If you’re serious about improving your poker game, then learning how to effectively 3-bet is a must. The 3-bet, sometimes referred to as a ‘re-raise’ or ‘second raise’, is one of the most powerful moves in poker.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the fundamentals of 3-betting, as well as strategies and tactics to use when making this move.
The Basics of 3-Betting
At its core, 3-betting involves raising an opening raise when someone else opens first and then continues with that same aggressive line by reraising their opening. While the range of hands with which someone might do this varies person to person, it is often done with middle pocket pairs (like jacks out of position) and high pocket pairs (like kings or queens).
In general, you should be looking to 3-bet with hands that have strong equity and can win against any type of call from your opponent. On top of that, it’s often wise to 3 bet if you expect your opponent will fold frequently post flop and/or don’t play aggressively enough beyond preflop action.
One big mistake players commonly make is not making a 3 bet when they know they should in fear of facing a 4 bet. In small to mid stakes games, players rarely make a 4 bet unless they have a holding at the top of their range (AA, KK, QQ, AKs) so passing up a profitable 3 bet is usually a big mistake.
Using Position To Your Advantage When Making A 3-Bet
One key factor in deciding whether or not it’s right for you to make a 3 bet is your position relative to the original raiser at the table. If you’ve got a significant positional advantage after they open — i.e., if you’re late in position on them — then making a 3 bet can offer several distinct advantages:
- You’ll gain more information about what kind of hand they are holding before committing more chips into the pot;
- You can bluff more often from later on positions since opponents expect less aggression from those spots;
- And finally, against weak players who overvalue suited connectors or other speculative hands preflop, pushing harder late can get these players off their hand more quickly than earlier aggression would do (assuming their folding frequency per bubble increases)
Other factors to consider when 3 betting
Another skill necessary in becoming successful at 3 betting is calculating optimal bet sizing for each opponent’s individual range. This calculation essentially comes down to two factors: how wide their calling range is likely based on stack sizes and how much value they’re getting from their strongest holdings considering current conditions.
In general, raising larger against players opening too wide is optimal. You also want to be careful in varying your 3 bet amounts too much with value hands vs weaker holdings as observant players will pick up on the differences in your sizings.
3 betting most regular players will also give you a better idea of their range for the hand. If they are calling your 3 bet and then checking the flop, they will in general be limiting their hand to high cards and small to mid pairs. They would most often be playing the top end of their range more aggressively and you can attack with C-bets and turn barrels with your range advantage in the hand. Giving yourself a leg up in your perceived range is a valuable, less well understood benefit of 3 betting your opponent.
Learning how and when to 3-bet is key for any serious poker player who desires to increase their win rate. We explored the concept of 3-betting, including what it is and why it’s important to any poker player. Finally, we offered insights into timing your 3-bets so that you maximize chances of winning.
If you’re ready to take your game to the next level, CLAI from Chip Leader Coaching will show you more top ways to utilize 3 betting as well as many other proven strategies.