A 3-bet is another name for a re-raise, and it relates to the number of bets in a single betting round where:
- An initial bet (or big blind) is made
- A player raises on top of that bet
- A third bet/raise is made, also called a 3-bet
One of the biggest mistakes players make when it comes to 3-betting preflop is overvaluing their hands. That’s why we put together this article with the following tips:
1. Preflop 3-Bet Mistakes to Avoid
There are so many different fields where we can improve when it comes to strategy, but we can’t improve at all the spots at the same time. For that reason, you should focus on the spots that happen often and have the biggest impact on your win rate.
How these mistakes can affect you:
- Especially in low stack-to-pot scenarios, 3-bet and 4-bet mistakes can cost you all your stack.
- Losing a high amount of chips can affect your motivation and could put you on tilt.
- Mistakes in this area will have a huge impact on your bankroll in the long run.
Single-Suited Rundown Hands
Single-suited rundown hands don’t hold an equity advantage against almost any range that is typically raising before the flop.
They also have a very high risk of being dominated, both in a 3-bet pot as well as in a potentially 4-bet pot by better suits, as well as higher rundowns. In these scenarios domination can play a huge role.
Double-Suited Trash Hands
Double-suited trash hands are generally overvalued by players, these hands often look so pretty and playable, especially if you come from a No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em background, but many of them simply aren’t great to play with.
Odds are these hands will generally come with low suits, which will often be at heavy risk of being dominated by higher suits.
Secondly, they may be very disconnected. Even though the hand is double-suited, we don’t want to be playing disconnected combinations in 3- or 4-bet pots. You won’t flop as smooth, and when you do, you will often lose due to being dominated by other players with better combinations.
In general, you want to be very careful with Kings, Queens and Jacks, especially if you don’t block Aces with your other cards. Not having an Ace in your hand doesn’t block opponents’ 4-betting range and therefore the chance of being 4-bet is higher.
It makes sense to utilize many of the Kings and Queens that have decent connectivity as a 3-bet. If there is low connectivity, calling a 4-bet is entirely out of the question, as your opponents’ 4-betting range will almost always have Aces, especially if you don’t have an Ace in your hand.
2. Hands You Should Be 3-Betting Preflop
If you would ever choose to 3-bet before the flop, you want to play stronger hands. Hands with better connectivity and domination potential will have a better performance.
You want to be able to stack-off on as many flops as possible. This can be done with high suits and high rundown hands primarily. Think about beating, or at least blocking 4-betting ranges.
Look for a smooth flop distribution, a hand that will very often flop a piece of the board.
Aim high – choose combinations that will be at the top end of the flop, mid-top pairs, and the upper part of flushes/straights.
Questions to ask yourself before 3-betting preflop.
- Am I overvaluing my hand?
- What is my opponent’s open raising range?
- Could my hand get dominated by their range?
- What happens if I get 4-bet?
Think about your opponents’ open raising ranges.
Are they tight and well-defined ranges? Or are they more aggressive with a wider range? Are they raising without blockers or making the mistakes we talk about here?
3. Adjusting Your Preflop 3-Bet Strategy
There are a lot of people who just don’t like to fold. If we face more players that will enter the pot, we have lower fold equity. If your opponents have a no-fold or low-fold frequency facing a 3-bet, your 3-betting range should be tighter.
If your opponents are folding too little, then you can’t be 3-betting too much. If your opponents are extremely tight, then you can consider exploiting them by raising more.
Population tendency is very important as well. Depending on the environment you’re playing in, fold equity may vary, and you should also take this into account.
In this example from our Crushing Small Stakes PLO course, we go through an explanation of how you should adjust when holding Aces against different fold equity scenarios.
Alternatives to 3-betting
Calling is an option when your hand has decent playability post-flop. If you’re in position and your hand performs poorly against 4-betting ranges, you can still call and see the flop without raising the stakes.
If your hand is too disconnected or too marginal, you don’t block 4-betting ranges. When facing a raise, sometimes it may even be best to just fold, and move on to the next hand.
All these elements give you more information about why you shouldn’t overvalue most of these hand combinations and in what situations 3-betting is an acceptable course of action.
When you don’t make adjustments by considering all the elements in the game, you can end up making some serious mistakes.
Prioritize improving the situations that occur with the highest frequency in your game, and never overvalue your hand, regardless of the situation.