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Introduction to 3Betting

Introduction to 3Betting

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Introduction to 3Betting

The 3Bet is a term used for when you make the 3rd bet in a single round of poker (e.g. in the pre-flop or on the turn).  For example 3betting pre-flop would be the same as a regular re-raise.  The blinds are considered a forced bet, the open-raise is the 2nd bet and than the re-raise is the 3rd bet or “3bet”.  We could go even further and make a 4bet or even 5bet (somewhat common in the high stakes $10/$20 cash games where opponents are constantly trying to out-level each other with deep stacks behind them).

Although knowing the exact specifics of when and where to 3bet pre-flop isn’t that important for micro-stakes players ($0.01/$0.02 up to $0.10/$0.25), by the time you start playing NL50 and low stakes games in online poker it becomes extremely important to understand what 3betting is and what type of 3bet or even 4bet range that you should be using against your opponents.  It could even be argued that the different between a poor 3betting range and a solid 3betting range is the difference between a winning player and a losing player.


Why do we need to 3bet?

It’s incredibly important to 3bet your strong hands such as AK or JJ pre-flop in a cash game because you need to get rid of all the limpers and passive players in the pot.  If you have the best hand in poker than you should always be trying to extract maximum value from it.  For instant, if you have AA (which is the best hand pre-flop) than you should be happy staking off with another opponent pre-flop whilst your ahead rather than waiting to see the flop and possibly removing any advantage that you had.

There are far too many bad players online who slow-play KK or AK only to let some idiot fish with 76s crack him open on the flop with a straight or flush.  3betting attempts to eliminate these types of hands and players.  More important, even if you only won back the blinds by 3betting QQ because everyone else folded you shouldn’t feel bad because it is the right thing to do. 


What Types of Hands Should You 3Bet with?

The types of hands and cards that players 3bet pre-flop differ depending on their table position, playing style and how loose they like to play in general.  It’s also notably that 3betting ranges become much larger as you move up the stakes.  For example, while a micro limit player may only 3bet 1% of the time, a high stakes player will commonly be 3betting 10%+ of his hands.

LAGs (loose-aggressive players) tend to have a 3bet percentage of 10% on their Poker HUD.  This means that they will be 3betting a wide range of starting hands such as AJ+, JJ+, pocket pairs, suited connectors and QK/QJs. LAGs can afford to 3bet with such a large range of hands because they are able to read into their opponents post-flop and recognise any danger in the hand early on.  A new player would not be able to do this however, and would probably get sucked into a hand with TPTK on a AQ10 flop for instance even when the flush/straight draw is on the board.

When you are a beginner, it is recommended that you stick to a TAG 3betting range of just 3-4%.  This involves limiting your 3betting hands to JJ+/AQ+ and pocket pairs.  Professional poker players and authors tend to dispute whether AJ or a good enough hand to 3bet.  The outcome has basically been that if you are in mid-late positions than AJ becomes a profitable 3betting hand but if you’re in early position or UTG than you should just be check/folding it.

One of my friends, who is a professionally 6-max mid-stakes poker player ($3/$6) strongly recommend that an optimum 3bet range is around 7%.  This takes into account both 3bet bluffs and 3betting for value in addition to maintaining a balanced range by not having an overly isolated 3betting range.

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