Are You Three-Betting Enough?

One way to improve your aggression in poker games is to start three-betting more

Three-betting is one of the components of being an aggressive poker player. Not aggressive in the sense of shouting and screaming at your opponents, but in your betting actions in the table. Those players who control and apply aggression tend to be winning players. The question is: are you three betting enough?

Let’s take a look at what three-betting is before we get into the nuts and bolts of this article. Player A raises preflop and Player B raises that be. Some people call this a re-raise but the technical term is a three-bet.

Low stakes live cash game tend to not have much three-betting going on. These games play passively with lots of limping and calling. Read this article to learn how to crush loose-passive games. Games on the online poker world tend to play more aggressively.

Why Is Three-Betting A Good Move To Have?

Making a three-bet gives you more options at the table. Three betting an opening raise allows you to build the pot, for example. It puts the ball back in your court, too. Re-raising looks super strong to your opponents and will likely get the hand heads-up.

Observing your opponents is a key factor when it comes to three-betting. For example, you don’t want to three-bet light if the raiser like a four-bet. Conversely, you can three-bet lighter against opponents who raise-fold when facing aggression.

The position the initial raise comes from play a role in whether you should three-bet or not. Combining the two gives you a clear indication of who to attack or not.

Three-Betting Early Position Raisers

Raises from early position tend to be made with strong hands. This is because there are many players left to act so you need stronger hands to counteract your poor table position.

A three-bet against an early position raiser screams strength to those left to act. Some players opt to flat call with hands like queens or ace-king facing a raise from under the gun (UTG). They’re scared of a cold four-bet or running into aces. You can’t live in fear of finding monsters under the bed.

The UTG raiser could have hands like 88-JJ, AJ-AK in addition to aces and kings. Three-betting here folds out the rest of the table and put the action on the initial raiser. A four-bet from them narrows their range and lets you know where you are in the hand. A call leaves you with position on them for the rest of the hand, which is a good spot to be in.

Attacking Late Position Raises From The Blinds

Late position raises are extremely common when the action folds to them. How many times have you seen the cutoff or button open-raise when nobody else has acted? Attacking the blinds is a great way to make money because almost everyone folds too much in these positions.

Some players open 100% of their range from the button so you should take advantage. Expect to take the pot down uncontested more often than not by three-betting from the blinds. Don’t overuse this move, however, because thinking players will call and leave you out of position. The could also four-bet you and leave you in a tough spot.

Hands that play well postflop are great for three-betting here. Hands like king-queen suited play well if your three-bet is called. Non-premium aces not so much, these should probably be three-bet folded.

Raising a Small Blind Opener

Players in the small blind raise a lot when the action folds to them. They see this spot as being on the button. It is common to hold fire on three-betting from the big blind against a small blind raise. Why? Because people call and enjoy having position for the remainder of the hand.

Also, small blind raises are usually made with a stronger range of hands. They should still be wide enough to throw in some three-bet in, however.

Let’s wrap things up. Three-betting opens you up to a four-bet but you can’t fear this because not many players like four-betting without aces or kings and those cards don’t come around much.

You will find players start calling your three-bets more often instead of coming over the top with another raise. This isn’t ideal but at least you have position on them, in most scenarios, and having position is king.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.

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