3 Bet – What & When?

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. Image Source: Unsplash

Re-Raise Early Position Opens

A Tricky Re-Raise Against Early Position

When was the last time you 3 bet an early position raise with junk? How many times in your last session? This move is heavily underused these days and barely discussed. But, there is a lot to be said for putting in a re-raise again an early position open, from an active player. I find this play to be one of the most profitable pre flop moves available at the moment.

Why Bother Re-Raising?


Most good thinking players have opened their game up. They are quite liberal opening from anywhere on the table these days, even early position. A good player will be opening suited connectors and suited aces from early position. Strong players open-raise these because they are hands with great play-ability and equity, even multi-way. They are representing something stronger so it fits in line with stories told post flop.

The great thing about players opening wider from early position is the opportunity to 3 bet them without resistance. They won’t hesitate to fold pre flop when facing a re raise as they no longer have the lead in the hand and want to play in position. The best way to counter this strategy is to simply re raise and pick it up before the flop. This works very well against the good players, and when you are in position in the hand. 

The weak players will often open raise wide pre flop too. Weak players will occasionally call the re-raise but then fold unless they flop something. A continuation bet is usually all that is needed to win the pot.

Either way, the strategy is effective against both types of player. The key component is that your opponent has shown a willingness to open wide from early position.

poker cheat sheet

When is a Good Time to Re Raise?


You can do this at any point in a tournament. Please make sure you and your opponents have sufficient stack sizes. It’s important you are not committed for lots of chips. It’s usually a good idea to do this with hands that have poor equity or showdown value. That way you know you are not losing anything if you get 4 bet and you are unlikely to get stubborn post flop. You know you are playing this as a bluff. It’s ok to do it with ace rag too as this has some blocker value. 

I don’t recommend doing this with hands that play well post flop as much as you should be more inclined to play post flop with these hands, particularly in position.

This strategy was demonstrated recently in a low stakes MTT on PokerStars.  I made a point of trying to find as many opportunities to re-raise pre flop, in position. It’s quite fun to employ this strategy and very effective!

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