How to 3-bet for value
Learning to 3-bet for value is an essential skill for moving through the high-microstakes into the lowstakes.
In this two part strategy series, we will begin by outlining betsizing for 3bets and 3betting for value, following up next week with 3.betting as a bluff.
Constructing the right range to 3-bet for value
The goal when you 3-bet for value is to get more money in the pot with a hand that has an advantage over your opponent’s range.
As a guideline, the weakest hand in your value 3betting range should have around 55% equity against your opponent’s continuing range.
Generally speaking, people have to continue with 40-50% of their opening range. If you know how often someone is opening, you can get an idea of what hands they won’t fold to a 3-bet.
Let’s give a simple example: If you know someone is opening 45% from the button, and they are folding to 66% of 3bets, then their continuing range is 15%.
We can use Pokerstrategy Equilab (freeware) to determine what this range would look like
Mathematically, the top 15% of hands is 77+,A7s+,K9s+,QTs+,JTs,ATo+,KTo+,QJo.
However, many players emphasize suited aces, connectors and other playable hands rather than dominated big cards like KTo, ATo and QJo.
I think a more reasonable 15% flatting range would look like this:
Having determined this range, we can use Equilab to figure out the range of hands that have >55% equity against that 15% range. The result:
This example shows how important it is to take into account your opponent when 3betting.
If we know our opponent is opening a relatively tight 45%, and folding an extremely tight 66%, then we have a value range of 4%.
If we include AQo, this range increases to nearly 5%. Against this kind of opponent we want to be 3betting more bluff hands, because he continues with too narrow of a range.
We simply won’t get enough value with our stronger hands and will be too vulnerable to 4bets.
In other words, many of our stronger hands will be more profitable as calls.
How to size your 3-bets
As a general rule, you want to size your 3-bets roughly 2.5-3x the original open raise in position, and 3.5-4x the original open raise out of position.
- Button opens to 2bb, SB 3bets to 7
- Cutoff opens to 2.5bb, BB 3bets to 8
- MP opens to 3bb, CO 3bets to 9
Look at your opponent’s tendencies to craft a value 3betting range that has ~55% equity against his defending range.
You want to size your 3-bets 2.5-3x in position, 3.5-4x out of position
Stay tuned for our guide on bluff 3-betting next week.