3bet pots and You: A quick guide on optimal lines
3bet pots and you: How to get the most value out of our hands
A little bit about me:
400nl grinder on US sites, live anywhere from 1/3-5/10 recently. Anyone who wants to know results can check my thread, but I think they speak for themselves. I’ve beaten every limit over a 40k+ hand sample minimum from 5nl-400nl. Most of my samples are bigger, but just to put it into perspective, I believe my results qualify me to write something along these lines is all.
Before we dive into this post, a few things should be established first.
1. This is for 3bet pots.
2. This is assuming 100 bb stacks or close to.
3. This can vary. I understand no primer is going to be perfect since situations are literally almost never the exact same in poker, if not ever. Think of this as a tool in the toolbox of beating micro-stakes poker. This won’t necessarily make you a winning player, but it is one of the steps needed to become a winner…that being playing well postflop in 3b pot situations.
I’m not going to break down the basics of what is a 3b pot, what range should we be 3betting, etc. Its been done before and if you’re interested, you can read about it.
Final assumptions for problems:
1. This is 25nl
2. Villains change as described
First up: “Standard Value Line”
-Villain (no reads, unknown) 100bbs. Villain raises to 3x in CO, folds to Hero in BB, who 3bets to 11 bbs with AKs, Villain flats.
Flop: A73r (pot 22.5 bbs)
Question: How should we proceed?
Answer: It depends
We realistically have 2 options here. We can check or we can bet. There are positives and negatives to both actions, but let’s examine some basic facts.
First, we have an SPR of roughly 4/1 (89 bb stack: 22 bb pot) This gives us some room to maneuver. If we have an SPR of 1:1 (100 bb stack: 100 bb pot), it’s almost always going to be a GII except in extreme situations. However, 4/1 leaves us some room, therefore we have multiple options.
-Personally, I think the decision on whether to bet vs an unknown here is highly dependent on what limit one is playing. At super micros, like 25nl and below, I’m cbetting this 100%. I think villains can be bad enough to flat 3b’s w/ Ax, SC’s like 7x, maybe even 34, 23, etc. Also, villains can see a turn w/88+. Tons of juicy value that were lightyears ahead of. However, at higher limits, say 200nl for example, a check might be more suited. Since we know random villains probably aren’t flatting as light w/hands like Ax and bad SC’s, we probably are so far ahead that cbetting will blow away potential opponents unless they have nutted hands like 77/33/A7/A3/. I don’t want to call this a WA/WB spot, but the general policy applies.
-Lets assume we bet since were talking standard lines. A standard 3b pot sizing tends to be ½ pot-sized bet. Especially vs an unknown, I like to stick to standard protocol to not give anything away.
*Hero cbets 11 bbs, Villain flats.
Turn: 3 (pot: 44 bbs)
Hero (78bbs) has a few options here. Lets outline them.
1. Hero can bet
2. Hero can check.
-Personally, I like line 2 the best here. Most players will say “just take line 1 and bet”. That can be fine, but personally when we have an SPR <2, I have taken to a x/jam line in these spots where the river almost never affects us. Think about it this way.
*Hero bets 22 bb, villain flats.
Pot on river is 122 bbs and we have 56 bbs left. Essentially, were going to be committed no matter what on this board. That’s fine and works. However, assuming we know nothing about villain, he might be bad enough to fold rivers when he either misses a gutshot/can’t call a triple barrel w/ a pocket pair, gets scared w/7x/Ax hands like A5, A4/etc.) Hands that are too medium strength/weak to call a 3 barrel. Also, if villain has the nuts (77/A3/etc.) the hand’s going to play the same almost no matter what.
-Lets see what happens when we take line 2….
*Hero checks, villain checks.
(This is one way it can play out. We might lose value here, but it’s highly likely that villain will stab his entire range of made hands + some air. Go next-level thinking here and put yourself in villain’s place. An unknown villain 3bets from the blinds (notoriously weak). Cbets ½ pot on a flop, turn brings no draws and the 3bettor checks. The cbet/check line in a 3b pot is notoriously weak and is followed up by a fold in many cases.
