May 21 2010

Three Betting Pre Flop

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Three betting pre flop is an essential element in aggressive poker. Without some occasional three bets, the fearless players at your table are going to steal your stack, one hand at a time. To some people, poker is a game where a few big hands determine whether they win or lose. For consistent winners, however, poker is a long term game where the small pots help to form the majority of their total earnings.

If you are able to earn just $1 per hand, you are going to make a lot more money than someone who wins a single $100 pot in 200 hands. Small pots really add up over time, and three betting can aid in your non showdown winnings. There are two primary purposes for three betting, and both should be utilized. Three betting is most common when someone holds a strong hand. This is the most obvious reason, as a strong hand typically warrant a re raise. The second reason for three betting is much more tricky.

Three bet bluffs are made for a few reasons. When a player three bet bluffs, they are either trying to balance their range, or take the pot down pre flop, sometimes both. By three bet bluffing, your opponents are going to be lost when you three bet with a strong hand. If someone sees you showdown a bluff after you three bet pre flop, they aren’t going to automatically give you credit for a big hand the next time you re raise pre flop. This is why three bet bluffing is so useful. Sometimes you are going to get caught, but think of it as an investment for the next time you have a chance to three bet with a big hand.

Three Bet Sizing

The effectiveness of any three bet is largely dependent on its sizing. If your three bets are too large or too small, you could be drastically reducing your potential earnings. Beyond this, your potential losses are going to increase. When three betting for value, bigger bets are generally better. Loose players are more prone to calling big three bets than tight players, so always adjust your bets accordingly.

Since the premise of a three bet bluff is to push your opponents of their hand whenever possible, it is best to make them smaller. If you get re raised, you won’t lose as much money. Bet only as much is required to force a fold, anything extra is a waste of money. No money is going to be made when you effectively size your three bet bluffs, but money is going to be saved. Those potential losses are really going to add up over time, so it is vital that your three bet bluffs do not become so large that they lose their value.

Most players do not pick up on slight variations in bet sizing, so you don’t need to worry about tipping your hand when you alter the size of your bets. Following three betting rules is actually quite simple, the only essential skill is awareness. Don’t make tiny value three bets against a loose player, don’t make huge three bet bluffs on frequent occasions, and three betting is going to be an easy road to pre flop profitability.

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