One aggressive play that you need to have in your arsenal is 3-betting out of position. This means making a big preflop re-raise when the open raiser is going to act after you once you hit the flop. For instance, if the cutoff or button raises, you can make an out of position 3-bet from the small or big blinds.
While this gives you a chance to build the pot with your best hands and to get a chance at scooping the pot with weaker ones, it can also be a risky play. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then you can find yourself in difficult spots when you get called.
To play an optimal strategy, we need to start by figuring out what the raiser’s range is. We shouldn’t take the same lines against different opponents because the way that we win is by exploiting our opponent’s mistakes.
Let’s go through three different player types and talk about how to 3-bet against them from out of position.
The Calling Station
If the raiser is a calling station, that means that they call way too often and don’t fold enough. Therefore, bluffs aren’t going to be very good against them, while value hands are even better. So, we’ll 3-bet with a strong merged range.
Push your equity by betting the top of your range, but also throw in some hands like JJ,TT, ATo, or even hands like T9s. If you can make a good hand on the flop, then you can get keep betting, getting calls, and win a big pot.
Against tight passive players, we want to play a more polarized range because they’re going to fold a decent amount of the time. When they raise, they probably have a pretty reasonable hand, so we can’t get value from the same hands that we could against the calling station.
Instead, just raise your best hands for value while also making bluffs with your weaker hands like A5s or 22-55. If you can make a strong hand and your opponent has a decent hand, then you get huge implied odds and can end up winning their stack.
Against good players, we can’t play as exploitatively, and so we want to shore up our range. Narrow in on the best value hands while also sprinkling in a healthy amount of bluffs. We especially want to play hands that flop reasonably well, however, since we’ll need to have equity when we do get called.
Playing vs strong players requires a balanced strategy. They’re going to be much harder to play against, and the best way to attack them is by not letting them exploit us. So, if you do plan on 3-betting against them from out of position, make sure you mix up your value bets and bluffs so that you don’t become too easy to read.