So when we check, it looks like a give up to villain. Let’s see how villain responds….
Board: A733r (Pot: 44 bbs)
Turn: hero checks, villain bets 20 bbs….hero jams.
Lets look at the math we are laying villain: villain has 58 bbs left and has to put in 58 to win 142. Villain is suddenly getting 2.5/1 almost on his $$$. A spot that is very hard to fold. This is a worst-case scenario for us as well. The more villain bets, say he stabs 30 bbs, the odds
become even harder for him to fold. When villains aren’t thinking at a high level, this line despite looking super strong, might make them call off w/medium and weak hands like Ax/7x. This allows us to get full value from villains by not allowing them to fold missed draws or weaker hands.
Yes, I understand that at times, villain is going to fold.
First, villain folds his air. However, were not getting much value from air come river. Maybe every once in a while villain tries to bluff/jam w/air, but that % has to be wayyy smaller than when 1. Villain shuts down realizing it’s futile and 2. He checks back all his medium/weak hands meaning less value for us.
Disclaimer: Again, this is 25nl. Most people are playing very straightforward****
The cbet/x/jam line in 3b pots is highly effective on dry boards w/relatively meaningless river cards.
Okay, that was a lot of information to take in. From here on, lets try to apply some of these concepts to different types of villains.
2. Aggressive fish
Exact same hand/scenario: AKs (hero has 78 bbs) board:A733
This has got to be the nut spot to apply the cbet/x/j line. (Going to start calling it a “Deuces Wild line or “DW” for short). (Taking fliers on better names for it). If fish is agro enough, he’s capable of stabbing air and taking the same actions as above, essentially committing his stack w/a less than strong hand.
The only adjustment I think is major would be depending on how bad the fish is, we might want to just x/c turn and x/c river. If fish is bad enough to just fire wildly on any river at all, it’s probably better to just let him bluff his air. If he’s agro enough, he’ll still fire Ax most likely w/o thinking what he’s ahead of, only that “I have Aces up…BET”. We might lose value from 7x, middle pp’s, etc., but in certain cases, it’s worth it imo.
Optimal line: Take a “DW” line unless fish is max agro.
3. Passive fish
-Now we get to apply a bit of critical thinking. At this point, I think the DW line is probably the worst possible line to take. Assume scenario is the same:
Hero (78bbs) has AKs on A733r (Pot: 44 bbs)
By checking, we play right into the fish’s game, by keeping the pot small unless fish has the absolute nuts. It’s very probable fish checks back Ax, all middle pp’s, 7x, etc. Therefore, we want to take the lead and bet bet bet. Fish is passive, so he’s not going to be bluffing often and therefore, we need to bet to get value.
This seems pretty obvious, but I think for some players who are struggling to move up, seemingly simple ideas can turn on a lightbulb.
In terms of sizing, I like to bet smaller on turn, bigger on river. Most fish
might be able to find a fold on turn, but if they put some more in, the river seems smaller compared to whats in the pot. Fish might not realize they are doing equity calcs in terms of what they need % to break even, but in my experiences, fish generally realize “There’s a lot of money in the pot, I am committed”. Under this line of thinking, betting smaller on turn and bigger on river will do two things. 1. Turn is smaller, meaning it’s easier to call and then, 2. River is easier since there is more money in the pot, meaning fish is more committed.
*Hero bets 24 bbs, villain calls
River: 10 (Pot: 92 bbs)
Hero (54 bbs left) moves all in, villain calls.
Hero shows: Aces and 3’s, K kicker.
Villain shows: Aces and 3’s, ten kicker (A8)
Hero wins 200 bbs.
Okay, I think that’s enough information for one post. I was planning on doing another one about how to handle regs, so maybe if theres enough interest, I’ll write that up some other time. Generally, I tend to look at regs overall tendencies, either passive or agro, and categorize accordingly. But obviously it’s more complicated than that.
Hope everyone got something out of this. I’ll answer any questions people may have in the comments as well.