Balance and bet sizing in 3-bet and 4-bet pots [long]

ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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Haven't written an article in quite a while so excuse me if I'm rusty.

There are two different specific concepts I want to address, and they both relate to bet sizing, balance and actual strategy.

4-Betting Preflop:

Assuming 'proper'-sized raises and 3-bets, this really only applies to hands where we have (very) roughly 100bb-200bb stacks, and here's why:

50bb effective stacks, 100nl.

Folded to Hero in the CO who raises to $3.5
Villain on the button 3-bets to $13
Hero 4-bets to $50 and is all-in.

With 50bb stacks there really isn't anything to do but shove after a 3-bet. A smaller reraise will do nothing but commit you, and it's simply out of the question. 4-bet sizing is not an issue.

400bb effective stacks, 100nl.

Folded to Hero in the CO who raises to $3.5
Villain on the button 3-bets to $13
Hero 4-bets to...

Now a standard 4-bet will be around $40-$50, and probably bigger if we want to really commit our opponent. Bet sizing is an issue, but not in the sense that I'm referring to.

Now consider 100bb effective stacks (100nl again). We're going to look at two different types of hands. The ones we want to stack with, and the ones we don't necessarily want to stack with.

Villain is your basic strong LAG. He has been a fairly aggressive, thinking opponent, 3-betting us light frequently among other aggressive moves. We know he's capable of 3-betting with suited connectors, small pairs, and just about anything if he thinks he can take the pot down. He does however shut down to 4-bets without a very strong hand.

We've been relatively tag.

Folded to Hero in the CO with XX who raises to $3.5
Villain on the button 3-bets to $13
Hero 4-bets to...

Hand 1: A♣A♦

Now obviously ideally with this hand we want to get as much money in preflop as possible.

What other hands are you willing to get that much money in? I'd assume pretty much KK, and possibly JJ+/AKs+ if the conditions were right. We can argue this, but against someone who won't put in action without QQ+ or AKs+, we should be sticking to the best of our hands.

Hand 2: A♣Q♥

Now what about if we raise and he 3-bets us? We know he's capable of doing that with a very wide range, and we know we're ahead of that range. What's the plan?

Well we could take a flop and try to stack him after we hit an ace or queen, but there's a problem with that. We only hit the flop ~1/3 of the time, and the rest he can have his way with us and push us off what is most probably the best hand. We also want to provide balance for the times we have a monster and want to get our stack in preflop, which is where the smaller 4-bet comes into play.

What if, with both hands, we 4-bet to $30 as opposed to the standard $40-$50?

That way we achieve both of our goals with both different types of hands. One, we still manage to get good value from our aces, and two, we can snap off his 3-bet bluffs with the lesser hands relatively cheaply.

You can see why this is a problem now with the smaller and bigger stack sizes. With ~50bbs you can just shove as you're both more committed, and with ~300+bbs you don't commit enough preflop with your big hands.

Folded to Hero in the CO with A♣A♥ who raises to $3.5
Villain on the button 3-bets to $13
Hero 4-bets to $30
Villain shoves (with a range of {QQ+,AKs+})
Hero calls

Folded to Hero in the CO with A♣Q♥ who raises to $3.5
Villain on the button 3-bets to $13
Hero 4-bets to $30
Villain shoves (with a range of {QQ+,AKs+})
Hero folds

AND gives himself a looser image, providing balance for the times when he's got a big hand. ie, next time he has a monster, his opponent will remember he 4-bet-folded to a shove, and villain might even shove lighter now.


Continuation betting in 3-bet pots:

This is something I'm really not sure about, so any input (correction, argument etc) would be appreciated.

Similar to adjusting our 4-bet sizing, we want to adjust our c-betting after 3-betting preflop.

When we 3-bet light, we want to be able to c-bet relatively smaller because we want to save money.

When we 3-bet a legitimate hand, c-betting a smaller amount is still fine since we'll often commit our opponent to their hand if they get involved anyways.

Hand 1: 100bb effective, 100nl.

