What is a Three-Bet?

Around here, we’re definitely not afraid to admit when we’re wrong, or when we might have jumped the gun. You see, many of our previous poker guides talk a good game about how you should reach out to gambling forums about poker and get help. However, when you sign up for a forum like this, you realize real quick that a lot of seasoned vets are going to be throwing around a lot of jargon that you might not be familiar with. This is also the case when you start learning poker exercises and they’re asking you what you would do in certain situations and why. There’s going to be terms that just pop up from time to time, and you don’t want to end up being unsure of what’s really being talked about.

For example, you might not know what a three-bet is. Of course, you can go with the glossary definition only, which is just the 3rd bet in the round. However, a three-bet is more than just an empty definition. When you play poker, you need to understand how these terms interlock and work with each other. You will need to form your strategy around these terms and make sure that you understand how they can either work for you or against you.

Do you need a strategy for a three-bet? Sure you do. It’s something that can be an attack against you, an intimidation method or just a player not really knowing what they’re doing. There are many reasons to three-bet, and we’ll cover them and more in this guide.

Three-bets usually come in two basic flavors: the value three-bet and the light three-bet. What do we mean? Let’s find out.

First off, the value three-bet. You might remember us covering the value bet previously, and those rules still apply here. However, the goal with the value-three bet is still to get more money in that pot while you have a great hand. Some players will play into it, thinking that you’re playing wildly, while others will fold because they don’t want to risk any more of their money. Remember that the chip stack that everyone has will play a role in how many money gets into the pot. In addition, it’s all about how the player feels bout their chances. If they aren’t thinking that they have a good hand, they’re going to make sure that they bail out before they lose. On the other hand, if they think that they can really beat you, then you’re going to want to give them the illusion that you don’t have anything.

This is the hard part — a lot of newcomers are going to want the exact times where you will want to do a value three bet and when you will want to just back out of the hand. However, it’s hard to really give that type of specifics in such a situation as the three-bet. There are just too many factors that shift too much to really be able to say what will work and what will not work. What you will need to do is simply remain tight-aggressive and play selectively within a certain range. For example, would you want to value three-bet a 9-9 pair? Probably not. Would you want to value bet AA or KK? Definitely. Even JJ would be a good time to value three-bet.

Let’s talk now about the light three-bet, because it’s definitely an important set of points to note. The light three-bet can be used to steal pots because you’re trying to get someone to pay attention to your re-raise with the most appropriate response — folding. You want them to fold and fold hard. It doesn’t matter what they have. You want to make them feel like there’s absolutely nothing that can stop you from winning. Loose players that raise lightly are the ones that can be targeted effortlessly with this strategy. If they push in, they’re risking even more chips. Why would they want to do that? Most of the time, they’re going to fold and leave you the pot — mission accomplished.

Remember that image plays a role. While the tight-aggressive style is something that we like to see, you don’t want to get too predictable. Poker is all about making sure that you keep your opponents guessing. You cannot do that if all you do is stay tight. People will see through that quickly and then it’s curtains for your poker game. Three-betting is something that spices things up in a big way, leaves your opponents guessing, and opens up the opportunity of getting at the pot. What more could you want?

This is just one more strategy that you can add to your arsenal that should serve you well not just for the poker games that you play now, but just about every game from now till the end of your poker career!

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