategy Episode as Nick Binger breaks down the why and how behind 3-Bet Defense in tournaments, including detailed advanced hand range charts* when facing 3x sizing for you to download and study.

The advanced hand range charts featured in the 3-Bet Defense Episodes are the result of modifying Game Theory Optimal hand ranges to remove the need for randomizing and exclude some hand combinations that are infrequent in common live poker games.

Advanced 3-Bet Defense - Facing 3x Sizing - Tournaments

Download a copy of the advanced 3-Bet Defense ranges introduced in this Strategy Episode to defend your 3-bets preflop vs 3x sizing.

3-Bet Defense in Tournaments: Facing 4x Sizing

Adjustment of range assessments based on raise sizing is an important concept that applies most often when facing 3-bets from out of position opponents.


In Part 2 of this series on 3-Bet Defense in Tournaments Nick outlines considerations when we defend facing 4x raise sizing, including detailed advanced hand range charts* for use in your game-plan.

Advanced 3-Bet Defense - Facing 4x Sizing - Tournaments

Download a copy of the advanced 3-Bet Defense ranges introduced in this Strategy Episode to defend your 3-bets preflop vs 4x sizing.

Not a LearnWPT Member? Join now for just $5 your first month to watch this full Episode and download the ranges.

Time To Practice!

Imagine you are in the $40 Million Guaranteed prize pool WPT® World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas. You decide to open raise to 2.25BBs from Middle Position with A♠6♠ and the Button 3-Bets to 3x your original raise sizing.

You call the raise. Now what’s your plan on the flop??

Practice hands in this common preflop tournament spot with the MP2 Open Vs Button 3x 3-Bet 8-Handed WPT GTO Trainer pack and see firsthand the importance of your preflop decisions.

GTO MP2 Open Vs Button 3x 3-Bet 8-Handed
WPT GTO Trainer 201 Ranges

Practice, practice, practice. This is how the best players in the world continue to improve. Make it a goal to play at least 25 hands per day (takes about 10 minutes) and use these features to help implement what you are learning.

See how close you get to 0 EV Loss and high percentage plays!

Save the Date: Live Session October 11th


Join Eric "Rizen" Lynch and Michael "Gags30" Gagliano for a LIVE Study Session on Wednesday, October 11th at 6PM ET | 3PM PT

Make sure you watch the selected Strategy Episodes, practice the suggested WPT GTO Trainer pack, and write down any questions you have. Join Rizen & Gags on October 11th to discuss the study session topics and to get answers to your questions.

Send us your questions to [email protected] about preflop strategy and we’ll answer them during the Live Study Session.


Thanks to everyone who joined the Live Study Session!

Did you miss it? No worries! Members can rewatch the Study Sessions anytime on the Webinars Dashboard.

Tune Up Your Mental Game and Save!

Analysis of Mental Game strategy is as important as any poker technique you can master which is why top poker players trust Jared Tendler to help maintain focus & bring their A-game to the table.

Jared's Mental Game Tune Up for Tournament Poker course is a step-by-step guide to prepare your mental game for sustained success and get you ready for the WPT® World Championships or a series at your local card room.

BONUS: We are giving Study Session participants the chance to SAVE $150 on Jared's course (use promo code JARED150 at checkout) for a limited time, through November 1, 2023

In this section from his course Mental Game Tune Up for Tournament Poker Jared tells you why it’s critical to have a process for preparing to play your A-game aside from studying strategy.

This step-by-step guide to preparing your mental game for sustained success during a tournament series includes:

8 specific training modules with 34 video lessons
Downloadable worksheets to personalize your training
A private community forum
Review quizzes to reinforce your learning!

Purchase this course today for just $499 (normally $649) and get lifetime access to the course videos, downloadable worksheets, quizzes, and interactive forums.

Use promo code JARED150 at checkout to receive the discount!

Find out why the world’s best poker players trust Jared to help them maintain focus and bring their A-Game to the table more consistently. Unlock a hidden edge in your poker game, and start working towards unshakable confidence at the table today.

Review Previous Poker Study Sessions Here!


A huge THANK YOU to every Student who’s joined us for the WPT World Championship Study Sessions.

You can rewatch any of the sessions right now by clicking the links below or on the Webinars Dashboard.

Study Session 1: Mental Game and Endurance
Study Session 2: Preflop Strategy
Study Session 3: Defense Strategy
Study Session 4: Postflop Considerations
Study Session 5: ICM, Bubble, and Satellite Strategy
Study Session 6: Exploits and Intuition

We’re in the home stretch now! Make sure to submit any questions or hands on trouble spots to Ask a Pro and we’ll get you ready to conquer Vegas.

Good luck and good playing,
-Team LearnWPT

Improve Your Game With Team LearnWPT

Whether you are brand-new to poker training or you’re an experienced student this is your chance to learn from world-class professional poker players in a friendly community using state of the art tools.


You must be a LearnWPT Member to access and join the WPT® World Championship Study Sessions and becoming a member is easy! Click the red JOIN NOW button to get started.

As a Member you'll immediately gain access to LearnWPT Training and WPT GTO Trainer packs, featuring 500+ Strategy Videos, Downloadable Tools (and more).

You'll also get alerts and links to the Study Session curriculum and Webinar dates.

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