[FTR Quick Tip 006] 3-Betting, Part 3: Merging
FTR Quick Tip: Helping you plug leaks in 5 minutes or less.
Opponents who frequently call your 3-bets make it difficult for you to bluff against them. But this means that you’ll get extra value from your big hands. Learn the bets ways to defeat these opponents by using an appropriate 3-betting strategy at your no limit Hold’em ring game tables.
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Hey, guys. This is Mike1013 for Flop Turn River. In my last video, I discussed how we’re going to react against players who fold to a lot of 3-bets, and the answer was to 3-bet monster hands, and also 3-bet a wide range of bluffy hands that you cannot cold call with.
In this video, I’m going to examine how we’re going to react against players who continue to a lot of 3-bets, especially players who continue by calling with a wide range. Now, it seems to me that a large category of players who call 3-bets a lot are not very good players. They’re fish. They’re calling stations. They just have a hand they like, and they’re going to proceed. Almost, no matter what you do, they want to see the flop, and see if they can get lucky, or see if their hand’s best.
Against these types of players, you’ll want to 3-bet hands that are favored against the range that they have for continuing to the 3-bet, and you want to have almost no bluffing range at all. This means that you’re going to be 3-betting hands that you might not 3-bet against a more competent opponent, things like pocket tens, or Ace-Jack suited, that perhaps are better played for a cold call against players who fold a lot to 3-bets, are, in fact, very fine hands to 3-bet for value, against a player who’s going to be continuing with even worse hands.
When you do identify a player with these tendencies, that is, he likes to call a lot of 3-bets, and is, in general, a calling station, you can size up the size of your 3-bet a little bit. You don’t need to restrict yourself to a 3x, or even 3.5x 3-bet. If you make it 4x, and you think he’ll call, or a 4.5x, and you think he’ll call, that’s just more value from your hands, which beat his range.
Now, the kind of range that we’re going to be betting against these players, that is a range with monsters, with good hands, and with some okay, but not great hands. It is often referred to as a depolarized range, or a merged range. You may be wondering, however, if we’re expanding our value 3-betting range, and don’t really have a 3-bet bluffing range, doesn’t that make our hand transparent? Doesn’t our opponent know exactly what we’re doing?
Well, not really, if he’s a fish. Against competent regs, though, who are continuing to a lot of your 3-bets, you are going to want to have some bluffs in your merged 3-betting range. Now, why would a reg continue to a lot of your 3-bets? Well, there’s several reasons. Some regs just feel comfortable playing in 3-bet pots, and don’t have a problem calling 3-bets. Other regs, if you’ve already bluffed them, or just 3-bet them a few times, are going to get suspicious, and they might decide to start calling against your 3-bets.
Another thing that induces regs to call more 3-bets is if they have position on you, so when you’re out of position, and they’re on the button, let’s say, they might be induced to call more of your 3-bets than they otherwise would. Once you’ve identified a reg, who, for whatever reason, is calling a lot of your 3-bets, you can, most of the time, add a few bluffs into your merged 3-betting range.
Now, the hands you decide to do this with should tend to flop decently well, and not be horribly dominated against your opponent’s range. Something like 10-7 suited, or maybe, 9-8 off-suit, or Ace-7 suited, basically hands that aren’t quite good enough to cold call, but still have some decent chances post-flop, in case you do get a call. You want to stay away from disconnected off-suit hands, like Ace-6 off, or broadways that are easily dominated, like King-10 off-suit. This is different from the range we were using to 3-bet polarized against guys who fold to 3-bets a lot. There are a couple of reasons for this difference.
First, blockers don’t really matter that much when you’re up against an opponent who’s going to be calling a lot. No matter what blockers you have, his range is sufficiently wide that you aren’t going to be inducing him to fold enough, that you can make an instant profit on your 3-bet. This first reason is related to the second reason why you don’t like these junky, disconnected hands, which is that he’s calling a lot, so you’re going to have to play a lot of flops, so you want to have the chance to flop very good equity, or make a monster, or hit a board that he doesn’t expect is in your range.
Now, you’re relying on a combination of fold equities to make these bluffs plus EV, the initial fold equity of your 3-bet, and the post-flop equity of boards that you’re going to C-bet, so the amount of bluffs you can get away with depends a lot on your opponent’s tendencies. If you aren’t sure, it’s probably best not to have many of these types of bluffs in your range.
So, that’s an overview of 3-betting a merged range, when, and why, and how you should do it. Now, I realize, my last couple of videos have been a bit light on example hand histories, so I’ve made a video consisting solely of example hand histories, illustrating many of these 3-betting points that I’ve been talking about. Be sure to check it out. Later, guys.