I decided to write this entry because I feel like I’m responding with the same answers to the same questions over and over and over about playing in 3bet pots. I think this forum could definitely benefit from this article and it will make it much easier the next time the question comes up to be referred directly back here…..

So what’s the issue?

General postflop situations in 3bet pots. The answer is never the same to any individual question, obviously, but with a little bit of the right type of thought process, anybody can figure out the answer on their own.

So I’m going to use this example of a question a student sent me to illustrate the point.

Reads on villain: 20/13 reg, attempt 2 steal 26, fold to 3b 51

1/2NL Effective stacks 100bb

It folds to villain on the btn who opens to 8, hero holds As7s and 3bets from sb to 25

Flop: 9d7h2c

Hero questions: Is this a bad 3bet and should I c-bet this flop?…

The most important question to answer in order for hero to figure out what the correct play to make is here is to ask himself, WHY DID YOU 3BET? So I asked him… his response was….

"I 3bet because my hand is decent against his opening range and this guy doesn’t continue too often without a draw, top pair, or better, though he does float sometimes with overs. However, since he only folds to 3bets half the time, I think if I cbet there is some potential for him to float me with missed overs, but he’s probably also going to flat everything that has me crushed and I’m going to be confused on the turn."

So did you catch the error in hero’s thought process here as to why it would be a good idea to 3bet A7s?

Maybe it wasn’t so much an error as much as it was a case of hero not thinking through the types of situations he’s going to get into postflop, and being prepared for the ways to handle them.

My comment to him was, "Well, it seems to me a hand like A7s is going to make mostly either middle pair, or top pair no kicker type hands on the flop, and if you aren’t sure whether your opponent is proned to float you with overs or flat you with monsters and you are going to be very unsure of how to react on the turn, the mistake was clearly 3betting this particular hand."

No one can tell you what the right play is in this spot w/ A7s here. There’s just not enough information.

3bets can be one of the strongest weapons in your arsenal if understood and used correctly, so here’s a couple more things this article sparked in my mind about 3betting in general:

You’ve always got to know WHY you are 3betting. Are you 3betting J4s because you expect your opponent is going to fold very often before the flop? That’s a fine play if his fold to 3bet is high and it’s a spot villain is likely to be stealing. It’s super important though that you make it clear to yourself that if he ends up calling, that you should in no way feel comfortable playing tpnk for stacks. You should likely be very cautious and pot control it. (Nor should you be multi barreling as a bluff since if you thought the guy was going to fold, his range is clearly stronger than a standard 3bet calling range).

If you are expecting your opponent to call your 3bet, think about what types of hands you are trying to make. Usually, if you expect your opponent to call your 3bet, you should be 3betting hands like KJ/KQ/AJ/AT/QJ so that when you make a good top pair hand you can feel comfortable betting and getting it in. The thing is, as long as you know WHY you made the 3bet preflop, then you won’t have to ask these questions anymore about what you should do *this* time, since you will already have that plotted out in your head before the situation even comes up.

This goes for getting 3bet:

If you have been getting 3bet a bunch by a player in the blinds when you open OTB, why are you opening A5o this next BTN even though the BB 3bet you the last 4 out of 5 times you opened from this position? I see a lot of players not thinking enough to realize that they are about to get 3bet, then decide, oh well I have to fight back now, without actually being prepared, so now you are making your plan up as you go and have to 4bet A5o without any actual idea how villain is going to respond. Your standard in these types of spots should be to NARROW your opening range and WIDEN your value 4betting range.

The same goes for 3betting. If you keep getting 4bet by a player, stop 3betting him w/ QT/QJ/Q9/JT/J9 type hands. You are wasting them. You have to prepare and widen your 3bet value range so that you can shove over him w/ 88/99/TT/AJ/KQ next time he does 4bet.

In conclusion, most of the problems I end up seeing in these posts are that the hero hasn’t thought about his plan for why he’s doing what he’s doing. He then ends up trying to make it up on the spot, gets himself confused, makes some silly mistake, then asking us in the forum what he should have done better in the situation. In reality, all you really need to do is anticipate the situation that will likely reoccur and adjust accordingly–ways to do that are mentioned in previous paragraphs. Do this and I promise you won’t be in those types of confusing difficult situations anymore.

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