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Poker 101s: calling 3bets

Posted by sunny sen on 2012-11-16 at 12:00 AM

We continue from where we left off in part 1 ([URL]https://pokerguru.in/forum/entry.php?444-Poker-101s-part-1[/URL]) and we will touch on some of the aspects of playing 3 -bet pots and try and have a very basic framework for defending a 3bet.

I guess i should clarify that most of this applies to decent-good villains and not weaker players (we expect to make money versus them by playing exploitatively and more easily) in a cash game setup with atleast 70-80bbs (some of it is applicable to 50bb stacks)

The standard 3bet scenario is we open 3x and get 3bet to 10x by an OOP villain (eg, btn vs sb/bb, btn vs bb in a HU game). Our apriory knowledge is that the decent villain knows that in a 6max/9 handed game, in general a competent button’s strategy is to open close to 60%+, while in a HU game this is close to 85%+.
If we defend , there is now 20bb in the pot

[I][B]Hand classifications:[/B][/I]

Facing a 3b, a reasonable way of defining our defense range is to decompose our range as below:
1. No brainer: hands that will play themselves and will win >20bb (amount in the pot after we call the 3bet) greater than 50% of the time.
2. Profitable: hands that we dont need to win >50% of the time, if we are calling 7bb to win a 20bb 3bet pot, we expect to make >7bb on avg with these hands so that the play is +EV.
3. Tweeners: These are the hands that are part of our variance roller coaster range which are probably 1-2bb within the 7bb mark, but not playing them (a decent % of time) would make us massively exploitable versus good villains.
4. Trash

Depending on the game type, our assessment of the 3bettor, stack sizes our hands move around between the above 4 categories in a dynamic manner, meaning the above decomposition is not rigid when it comes to actual hands.
Eg: In a HU game if we have a dynamic where the 3better is 3bet-5b jamming any pair, then something like ATo, KQo is now “almost” in (1), where our gameplan is to to 4 bet stack off with these hands.

[I][B]Stack to pot ratio (SPR) considerations for 3bets defense:[/B][/I]

Belugawhale,Aejones and others in a 2p2 post (forget the link) talks about some “back of the hand type” SPR ratios that are worth mentioning here.

Below 3.5:1 SPR 78s (suited connectors) is much more difficult to play than KJo (high card hand), between 100-140bb starting stacks they are more or less the same and above 7:1 SPR 78s is more valuable than KJo. This kind of gives you a basic framework of when or when-not-to play certain hands.

Reason why 78s is better at a higher SPR is that, more often than not we flop a draw with 78s. With 80bb starting stacks with 20bb in the pot preflop (exactly 3.5:1 SPR), if villain c-bets around 10-15bb, we can profitably jam our draw. At slightly bigger SPR, instead of straight jamming the flop, we can call flop with the intention of jamming over a turn bet. Essentially a greater stack depth gives us more flexibility with this “tweener” (see 3 above) hand, on shallower SPR our fold equity with the draw is massively diminished.

Additionally at very large stack depths KJo could be troublesome vs good villains as very frequently we will face barrels with what might well be the 2nd best hand.

[I][B]Player type:[/B][/I]

A lot of people have trouble with villains who will 3bet a lot and in the majority of scenarios follow
through with one or multiple barrels.

At 100-130bb stacks, while trapping with our big hands is a fair play vs them (we prefer a value 4bet at bigger stack sizes just to allow us to get 3 streets with a bet -bet-jam line or straight up 4bet also at 100-130bb IFF a 4bet dynamic is in place), we also need to remember that due to their barreling tendencies in 3bet pots, they actually end up giving us an even fairer price to call a 3 bet with our tweeners (vs this player type we are now calling 7bbs to potentially win 30-35bbs instead of 20bbs).

This non-intuitive “better odd” laying by aggressive but not solid LAGs, is what is termed as them
setting up a bluff equity for us. We’ll make them bet fold a variety of flops, or float the flop with a variety of hands and make them fold the turn.

By corollary villains who are aggressive preflop but will c-bet infrequently in 3bet pots,
sets us up to defend a variety of hands towards the low end of category-2 versus them. These are hands which have good showdown value and can be played profitably in a showdown bound dynamic as villain himself will pot control for us.

[I][B]To summarize[/B][/I]

Our main objectives of calling a 3bet should always be one of the following:
1. We are trapping with category-1 hand postflop and looking to to trap one or multiple barrels and get some people to stack off lighter than they should
2. We intend to bluff our opponents to win the pot due to certain tendencies that they might have (bet folding, blind barreling) which creates a bluff equity for us.
3. We are reasonably assured that we can play showdown bound poker and show a profit.

Hopefully this long rambling of a post is useful to some of you guys.

till next time

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sunny sen

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