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3-Bet - Re-raising an opening raise pre-flop or making the second raise post-flop.

3-betting pre-flop can be a very powerful weapon to use if done correctly. It allows you to either steal pots with weak hands or build big pots with big hands against the right type of players. But on the other hand, if done incorrectly it can become a very costly mistake. Below we look at some situations that you may encounter when 3-betting.


Maniac - A player who raises with a lot of hands and has a tendency not to fold.

The first thing to consider when 3-betting is your opponent. Obviously 3-betting a crazy maniac with junk will not get you very far in poker. Against this type of opponent you would only 3-bet for value and make a ton of money when he calls or 4-bet bluffs. You should also consider what your value range is against certain opponents. Against this crazy maniac you would widen your range and include something like…

If you think of the type of hands this player will raise with, the above range has him pretty dominated the majority of the time so we stand to profit handsomely in the long run. The above range is geared towards a player who is likely to call your 3-bet rather than 4-bet.

If you think this player will 4-bet rather than call your 3-bet then you should only be 3-betting with hands that you are willing to go all-in with. 3-betting with the intention of folding to a 4-bet will lose you money and fast!


Rock - A player who plays very tight at the table.

These are the type of players where you can pick up a lot of dead money pre-flop. Often when they raise they will fold to a re-raise so you can widen your bluffing range and make your money when they fold a decent percent of the time. Good hands to 3-bet with are…

Ideally you want to be 3-betting with a type of hand that can flop something when you are called. Suited connectors and suited one gappers can flop draws which you can continue the aggression with post-flop. The other hands act as blockers so 3-betting with an ace means your opponent is a little less likely to be holding an ace, so you can be quietly confident when you do flop a top pair hand. As you get more confident with 3-betting, you can start including a wider range of suited cards like suited two gappers etc.


The size of your 3-bet is really down to position at the table. You should be 3-betting smaller in position than if you were out of position. The reason being is if you were called, you’d be in a much better shape if you were in position that if you were out of position so we don’t mind it as much. If you were in position then I’d be inclined to make it 3 times the raise at the most. So if you are in a 50c/$1 cash game and your opponent makes a standard raise to $3, you should be looking to make the 3-bet around $9. That is assuming you have more than 20BBs in front of you.

If you are out of position then we want to discourage calling as that puts us in a terrible spot. We would then act first post-flop and it would be so much easier for us to hang ourselves out to dry. It is recommended that we make our raise 4 times the raise as that makes calling more expensive for our opponent so we are more likely to get a fold or a re-raise which is a much easier situation to deal with. Using the example above, you would 3-bet to $12 out of position.


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