I was curious to hear everyone’s opinions about 3-betting and various raising strategies. In particular, I like to 3-bet (at times with a strong hand like A-K) when in the first position (pre-flop) to potentially grab a pot quickly even though the likelihood of the small and big blinds will defend and call most of those 3-bets. I also like the idea of 3-betting while on the button - again, I prefer doing so with a strong hand, but I tend to play tight most of the time.
Post flop, if I have a good hand, I like being aggressive while on the button whether that be raising (1/2 pot or full pot) or sticking around longer (flat calling) in the hand to get a look at the turn or the river.
Unless I’m on the button, the small or the big blind, I tend to play conservatively when out of position unless I’ve committed a 3-bet pre-flop out of the first position to justify my decision.
I’m curious to hear what other 3-bet pre-flop strategies and post-flop raising strategies you guys like to employ. Additionally, when playing, do you take notes (in the notes tab) on various players and their tendencies? What about entering notes in the “Players Notes” after completing a tournament?
of course, it’s always situation dependant, but i can put some base lines i commonly use about 3betting.
without any reads i usually stick to a tight 3bet range (hands like AQ+ and 99+). this would also be my base strategy unless i know something to do otherwise.
one of the more important ones imo is to merge my range against weak opponents and polarise it against stronger opponents.
assuming i merge my range against a weaker opponent i am referring to a player that is either a calling station or a maniac. assume a player that likes to raise against a wide range, it means widening my range a little means i am still best in most cases (just to be clear, you should only widen it a little because you want to be up front in the very most cases. so you still shouldn’t widen your range from AK to A8 for example. but more something like AJ. of course it still depends on your opponent. if he raises you with hands like Q7s from any position, hands like A8 are still good enough to 3bet with) and another important thing to think about is how much he folds/calls/4bets you when you 3bet. but that is really dependant on the image you have from him/her. if he never folds stick to your merge range. if he does fold from time to time to your 3bets, you can consider to polarise your range instead.
assuming i play against a strong opponent (as for replay i would only count the best range of players here to do that with), i would like to make a more polarised range of 3betting. this is because these players know what and more importantly why they are playing their ranges against you. lets say someone raises you with AJ from UTG+2. one seat later (you) decide to 3bet with 56s. everyone else folds and UTG+2 knows that you know a common raising range would be AT+, 77+ and maybe KQ. since AJ is more or less at the lower end of his range he thinks you think you beat him with a hand that beats his range most of the time. so his AJ isn’t good anymore. so he folds. because of this your 56s has decent fold equity. and even if he decides to call you are almost never dominated, meaning you still have some equity as backup (like semi bluffing).
there are also 2 strategies in which i widen my range even further (both merging and polarising). which is restealing and squeezing. both because you use this at a moment when your opponent already has a very wide range.
assume someone likes to raise widely IP. he raises you from the BTN with A2 (as he is right to do so). this means he has a very wide range which he should fold if you 3bet him. even if he don’t and just like to call, he is way overpaying his bad hands, and you get his money the other way.
as for the squeezing, same theory applies.
as for postflop play: about 98% of the time (not the actual odds) i almost only 3bet when i have the nuts or close to it, and i only play close to the nuts when the actual nuts are very rare.
as for facing a 3bet i usually assume my opponent to do the same. the only exception is when i know he is a maniac.
however i could still consider to polarise my raise here, but i need even stronger reads then i need preflop. and of course i need to be sure my opponent is very strong and knows very well what i rep there.
at last: when someone raises you and you have 15-25 BB’s i usually add this to my push/fold range. of course there are exceptions, but usually it is a very good BB range for 3bet shoving. as usually you can choose to either merge or polarise depending on your opponent.
hope this helps, yiazmat
Thanks for sharing your insight. I really like the advice on determining your 3-bet range (or raise range) based on the type of player you’re playing against. I’ve definitely come across players who call anything. It sometimes throws me off either based on their position at the table or the outcome of the flop itself and I can’t put them on anything. Either the flop is a rainbow, I have an overpair to the board or my whole cards outrank the board in its current state. Usually in those situations when I win the pot, I’m usually puzzled as to why my opponent either called my 1/2 pot or pot raise only to see them fold later in the hand or at a showdown. Once I see this repetition by them and they’re calling all the time with weak hands, that’s when I’ve been more aggressive with my play just like you were mentioning.