Monday, July 20, 2015

The Step by Step Guide to Dominating in 3Bet Pots

The Step by Step Guide to Dominating in 3Bet Pots
One of the most common and difficult situations for people in micro stakes cash games is playing in 3Bet pots. They are often unsure which hands they should be making a 3Bet with. And then of course what to do when they miss the flop and their opponent calls their CBet.

Even more confusing for a lot of people is what to do when somebody 3Bets them. Should they call? Should they 4Bet? What if they miss the flop?

Effective 3Betting strategy is a complex issue because it so often depends on the type of opponent, the action in the hand and the board texture. However, if you want to have success at stakes above NL10 then it is necessary that you become comfortable playing in 3Bet pots especially when you don't have the nuts.

And if you want to have big time success at these stakes then it is essential that you learn how to dominate your opponents in these situations.

In this article I am going to discuss how I approach 3Bet pots at the micros and hopefully provide you with some tips that can help you in your own games.


3Bet The Easy Targets


Let's begin by talking about the easy stuff first. There are certain players that you still see at all levels of the micros who are just obvious 3Bet targets. So much so that the strength of your hand almost doesn't even matter.

You may know that I am a huge proponent of using HUD stats (or whatever information that we have on our opponent) to exploit their weaknesses. Nearly all people at the micros have significant leaks. Some of them are so glaring that it should almost force you to take certain actions.

Regarding 3Bet pots these are the people who: fold way too much to 3Bets and only 4Bet if they have the absolute nuts.

You still see them everywhere especially at the lower end of the micros. Guys like this (all names are blacked out for privacy):
3Bet Pots at the micros
Full Ring
3betting online poker
6Max
Both of these players (who otherwise appear to be fairly decent and aggressive regulars) have significant leaks in their preflop game. They fold to 3Bets way too much (88% and 82%). And they literally only 4Bet if they have AA, KK, QQ or AK (4Bet ratio of 0 and 1 over significant sample sizes). 

Versus players who are this unbalanced one could make the case that we should literally 3Bet them with any two cards. I understand the logic but I don't think that this is an effective strategy because they will eventually catch on and adjust.

I want to exploit their significant weakness here just enough to get the max value but not enough to alert them that something funny is going on. If you get out of line too much they will adjust and play better. We obviously don't want that. 

*For a detailed breakdown of what every stat on my HUD that you see above means, you can go check out my mega article on optimal HUD setup. You can even download this custom HUD for free and use it at the tables yourself.


What Hands Should You 3Bet Them With?


It is difficult to put an exact number on it. However, I am probably going to 3Bet players like this with at least twice as wide of a range as everybody else. So if my normal 3Bet% is 8 for instance then it will be at least 16 against these players.

However, this is still very dependent on the action in the hand. What do I mean by the "action in the hand?" I basically mean who raised from what position. 

It is important to remember that most players at the micros have a very tight opening range from EP (early position). Therefore, it is not a good idea to mess around when they raise from these seats.

But when the action is around the button I expect all players to be opening quite a bit wider. This is because stealing the blinds becomes much easier and even if called you will still have position.

So versus the easy targets that we discussed above I am going to be 3Betting them in these LP (late position) situations with a range perhaps as wide as this:

All Just Below Premiums: AQ, AJ, KQ, 99, 88, 77

All Remaining Broadways: AT, KJ, KT, QJ, QT, JT

All Small Pairs: 66, 55, 44, 33, 22

All Suited Aces and Several Non-Suited Aces: A9o, A8o, A7o, A9s, A8s, A7s, A6s, A5s, A4s, A3s, A2s

Several Suited Kings: K9s, K8s, K7s

Several Suited Connectors: T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, 65s

Several Suited One Gappers: J9s, T8s, 97s, 86s


Here is visual representation of the above:

3Bet Pots online poker
All hands marked in yellow
I am sure that I missed some hands but I think that you probably get the idea. I am going to be 3Betting the crap out of these guys when the action is around the button. If I have anything that is remotely decent, then it is very likely that they will be seeing a re-raise from me. 

After all, I like free money. I bet you do as well. 

You might have noticed though that one certain group of hands is glaringly absent from this list.

Premium Hands: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, AK.

These hands are so powerful that I will actually be inclined to just call fairly often versus somebody who is folding to a 3Bet a ridiculously high amount of the time. It is just more profitable to go to the flop with them and hope to extract some value rather than end the hand preflop and only collect their 3bb open. 