Folded to villain on the button who raises to $3.5
Hero in the SB with A♣A♥ 3-bets to $14
Villain calls

Flop comes 9♣5♠Q♦ (pot is $29)
Hero bets $17

Villain might sense weakness at this point and either float, bluff raise, or commit his stack with another made hand that he wouldn't otherwise. The c-bet will still be effective most of the time, but we still meet the goal of getting money in and partially committing our opponent should he have a hand.

Hand 2: 100bb effective, 100nl.

Folded to villain on the button who raises to $3.5
Hero in the SB with 9♠7♠ 3-bets to $14
Villain calls

Flop comes 9♣5♠Q♦ (pot is $29)
Hero bets $17

This sounds a little contradictory, but villain really can't do much without a legitimate hand at this point. He will occasionally bluff-raise etc, but we still get folds often enough for this to work for us.

Thoughts?
 
benevg

benevg

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how is 17 a small c-bet in a 29 pot? i read (say, HoH) that a 'normal' c-bet would be about half the pot? or would that be mostly for tournaments, or just one strategy, or what? i'm a little confused here, if you can't tell.
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

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how is 17 a small c-bet in a 29 pot? i read (say, HoH) that a 'normal' c-bet would be about half the pot? or would that be mostly for tournaments, or just one strategy, or what? i'm a little confused here, if you can't tell.
HoH is chiefly for tournaments, yes.

Chuck: What's your take on bet sizing when it comes to different (relative) positions? I.e., does it

a) not come into play at all; we're playing our range and his range, not our position, or
b) we should be willing to make bigger bets out of position to devalue his positional advantage and possibly increase the chance of him folding so we don't have to see a flop OOp, or
c) we should be inclined to make smaller raises out of position as so keep the pots we play OOP smaller.

Or maybe B and C cancel each other out and we end up back at A.

/FP

PS. By the way, did I ever mention how much the nut peddling of no-limit bothers my fierce LHE warrior soul? I like 3-betting with stuff like A5o from the small blind. DS.
 
benevg

benevg

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HoH is chiefly for tournaments, yes.

i know it is for tournaments (i read the books, dammit) - but i really got the idea that the bet sizing parts apply everywhere, because they are mostly based on some probabilities. the question was if there is a different widely accepted idea as to bet-sizing in cash games, and if so, where :)
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

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Sorry, I wasn't very clear. The idea behind continuation bet sizing in HoH is aimed at tournaments. Cash games are usually played much deeper than tournaments so different strategies apply.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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HoH is chiefly for tournaments, yes.

Chuck: What's your take on bet sizing when it comes to different (relative) positions? I.e., does it

a) not come into play at all; we're playing our range and his range, not our position, or
b) we should be willing to make bigger bets out of position to devalue his positional advantage and possibly increase the chance of him folding so we don't have to see a flop OOp, or
c) we should be inclined to make smaller raises out of position as so keep the pots we play OOP smaller.

Or maybe B and C cancel each other out and we end up back at A.

/FP

Are we talking initial raises or 3-bets or what?

I've heard, especially from the better players (see Bryce's thread on stox) talk about how we should be opening for 2-3bb in early position and 3-5 in late.

Pots grow exponentially in NL and that little adjustment pf can drastically change the pot size by the time the river comes, so the adjustment is apparently necessary. I can't say I do it myself, I just open 3.5 from any position to be honest.

In terms of 3-bets, I'm always 3-betting slightly more OOP to negate that disadvantage.

Usually with 4-bets the position won't really matter since we're so committed that there won't be much 'outplaying' postflop, ie there really isn't any disadvantage when the only actions are push/ch/fold.

PS. By the way, did I ever mention how much the nut peddling of no-limit bothers my fierce LHE warrior soul? I like 3-betting with stuff like A5o from the small blind. DS.

heh, I hear you. It's especially bad in full ring and tbh I'm getting a little sick of it.

i know it is for tournaments (i read the books, dammit) - but i really got the idea that the bet sizing parts apply everywhere, because they are mostly based on some probabilities. the question was if there is a different widely accepted idea as to bet-sizing in cash games, and if so, where :)

Basically:

Tournaments the main goal is survival, and in general you're playing many more small pots without showdown, and stacks are smaller. Basically the goal of a c-bet is usually just to take the pot down.

