3-bet defense in MTTs



Rock Star
Here are my thoughts on defending vs a 3-bet after opening a hand in an MTT. Feel free to add others.

How weak is opponents range? What flop is suitable for me to defend profitably, how often do I get this flop?
Pot odds?
Will my opponent go nuts betting when I hit the board and make me fold?

The big question:

Can I defend this hand profitably against this opponent for this price at this stack depth at this portion of tournament?

Usually not for me. I defend too wide and give little respect to 3-bets. Gaining chips is less important than not losing chips in the tourney.

Do the math, think about opponents 3- bet range. If you have some KJs or QJ or QK you are so often dominated.

Same for rag aces, you can only call hoping they have a pocket pair weaker than AA, and then they give up so often on flops with an over card. There are very few combos of pps in the first place so you are most often dominated and losing against their range which includes so many combinations of stronger aces.


Rising Star
You must play a little more aggressive based on what you said here, you are a loose player...poker is about risk and taking dramatic decisions.
Jim Brown

Jim Brown

Rock Star
Watch your opponents' betting tendencies to get an idea of their ranges. Wait for premium hands and/or spots to play in position. Note whether they are likely to fold to a raise or just get it in and play bingo.


Rock Star
Yeah watch you opponent tendencies and i would only 3bet shove with hands like AA KK AK and against a loose player i would play even 88+ it really depends a lot on the situation and thje player i am up against. Hope that help you some what :D


Learn to pick ur battles better, defending ur blinds is part of being well rounded and knowing when to fold is the same thing. At some point you should be blind stealing or preflop three betting yourself and you'll recoup what you lose from a fold preflop


Rock Star
For me when three bet happens before me chip stack size matters the most.
Am I willing to lose my stack % vs reward.
If by calling 3 bet only a very good flop hits will I continue.
Will my my and hold in a show down.
I make bad choices in this spot occasionally.
So its not always an easy 1 deep or short.


...poker is about risk and taking dramatic decisions.

Dramatic decisions? Risk? Poker is about taking calculated risks, almost to the point where you are able to take risk out of the equation if you are playing right. Never want to be over "dramatic" in your decisions. Be calm and calculating. Keep drama at the theater!


I could be way off on this, maybe its a leak i need to plug, but... for me it depends on what my intention for betting was in the first place. If I was betting to steal blinds, my range is much too wide to defend against a 3 bet, so fold. On the other hand, if Im betting a big hand in position against limpers, then Ill pop it 4 plus. In between those extremes, the decisions become more difficult. My general thinking is that I want to try and avoid difficult decisions, so I try to keep my actions (the only actions I actually have any control over) to the two areas where the decisions are easy.

Please feel free to offer criticism of my thinking on this, I certainly could be way off.


Rock Star
I agree with the player who said to 4 bet back, here are some reasons that goes beyond the cards; it will make the other person define their hand first, gives you the last chance to act after making the four bet, most players especially just as your post relates, most of the time a fold would be a better play. But the other player, putting my game in this spot many times, involved many times over, most are not going to put that fifth bet back at the four bettors without a premium hand. If they flat the majority of the time they need a flop in order to improve, they defined their situation before the flop by flatting, and your fourth bet gave the advantage in the hand back to your game.

The variables, how many hands have you seen them play that would give insight into how card dependent they are? How tricky, smart, would they flat your four bet with a premium hand, worse hand, the impression their image gives away that would help make a conscious decision that would include thinking about folding? How well does your game handle these situations, the risk/reward of making an extra bet instead of calling or folding? A player should always be anticipating the unexpected meaning they should be expecting players to test them, it is up to us to know by how we expect the other person to play by their abilities, tendencies of how they play against how we read our opponents in the moment.

How often your game avoids these situations because of the variables your game knows better than our thoughts of this situation? If they know you are card dependent and would not make a four bet without a premium hand putting the pressure back will allow for your game to use a TAG image against his range of thought not necessarily the range of their hands in these situations against your potential leveling situations within your game?

A person can analyze a moment in time however, it has been my experience to know for sure as many of the variables as well as a good idea of what they hold by their action, then assess in the moment how they would play post flop. My game mixes feel with psychology of these situations, meaning having insight into how they think in these situations by doing these movements the first time a player will three bet my game, math supports my decisions as well but not the first option because these are potential leveling situations more often than holding premium hands.

What helps me to make these movements are, if or when these situations blow up; my game has the ability to get whatever chips that might be lost in these situations back as the game moves forward. Thank you for posting and letting us respond to your thoughts, good luck in your journey.