This is not something that I do 100% of the time though. When I am OOP (out of position) I will still 3Bet them on occasion with these hands just because of the difficulties that OOP play presents. Also, if a fish has already called then I will almost certainly be bumping it up because those types of players don't fold to 3Bets.

However, under normal circumstances, maximizing your value with your monster premium hands needs to be carefully considered when 3Betting somebody who folds 80%+ of the time. 


What Should You Do if They Call?


I am still going to be making a CBet most of the time. Remember that in a 3Bet pot a CBet of as little as 50% of the pot is very commonplace. When betting such a small percentage of the pot you don't need to get folds all that often in order to turn a profit.

In fact, if you can get them to fold about 1 out of 3 times then you will break even on your CBet. 

As we can see above, under "FFCB" (fold to flop CBet) both of these players fold more than 1/3 of the time. As do basically all players. 

However, these stats need to be taken with a grain of salt. It is extremely important that you learn how to interpret HUD data based on the situation.

We know that both of these players fold basically everything but the nuts when you 3Bet them preflop. Therefore we should give them a lot of respect when they finally decide to call our 3Bet. And we should also expect them to be extra sticky after the flop.

So even though I will still CBet most flops against these players it is not the slam dunk profit that it is against many other passive bad regs. And it should go without saying that if I am called (or raised) on the flop that I am basically always giving up unless I happen to have a big hand myself.

My decision is also extremely simple on the rare occasion that a player like this 4Bets me preflop. I will be folding every time unless I happen to have a huge upper end premium. And against somebody with a 4Bet ratio over a significant sample that is not even 1, my continuance range is probably AA and KK only.


3Betting Versus Good Regs at the Micros


Now that we got the easy stuff out of the way let's talk about 3Betting versus some of the better regs at the micros. These are the guys who have stats that look something like this:
3Betting at the micro stakes
6Max
3Bet Pots cash games
Full Ring
The players that we see above are the types of regs that you will encounter in increasing numbers especially once you get past NL10. Both of the players above present significant challenges for us preflop.

Neither of them fold to 3Bets all that often (62% and 40%). Also, both of these players have a reasonably wide 4Betting range that includes much more than just the nuts (especially the first guy, ratio of 4). 

There is no magic formula that exists to crush well balanced regs like this.

This is why I constantly preach table selection because it is simply much more +EV to avoid players like this and chase the low hanging fruit around (bad regs and rec players). 

However, as I have also mentioned many times, everybody has leaks at the micros.


What Hands Should You 3Bet Them With?


3betting in online poker
Once again I am not going to be messing around with their EP opens very much. I will often just flat even with my premiums IP (in position) in fact. So when I list my 3Betting range below I am again talking about situations around the button where our options are much less restricted.

If you have read Crushing the Microstakes, then you will know that I advocate a polarized 3Betting range against the vast numbers of bad regs who populate the NL2 and NL5 games.

This means that when I make a 3Bet I will typically have a top notch premium hand like:

AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT or AK

Or I will have something speculative like:

98s, 44 or A5s

The reason why I prefer this approach versus the overly tight non-thinking regs that you will find in big numbers at these stakes is because it allows us to 3Bet them strictly for value or as a bluff.

There is no middle ground or grey area. I think that this simple approach is good especially for newer inexperienced players since it keeps them out of trouble.

However, as I talk about in Modern Small Stakes, versus the tougher thinking regs who you will encounter more often at higher stakes I prefer a much more balanced, depolarized 3Betting approach.

Therefore, I will 3Bet them with all three parts of my range:
  • Premiums hands (AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, AK)
  • Just below premiums and broadways (99, 88, 77, AQ, AJ, KQ, QJ)
  • Speculative hands (suited connectors, suited aces and small pairs)
I will of course just flat with many of these hands as well depending on the situation.

The point here is that my goal when playing against good thinking opponents is always to make myself as unreadable as possible. I will regularly both 3Bet and flat them with all of these hands, and in all situations, because it makes guessing what I have nearly impossible.


What Should You Do If They Call?


So an aggressive reg like this is going to fight back frequently of course. This can happen in one of two ways.

1. They flat our 3Bet
2. They 4Bet us

Let's talk about the former first because that will happen more often. 

