This is an excerpt from Bluffs, a new book by Jonathan Little and Albert Hart.
To purchase the book, visit: Bluffs.
3-Betting Preflop with a Wider Range
Similar to raising with a wider range when your opponents fold to you, you should look to widen your 3-betting range when someone raises in front
This range, containing only the best hands, is referred to as a linear range. Notice this range contains no bluffs. When someone who 3-bets with a range this tight gets called or 4-bet, most of this linear range is often in marginal shape because their opponent likely knows their range and will fold hands that play poorly against it.
It is important to realize that you are not actually playing your specific hand versus your opponent, but instead, you are playing your
3-betting with a linear range is usually only a good play versus someone who open raises with a wide range and then calls 3-bets with numerous hands that are dominated by a strong linear
3-Betting with a Polarized Range
Instead of 3-betting with your best hands and calling with your marginal hands, I suggest that against most competent players, you should 3-bet with what is referred to as a polarized range. A polarized range contains your best hands that can reasonably continue versus a 4-bet, as well as some hands that are a bit too weak to call a preflop raise.
For example, from the button with 40 big blind stacks versus an active middle position raiser, a strong polarized 3-betting and calling range looks something like this:
Notice the raising range still contains the absolute best hands, but instead of containing numerous other decently strong hands, it contains various hands that are not quite strong enough to call a preflop raise. You will find that you are much better off 3-betting with A-x and marginal suited connectors compared to calling versus most players who will
It is important to realize that a polarized range contains your premium hands and your hands that are too weak to call. The portion of your range that is too weak to call varies drastically based on your image and position, as well as the initial raiser’s image and position. Your range should constantly be in flux. For example, sometimes hands like 3-3 and A-T are strong enough to call and other times, they should be 3-bet. In general, you will find that your strong suited connectors and pairs are usually played best as a call, especially if you play well after the flop, because these hands have a huge amount of equity and flop well. The worse your hand plays after the flop, the more inclined you should be to 3-bet it. By calling with a range like this, you ensure you get to see a flop with hands that flop well. If you
Before moving forward, it is important that you understand the term “equity”. Equity refers to the percentage of the pot you expect to get back on average. If you will win the pot 70% of the time versus your opponent’s range, you are said to have 70% equity. If the pot is 1,000 and you have 70% equity, you will get 700 out of that pot on average.
The initial raiser’s tendencies is one of the main factors when determining whether or not to 3-bet with a wide range. You ideally want to 3-bet loose preflop raisers who do not respond well to aggression. You want them to respond to your 3-bet in an
When experimenting with 3-betting with a wide range, you will likely see that you have little idea of how to expect each player to react. You figure out their tendencies by paying attention
Notice that most of the time, you will either win the pot immediately before the flop or your opponent will then play in a straightforward
3-Betting from the Button
From the button and the cutoff, you should be inclined to 3-bet with many of your hands that are not quite good enough to call with, assuming you think your opponent will fold before the
This is a reasonable spot to 3-bet to 375 with a somewhat wide range, including your
3-Betting and Then Folding After a 4-Bet
Keep in mind that if you 3-bet a decent amount of the time, your opponents will start fighting back. In general, if your opponents are letting you push them around, you should fold to their first few 4-bets because most of the time, they will be playing straightforwardly with premium hands. Do not fall into the habit of mindlessly piling your stack into the pot every time you get 4-bet.
Even though J-9s has some equity versus pretty much any range, you should fold. You are not getting the correct pot odds to justify a call. It is important to realize that your 3-bet can be profitable even though it will fail from time to time. Do not fall into the habit of thinking that just because a bluff failed it must
It is worth mentioning that if you think the initial raiser is incredibly loose, but also weak, meaning you think he will frequently fold if you 3-bet, you should 3-bet with a wide range of bluffs and call with your premium hands. There is no point in 3-betting A-A if you know your opponent will fold almost every time. I am starting to sound like a broken record, but you must constantly assess and take advantage of your opponent’s tendencies.
Continuation Betting After a 3-Bet
When you elect to 3-bet with a wide range, you must be prepared to continuation bet on most flops. We will discuss continuation betting much more in the Flop section, but for now, just keep
Your opponent checks and you make a standard continuation bet of 700 into the 1,700 pot. Your opponent folds and you scoop a nice pot. In 3-bet pots, you should make a continuation bet sized between 35% and 50% of the size of the pot. This is because most opponents will react in a blatantly straightforward manner once their opponent has shown a clear sign of aggression. Even a small continuation bet of 700 into the 1,700 pot will result in your opponent folding most of his hands worse than top pair. If your opponent calls your continuation bet, you should usually concede
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
3-bet loose, but straightforward, raisers from middle or late position to 2.5 times their initial raise.
Do not 3-bet tight players as a bluff.
Continuation bet about the same size as your
I hope you have enjoyed this preview. To purchase the book in Kindle, Physical, or Audio format, visit: Bluffs.