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3 Tips to Improve Your 3-Bet Strategy

3-betting, or making a second raise pre-flop, is a skill that you need to master to become a winning aggressive poker player. The problem is that too many people misplay this scenario in a way that makes them easy to read. If you only ever 3-bet with JJ+ and AK, then you might as well play with your cards face up.

On the other hand, 3-betting with a balanced range and a high frequency makes you difficult to play against and lets you run over weaker opponents. By following these 3-betting concepts and adjusting them to your specific games, you’ll crush it in no time.

Tip #1: Optimal Bet Sizing

Most people put in 3-bets that are way too small. If you only make a min-raise, then you hardly get any fold equity. Instead, you should adjust your bet sizing depending on how deep the effective stacks are.

If you’re short stacked, at less than 20 big blinds (bb), just go all-in. There’s not too much room to play with here, so 3-bets are always shoves. If you have 20-35bb, then we want to look more at a 2.7x to 3.2x raise size.

At larger stack depths, between 35 and 60 bb, we want to bet anywhere between 3x and 3.5x the open raiser. If we’re really deep, over 60bb, then 3.2x to 4x is more appropriate.

Photo: BeattheFish

Tip #2: Use Both Linear and Polarized Ranges

Too many people only 3-bet with a linear range, meaning that they only make this play with their best hands. A polarized range, on the other hand, means mixing in some bluffs or semi-bluffs, such as A5s, into your range.

Use a linear range when you’re deep and you get to call often against 4-bets and realize your equity. Shallower stacks will often have to fold when facing a 4-bet. Another good spot to use a linear range is in the small blind, since you have less overall incentive to call. Lastly, it’s also good to use a wide linear range against weak players because they’re going to call too often with garbage.

A polarized range is better for when you have a shallow or medium stack depth and your opponent will do more 4-betting or folding rather than calling. Position is also a factor, as the button and the big blind are also good spots to 3-bet polarized because you’ll have a 4-bet calling range. Finally, if you’re against aggressive 4-bettors, then a polarized range lets you easily continue with value hands while folding out the lower equity bluffs.

Tip 3: Use A LOT of Small Post-flop Bets

Many 3-bet pots have a low stack-to-pot ratio (SPR), so you don’t need to use large bet sizing to get all the chips into the pot. A lot of players are afraid of draws and will try to bet big to price them out, but this means they’re losing tons of value from the marginal made hands that fold instead of play.

Keep up the aggression and put in those continuation bets!


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