When a good, balanced reg flats my 3Bet we can put them on a much wider range than the guys who fold everything but the nuts who we discussed before. 

When somebody with a 40%-60% fold to 3Bet flats me I expect them to have quite a few of those just below premium and speculative hands. I also expect them to be getting tricky with a premium hand from time to time as well. 

I know that they will not connect with the flop anywhere near as often as the nits who fold to 3Bets 80%+. I expect at least as much resistance though because a big part of their plan when flatting me preflop was to try and outplay me postflop.

So we need to devise a much more sophisticated strategy against these types of players than "make a CBet most of the time and give up if they call or raise."


Finding and Exploiting The Weaknesses of Good Regs


So really what this involves is a widened playbook that sometimes involves a check/raise on the flop, a check/call and lead the turn, a delayed CBet on the turn or river and so on. 

And as you might have guessed, the line that I choose to take will very often depend heavily on the specific postflop weaknesses that I notice in their HUD stats.

Once again, they all have leaks at the micros. You just need to dig a little bit deeper with the better regs like this. 

So let's take a look at those two tougher regs that we identified above once again. However, this time we will focus on the postflop stats.
3Bets and 4bets online poker
So this was the 6max reg who folds to a 3Bet 62% of the time and 4Bets very wide with a ratio of 4. When somebody flats me preflop (single raised pot or 3Bet pot) the first thing that I want to know is if I can barrel them off.

That just makes things easy. 

Well, this particular player doesn't fold to a flop CBet very often (38%). However he does fold a reasonable amount of the time on the turn (50%). 

As I mentioned before, when CBetting as little as 50% of the pot in a 3Bet pot we don't need folds all that often in order to show a profit. We know that this player is weak quite a bit postflop and a double barrel will put tremendous pressure on him. 

However, as I also mentioned before, I constantly want to be mixing things up against players like this so that they can never get a read on what hand that I am likely to show up with. 

So as we can also see from the HUD data above, this player folds to a flop raise 60% of the time. This means that I could entertain the idea of taking a non-standard line like check/raising the flop from time to time. 

I will do this with a wide range of hands (not just the nuts) in order to balance my play.

When you are capable of taking lines like this against the better regs from time to time with a wide variety of hands it will mess with their heads in a big way. They will be much more reluctant to play back at you again in the future. 

Let's look at the full ring reg again: 
3betting and 4betting online poker
So with this guy we can see that he will flat our 3Bet with a very wide range preflop since he only folds 40% of the time. 

The double barreling option isn't really there with this reg. You can see that he is a huge calling station. He only folds on the flop and turn 38% and 33% of the time respectively. 
Could we entertain the idea of a triple barrel against him?

Well, we require a massive sample in order to have useful information on this stat. As you can see above "FRCB" (fold to river CBet) is greyed out and provides no data. This is because even though we have 1700 hands on this player, he has never faced a triple barrel over this sample. 

So this is why in my triple barrel bluffing article I discuss how important the WTSD% (went to showdown %) stat is in situations like this. As you can see above, I do not include this stat on my HUD. However, I do refer to it regularly in the popup display. 

If the board runs out well (lots of scare cards) and I find that this player is in fact a little bit nitty in showdown % (low 20's or less) then I might choose to apply the ultimate pressure and shove the river. 

However, making a play like this requires an extremely precise read. And given the fact that this particular player doesn't fold very often to a CBet on the flop or the turn I will rarely be taking a bet, bet or a bet, bet shove line without a big hand.

So let's consider some other options.
The Step by Step Guide to Dominating in 3Bet Pots

We can see that this player does fold to a raise on the flop 57% of the time and fairly frequently on the turn as well (50%). So this opens up the option of several other lines depending on our position in the hand. 

These include:
  • Delayed CBet 
  • Check/Raise the flop
  • Check/Call the flop and lead the turn 
  • Check/Call the flop and Check/Raise the turn all in
If we are IP then a delayed CBet of some variety is a good option to consider. We know that he isn't going to fold very often so this line provides some pot control and perhaps allows us to get some thin value with a mediocre hand as well.

If we are OOP though, in order to find the right line will need some specific information on how our opponent reacts when the preflop raiser fails to make a CBet. The "Float" stat in the flop tab of the Pokertracker 4 popup display is the one that you want.