In rings, effective stacks are always deep, and because of that there are much higher implied odds. Players will peel lighter, they'll chase more, and they'll make more moves, so we want to be betting more on average (3/4 is the standard vs the 1/2 for tourneys). There's also the balance factor, ie when you have a big hand, you want to get as much of your opponent's stack in as possible, so the goal is to build the pot as much as possible, and so of course betting bigger is more favourable.
 
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bears007

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great post ill use these in high stakes play money and see how it goes. tyvm
 
WVHillbilly

WVHillbilly

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Chuck how often do you run into a strong LAG at NL100? It's just not an animal I run into at NL25. Most of the ATCers I see, are just donking away $$ hoping for the best every flop without much concern for position or what any one else is doing around them.

The reason I ask is that I don't know how much of your article applies to lower limits or at what limit you think your ideas generally start to apply.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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Good point WV, and I should have clarified that part more, sorry.

The LAG part was put in simply for the sake of my point (point a) below) which still stands if you're up against tough tags - which you'll find plenty of at 100nl and up. Basically the conditions for this are that a) villain is likely to make moves on us (so we have a reason to 4-bet light), and b) villain is likely to be observant (so we have a reason to balance our play).

On average though, these concepts will apply much better as you go up in stakes since in general the micro players don't tend to be observant, nor do they show much willingness to fold after 3-betting...which is why I should mention that it's pointless to try it at 'high stakes' play money tables, bears.
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

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Are we talking initial raises or 3-bets or what?
Sorry, was talking about 3-betting. And you answered that, and I think I agree with what you said. Getting a fold when we're out of position, even when we expect to have something of an edge, is not that bad of an outcome.
 
S

switch0723

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Folded to Hero in the CO with A♣Q♥ who raises to $3.5
Villain on the button 3-bets to $13
Hero 4-bets to $30
Villain shoves (with a range of {QQ+,AKs+})
Hero folds

AND gives himself a looser image, providing balance for the times when he's got a big hand. ie, next time he has a monster, his opponent will remember he 4-bet-folded to a shove, and villain might even shove lighter now.

B-e-a-utiful post Chuck, <3 Chuck

One question though, in the quote you said about by folding after the 4-bet you have provided a looser image and villain may 5-bet shove lighter now. So what do you do when you are in the same situation a few orbits later with a,q or jj, facing the 5 bet shove from same villain? Do you widen his range and consider a call?
 
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switch0723

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BUMP!!!! So that Chuck sees my question above
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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B-e-a-utiful post Chuck, <3 Chuck

One question though, in the quote you said about by folding after the 4-bet you have provided a looser image and villain may 5-bet shove lighter now. So what do you do when you are in the same situation a few orbits later with a,q or jj, facing the 5 bet shove from same villain? Do you widen his range and consider a call?

Well think about the standard rule with bluffing and value betting. After showing a big bluff (ie 4-betting and folding to a shove), our opponent will remember that, and the next time we have a chance to value bet/bluff (4-bet) we want to make SURE we have a hand we can take some heat with.

If we raise AQ/JJ after showing 4-betting and folding to a push, we do NOT want to 4-bet again since calling a push will be very difficult. Without pokertracker 3's new 3-bet and 4-bet stats it's very very hard to get an accurate range for a 5-bet push, and we don't want to get ourselves in that spot.

In other words, if you have AQ/JJ or some other hand that's strong enough to contend but not strong enough to call a 5-bet push, don't 4-bet. Call and take a flop.
 
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switch0723

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^^^ ahh ok i see, so basically use the information about them loosening up their 5 betting ranges, when you have kings or queens, since you know you can 4 bet and it is likely all the money will be going in with you as fav

Cheers again Chuck
 
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