Three betting in live poker is a play that should be used for
value more than anything else. There may be some rare occasions
where a light three bet could work in your favor, but they aren’t nearly as plentiful as they are online. In fact, frequent
light 3-bets in live poker are one of the most
common mistakes that players make. Learning how to
effectively 3-bet with your big hands is one of the best ways to
ensure that you are getting max value for your hands, each and
every time. You aren’t going to be able to make a monster hand
on a regular basis, so you need to be sure that you are
capitalizing when the opportunity presents itself. 3-betting is
not a difficult skill to hone in and of itself, but it will take
a fair amount of practice.
3-bets are much more of an art than they are a science. There
will be some situations where flat calling is better than
re-raising. Sometimes a big 3-bet will be better than a small
one, and so on and so forth. Experience in these sorts of
situations is what will benefit you the most. Anyone could read
a book and learn what types of hands are generally good to bet
with, but you’ll need to know what you are doing if you are
planning on 3-betting. There’s such a difference between a
player who knows that they need to re-raise and a player who
knows how much to re-raise. If you are using blind aggression,
there’s inevitably going to be a number of spots where you are
either missing out on maximum value or missing out on money
altogether. As mentioned previously, three betting is very much
an art, and the aim of this article is to look at the move
Three betting pre-flop is going to be much more standard and
straightforward than what you’ll encounter in just about any
pre-flop situations. There’s going to be a somewhat defined
range of hands that almost always call for 3-bets, other hands
that are sometimes worthy of three bets, and others that are
simply calls or folds. If you are able to decipher one of these
hands from the others, you are already on your way.
The most obvious three betting hands include AA, KK, and
usually QQ. There are some more extreme cases where pocket
queens might be better suited for a call, but this is going to
be totally dependent on table image, dynamics, history, etc.
the most part, however, QQ is going to be a three betting hand
pre-flop. The problem with queens is that they are going to be
in an awkward position if and when they are 4-bet. On one hand
you have a very strong pocket pair, but on the other hand it’s
very possible that you are drawing to just a couple outs. This
is the primary argument that is made for not three betting with
queens. Of course, there are also going to be plenty of times
where queens are 4-bet by jacks, AK, or other random hands that
are mixing it up. This is largely where the inherent value and
strength of pocket queens comes into play.
AA and KK are no
brainer 3-bets, however, as if you manage to lose with one of
these pairs, there’s nothing you can do but shrug your
shoulders and move on. Sure, you are going to run pocket kings
into aces every once in a while, but this doesn’t mean that you
should be sacrificing all of the money that you would make when
you have KK against kings or worse as is usually going to be the
case. It’s always about playing the odds, even if the 1% chance
presents itself every once in a while.
Borderline pre-flop three betting hands are just a notch
below QQ, consisting primarily of TT, JJ, AQ, and even AK. AK is
a very strong hand, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s
arguably the most acceptable of these three hands in which to
flat an open raise.
The issue with AK is that if you call, your
hand is going to be very transparent and unlikely to receive
action from an (inferior) opponent when you hit a pair. As
backwards as it sounds, you may often times end up in the best
shape when you miss the flop with AK if you had called a 4-bet
with it pre-flop. TT, JJ, and AQ are all of similar strength in
pre-flop play. If the board comes with all low cards and you
only got flat calls from a 3-bet with TT or JJ, you are in great
shape. If it comes with any high cards while you are holding AQ,
again you are in great shape (with a pair or with a continuation
Three betting with these hands is pretty standard, but you
should have a plan in place for how you would react to a 4-bet.
If you are deep, try a smaller 3-bet to give room for a call of
a 4-bet. If you are
shorter stacked, plan on calling a shove.
Preparation is crucial with these hands in these situations as
you’ll find yourself in many tricky spots.
3-betting post-flop is not so much for guaranteed value or
finding out where you are as it is about making the most out of
made hands. Three betting is just the first step towards the
ultimate goal of 4-bets, 5-bets and all ins. If you are being
too passive with your made hands, you are going to run out of
time to make a lot of money from them.
It is very difficult to try and pinpoint the exact times
where you should be considering three bets in post-flop play.
This is going to rely heavily on very specific factors that
change in every hand. With that said, 3-betting post-flop should
be a primary concern when you are either worried about a scary
board or when you are playing
If you are playing against an opponent who
doesn’t have a whole lot of chips, you can more effectively flat
call their bets in an attempt to let the players bleed
themselves dry. The trouble with this strategy is that you need
the player to both continue betting and also to bet enough to
have all of their chips in the middle by the end of the hand. If
you don’t think that this is the likely outcome of passively
calling, three betting is probably the best move.
Three bets in
post-flop pots are best described in one of two ways: defensive
and aggressive. You are either working towards ensuring that an
opponent is not seeing cards for too cheap of a price, or you
are doing your best to get all of the money in the middle. If
neither of these is your ultimate objective, you may be three
betting without any real plan in place, and this will get you
into more trouble than anything else-playing without a game
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