The Step by Step Guide to Dominating in 3Bet Pots
This is another stat that I do not include on my HUD but I refer to regularly. Sometimes you don't even need to bother with it though. You may have noticed above on the HUD that this player has a maniacal total AF of 6 over a large sample.

So yes, he will almost certainly bet with any two cards if we check to him.

Since this player is so overly aggressive postflop he will probably fire again with weak hands if we call and show weakness again on the turn. So while it is a high variance play (and definitely as fancy as it gets), given this read we could destroy this player with the old check/call the flop and check/ship the turn line. 

It would of course be highly preferable to have some sort of equity when taking a line like this. Because you will of course get called once in awhile. There is nothing worse in the world than getting hero called here and finding out that you are drawing dead.

You need to have a very precise read in order to attempt a play like this. Please do not go start check/shipping every turn in 3Bet pots versus regs because you read about it on blackrain79.com!


What Should You Do If They 4Bet You?


Let's talk about the final scenario now where a decent regular 4Bets us preflop. As we noted before, with good regulars who have a 4Bet ratio of 2, 3 or 4 we can expect them to show up with a lot more than aces and kings.

It is important to note however that a big part of their range is still for value. We don't want to start shipping in stacks every time with pocket 9's. So most of the time you should in fact still just be folding.

However, once somebody's 4Bet ratio reaches 3, 4 or higher you would definitely be making a mistake by only shoving with premium hands. They have enough bluffs in their range that we should also be 5Bet shipping "light" on occasion as well.

What hands should you do this with?

Ax Hands: A5s, AJo 
Mid Pairs: 88, 99, TT

Ax hands are good to shove with because you will literally always have some kind of equity unless they have AA. 

For instance:
poker 3betting
Since we have an ace the chances of them having one as well are low. And it is even more unlikely that they will have an ace that is worth calling off their stack with. But even in this scenario we still aren't drawing dead by any means.

poker 4betting
Mid pairs are also a decent hand to choose because often when they call we will be flipping versus two overs. It is pretty hard for them to have a higher pair. 

Kx hands, broadways and suited connectors are definitely the types of hands that you will want to avoid shoving with because you will often have very poor equity if the stacks go in. 

Please note that sample size is insanely important here. 

I would not put any reliance on 4Bet stats unless you have at least 1k hands on your opponent. Therefore, 5Bet shipping light should only ever be done against regs who you have a lot of history playing against.

Also, as mentioned, I am only ever doing this versus the extremely aggressive regs who have a wide 4Bet bluffing range.

You probably won't see too many players like this until NL25 and even there they are still rare. If you play at NL10 or below I would suggest that you not even think about shoving light versus anybody right now.


What Should You Do If Somebody 3Bets You? 


3betting and 4betting micro stakes poker
You may have noticed that so far throughout this article I have only focused on situations where we are the ones doing the 3Betting. What about all of the times when somebody 3Bets us though?

This of course will happen very often especially as you move up the micros.


1. The 3Bet Comes When We Open in EP

Well for starters, we need to be aware of the action in the hand once again. As I discussed above, we should be careful with messing around with regs when they open in EP.

Well, I think we should assume that most regs are thinking the same thing about us as well. 

Even if only on an instinctive level, most of the bad regs will understand that people tend to have a tighter range when they open from EP. The good regs of course will certainly be aware of this.

So generally speaking, when you open in EP and a reg 3Bets you (from where ever) the alarm bells should be going off. They probably have something decent to great a lot of the time.

No, that 18 tabling nit didn't decide to mess with your UTG open out of the blue! He is in fact turning his hand face up and politely letting you know that he has a monster.

So most of the time I will just be folding my small and mid pairs as well as my weaker broadways and weaker aces. Position certainly does play a role here. I will be more inclined to call if they 3Bet me from the blinds. 

However, on the whole, I will give most regs quite a bit of respect in a spot like this. This is especially the case at a full ring table.


2. The 3Bet Comes When the Action is Around the Button

When the action in the hand is around the button though it is a whole different story. It will also very much depend on how 3Bet happy they are. 

Situation specific 3Bet stats in the popup display are useful here but as a general rule when you see somebody with an overall 3Bet% of:
  • 5 or more in Full Ring
  • 6 or more in 6Max
Then it is probably safe to say that they have a decent number of "light" holdings in their range alongside their value hands. 

