3 Bet – What & When?

3 bet

What is a 3 Bet?

You may have heard the phrase 3 bet watching poker on TV or at your local casino and wondered what it meant. A 3 Bet is the term used in poker to describe a specific re raise.  A 3 bet is typically made before the flop but can also be performed post flop. It is the third bet on a specific round. Check out examples below:

3 Betting Pre Flop Example

Player A calls £5 before the flop, Player B iso-raises to £20, Player C re-raises to £65 from the small blind. This raise by Player C is a “3 bet”. This is effectively the third bet, hence the phrase “3 bet”.

3 Betting Post Flop Example

Player A raises to £20 and Player B calls from the big blind. The flop is:

Player B checks, Player A bets £30 (1st bet) , Player B re-raises to £75 (2nd bet) and Player A puts in re raise to £225 (3rd bet or “3bet”).

What Can 3 Betting Mean?

A decade ago, a 3 bet before the flop usually meant a premium hand (Pocket Jacks or better) however, with the evolution of online poker and aggressive poker strategy, this is no longer the case. A pre flop 3 bet now can be given less credence, particularly with certain players.

The context, table demographic and opponent are the key factors when considering what to do in the face of this move. It is now used to isolate weak players, steal the pot pre flop, exploit a player opening too wide, balance a player’s re raise range or just to have the lead in the hand. This is why observing your opponents, taking notes and understanding their strategy is key to winning.

If you know player A knows you are opening 90% of hands on the button and is an observant, thinking player, he is likely to open his range of 3 betting range from the blinds.

When Should One 3 Bet?

Context and history is very important. If you are facing a player that is super tight when facing a re-raise, you can 3 bet almost with impunity. On the other hand, if you are facing a maniacal player who has shown tendency to move all in before the flop and 4 bet lightly. You should be more wary about 3 betting with nothing. Perhaps consider lessening your stacking off range and be prepared to hold on.

Conclusion

A 3 bet is an important weapon in a winning player’s arsenal. When used effectively, it can make you feel unbeatable, particularly when you’re doing it with rags. The key thing to remember when 3 betting or facing 3 bets, is making a calculated decision before the flop. Is your opponent likely to be holding a weak hand or not? If not, you are more often than not facing the dreaded Aces or Kings. Playing the player is critical when it comes down to 3 bets.

This article is just a brief guide on what 3 betting is. There’s far more strategy involved including what hands to do it with and from what position etc. If you are interested in learning more about 3 betting and how to incorporate them in your game. If this is of interest, why not book in a FREE 30 minute poker training consultation? Start by clicking below and we will be in touch soon.

Featured Photo by Tony Hand @mr_t55