This ratio obviously changes considerably the higher that their 3Bet% is. For instance, once someone's 3Bet% starts approaching double digits it is definitely safe to say that there are quite a few more bluffs and speculative holdings than value hands in their range.


Flatting The 3Bet and Playing Back Postflop


So once somebody 3Bets us we of course have two options:

1. Flat the 3Bet
2. 4Bet them

...

3. Ok I lied. We could fold as well. But where is the fun in that?

You should of course be choosing option #3 a lot of the time. However, there isn't much to talk about when we fold so let's move on to flatting the 3Bet.


1. Position is Hugely Important

Flatting a 3Bet when you do not have the nuts and playing back at them in the right spots is made infinitely easier when you get to act last after the flop, turn and river. You get to see what they do first on every single street. You can then choose to float, raise or bet given the board texture and what the HUD data is telling you about their specific weaknesses.

So I will be quite a bit more inclined to flat a 3Bet preflop if I am in position. If I am out of position, then I will be more inclined to take the 4Bet line which I will discuss shortly. 


2. Taking the Pot Away

So as you might have guessed the line that I choose to take postflop will once again heavily depend on any specific weaknesses that I see in my opponent's game. They all have them at these limits as we have seen multiple times already. 

Let's look at another decent reg and break down the best line of attack as the preflop caller.
micro stakes 3betting
Full Ring
So you can see here that we have a typical aggressive reg that you will encounter plenty at the upper end of the micros. He has a 6% 3Bet which is pretty solid for full ring. 

When you flat a 3Bet the first thing that you should always look at are the CBet by street stats. You can see with this particular opponent that he is 80, 54 and 100 respectively.

Now it is important to keep in mind that these numbers are for single raised pots only. You can pull up the popup display and find the numbers for 3Bet pots if you want. However, I find that most people tend to play similarly in both situations especially if they have a reasonably wide 3Betting range, which this player does.

So what jumps out with these numbers?

If you guessed the big drop between the flop CBet% and the turn CBet% you would be right. You can also notice that he folds 67% of the time so far to a float bet on the turn. 

So the line that immediately makes the most sense against this particular player is to float the flop and then bet when he checks to us on the turn. 

I want to make it clear that I am by no means doing this every single time. It really is important that you fold a good chunk of the time as well especially when you have nothing at all. 

But calling 3Bets preflop and then only continuing when you hit top pair or a good draw is a good way to burn through money really fast. So I will be frequently looking to take the pot away if I have any equity at all (i.e., two overs, a gutshot). 


4Betting and Playing For Stacks

micro stakes 4betting
Say hello to my little friend!

So let's look at the very final scenario now. We get 3Bet by an aggressive reg yet again. We are OOP so the flatting option does not seem very appealing. We know that this guy is out of line so we decide to put in the 4Bet. 

It is time to go to war. 

It is important that once you get to about NL25 that you add a 4Bet bluffing element to your game.

Please don't get me wrong. Bluffs should still represent a very small portion of your overall 4Betting range. 

So you should be happy calling off your stack the large majority of the time when your opponent decides to make the 5Bet.

However, with the amount of 3Betting that goes on with some regs these days at the upper end of the micros you simply can't just lay down and die every time. The beauty of 4Betting is that it draws a line in the sand and basically forces them to have a real hand in order to continue.

So what hands do we want to be 4Bet bluffing with?

Well, usually something that I don't mind throwing away to a shove and which blocks a bunch of high cards. So a hand like Ax once again or even some broadway hands like KQ, KJ or QJ. I am never calling a shove with any of these, I just want them to fold. And it is a little bit less likely that they will have the big ace or pair to shove with since I have blockers to those in my own hand.


3Bet Pots Versus Recreational Players


I have talked about regs, and especially good regs, throughout this entire article. However, I would be remiss not to mention at least something about the players who are the entire reason why you should be playing poker.

If you have read my blog before, watched my videos or read either of my books then you will know that I am constantly preaching the importance of table selection in today's games. I wrote the "Ultimate Guide" to it after all. 

The best way to "crush" a good reg is to not play against them in the first place! Go chase the fish and the bad regs around and watch your win rate skyrocket.

So let's talk about recreational players in particular. How should we approach playing 3Bet pots against them?

Well, as usual it is a little bit all over the place because there is no rhyme or reason behind their play a lot of the time. The action in the hand will not matter for instance. If they 3Bet your EP open it is not nearly the same thing as if a reg does this. 

This is because fish have no concept of stuff like position and ranges at the poker table. They don't know what these terms even mean and they don't care either. They just play the game for fun. 

Most recreational players will have stats that look something like this:
micro stakes 3bet pots
Now the first thing that will jump out here is that this player (like most rec players) has a very low 3Bet% of just 2. However, the thing with fish is that the hands they choose to make a 3Bet with will sometimes be completely random. 

For instance, sometimes out of nowhere they will decide that it is a good idea to make a 3Bet with a hand like A2, QT, 66 or T8. 

Don't get me wrong. They will also have the big value hands like AA, KK, QQ and AK a lot as well. But they also like to slowplay these hands quite a bit too. So a decent chunk of their 3Betting range will just be some random nonsense.

The other thing about recreational players is that they are so incredibly profitable to play against postflop. These guys lose money at an incredible pace because they do stuff like this all the time:
  • Slowplay their big hands
  • Min bet 
  • Make ridiculous hero calls
  • Overvalue all draws
  • Overvalue top pair
  • Never, ever fold an overpair
And on and on.

Basically our implied odds are through the roof when seeing a flop with a player like this. Furthermore, often their preflop 3Bet is undersized.

For instance: 

We make it 30c to go at NL10 and they make it 70c instead of the more standard $1 or so. This not only gives us a much better price to get involved but it keeps the stacks deeper after the flop which gives us a lot more maneuverability. 

So I will be much more inclined to call a 3Bet (even OOP) versus a recreational player with all sorts of speculative hands. I know that they will frequently make colossal mistakes after the flop and therefore my slightly "loose" calls preflop will get paid off in a big way.


Final Thoughts


3Betting is a very complex topic. I could really only scratch the surface in this article and it is already the longest post in the history of this website (5k+ words). So I want to thank you for reading if you got to this point!

Here is what I hope will be your biggest takeaway from this article:

The key to dominating in 3Bet pots is understanding who your opponent is and finding their specific weaknesses both before the flop and after it. This is why I am such a big proponent of effective HUD use because it provides us with the information that we need to do just that. 

Lastly, make sure to pick up my free ebook which will teach you the strategy that I have used to crush the micro stakes for some of the highest winrates in online poker history.


Let me know in the comments below how you approach 3Bet pots versus the regs or recreational players. Are there some specific situations that are giving you problems?

If you found this article helpful please "Like" or "Tweet" it below!

The Step by Step Guide to Dominating in 3Bet Pots

39 comments:

  1. Holy crap

    That is one BIG post!

    Keep 'em coming Nathan, thanks!

    Thanos from Greece

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was wondering why it took you such a long time to write this one, the guide on how to play 3bet pots we've all been waiting for. Great job! Gonna try some of the things you point out to see how it goes. Thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jorge. I have never written about 3Betting before on this website and people have been asking about it for a long time. So I wanted to write the best article I could on it. This one definitely took more time than most haha. Hope it helps though!

      Delete
  3. great blog Nathan, 5 betting ligh(ish) against villains who have high 4 bet ratio is something iv just started to experiment with, its actually quite fun, my only problem is i cant resist showing them the bluff :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, ya it can be tempting for sure. The great thing about 5Bets is that it is pretty much impossible to get info on how often somebody is shoving. So I prefer to always keep them thinking that I have it every time. Sometimes I will even tell them good laydown etc.

      Delete
  4. Good post. I read it all, but I did have to take a break in the middle to get a quick fix of Candy Crush. I like easy games. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey Nathan. Just found your blog a couple days ago. supper informative articles and posts on here. Would like to ask you some questions. Can I reach you through emails?

    Great job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Winn! Yup no prob, you can email me at blackrain79@dragthebar.com

      Delete
  6. Hello Nathan, thank you so much for this superb article.

    I have a question about 3betting the easy targets which is: aren't we turning "All Just Below Premiums: AQ, AJ, KQ, 99, 88, 77" into bluffs when we 3bet them against these kind of opponents?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dcqq!

      Good question. You probably could flat with these hands sometimes if you want as well especially when IP in order to get some additional value. I don't really think that we are turning them into bluffs. The two "easy targets" in this article for instance have an attempt to steal the blinds of 31 and 38 respectively. Therefore, all of these just below premium hands would clearly be ahead of much of their range which makes the 3Bet for value.

      Delete
  7. When you say you only 3bet top notch premium hands like TT-AA/AK, do you consider TT and JJ as premium hands even in Full Ring?

    ReplyDelete
  8. tl;dr
    just kidding!
    great post Nathan. I can definitely use the tips on playing against 3bets.

    unrelated - how can I get a copy of Massive Profits at the Micros if I am already a subscriber to the newsletter?

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    1. Hehe thanks ekw! You can just send me a quick email and I will send you a copy, blackrain79@dragthebar.com

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  9. Hello, Nathan. Great post!
    I have a question; I hope it is not too late. I observed that it is very common that players nowadays 3bet the CO from the BTN, especially at the NL10 and NL25. It is the latest fashion, just like calling EP with AA, KK and then reraising was in the past. For this reason, when I just sat and I have, let’s say, QJs and an unknown 3bets my CO raise from the BTN, many times I 4bet them. I tried to write this in a forum, and they say this is absurd, because 3betting against the CO is not very common.

    What is your opinion on this? Do you think this is not a trend, and actually 4betting them is dangerous or is it ok?

    Again thanks for the great post.

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    1. Thanks Leonardo. I think you are right and they are wrong in the forum. BTN 3Betting the CO is indeed very common at these stakes these days. I think you have three options.

      1. Leave the table
      2. Tighten up
      3. 4Bet more

      I think you should use a mix of all three. Unless you have direct position on a fish there is no point to have a good TAG or LAG on your left 3Betting the heck out of you. If you do stay they you should be a bit more selective in your opening range but also 4Bet a little bit wider.

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  10. My Other doubt is if MP in 6 max It would be more appropriate to consider it LP or EP according to the classification that you showed?

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  12. I'm having doubts about 3 bet vs EP against good regs:

    Do you think in IP with the top premium cards (AA, KK, QQ, AK) is not worth to 3 bet? Or even with these premiums cards still worth more call?

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    1. You should balance your range against good regs so you should be doing both (flatting and 3Betting).

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  13. Hi Nathan ! Awesome post !! ( I'm a little late , no ? ^^ ) I just started to study your article , and I have a question :

    -When it's about flatting a 3bet , are you put more importance in the conditions of the hand ( position , "vilan" 's range , image etc .. ) than the hand you actually hold ? Or do you have a certain range of flatting ?

    After thinking about it , I would just have a range a little tigher than my "RIF" 's range ( because of the size of the pot ) but keep some light hand like 8T's for exemple .

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    1. It depends on the villain more than anything but I am not going to flat with total crap. It has to be something that is somewhat playable.

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    2. Ok ok ! Thanks for your time ! :) :)

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  14. Hi BlackRain. I allways used the stats Fold to PF 3bet instead of "fold to PF 3bet after raising".
    Which is the difference and why for you is important to see/read the one used into your HUD? Thanks!

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    1. "Fold to PF 3Bet after Raising" means the percentage of the time that they folded to a 3Bet and they were the original raiser. "Fold to PF 3Bet" on the other hand means the percentage of the time that they folded to a 3Bet whether they opened the pot or not. The former stat is more concise and provides much more useful information in my opinion.

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  15. Yeah, surely. In fact on my current room I really dont find one single player with Fold to PF 3Bet after Raising" >70
    Anyway when I see one with "Fold to PF 3bet" >80 I 3bet near to ATC.

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  16. hello, very great article ! I take so many note for my game, thanks <3

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  17. Great article and easy to read, the only thing missing is how do you play postflop if you've 3betted which seems to be like a loose aggro preflop but only have like 20 hands on him and almost no stats postflop. Last time I 3betted AQo in the bb with the vilain on btn, I cbet the flop he call, I check turn and he bet, I fold and try not to hit my keyboard.

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    2. Thanks! This is the longest post in the history of my website and took a very long time to write. So I couldn't go into postflop without literally writing another book. Good idea for a sequel post in the future though!

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  18. same person, his vpip was something like 36/30 and was stealing the blinds often

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  19. Good post man, for some reason just now I read it. I would say that the overall concepts carry on even at midstakes, good material here!

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  20. hey great post but you are heavily focused on stats.. i would like more on playing the board, put ranges board textures and equities in the equation

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