UCLU POKER TRAINING SERIES December 1st 2011 Fifth Session 3-Betting and Downswings
3 bettingWhat is 3-betting?It’s when someone raises before the flop and someone re-raises them. E.g UTG raises to 3.5BB’spre flop and the BTN re-raises to 14BB’s.Why 3-bet?• Increases the size of the pot pre-flop• Money gets into the middle quicker post flop• Forces opponent’s to make tougher decisions• Majority of the time opponents will fold• Some opponents will call with weak marginal hands (e.g QJ, KT, KJ)• Isolate a weak player• Re-steal against a light open raiser• Some opponents will 4-bet• When opponents call 3-bets they generally play fit or fold poker. Most of them give up if they missed the flop.• Suggested minimum re-raise size 3BB. A good maximum size is 4BB(unless 200BB deep +).• You should increase your relative 3-bet size IP and OOP. E.g. I raise 3x IP and 3.5-3.75x OOP. This cuts down on our opponents positional advantage.• You must increase your 3-bet size as stacks get deeper. This is to cut down on implied odds for your opponent.• It should allow you to get your stack all in by betting on 2/3 streets
Hands to 3-bet• Tier 1: 3-bet premiums, AK+/JJ+ from any position unless you think your opponents range is heavily weighted to AA,KK, then you should consider playing JJ, QQ for set value (If you have implied odds)• Tier 2: hands that occasionally be profitable to 3-bet 22-TT, AT+, KQ, SC 54+. Generally 66-99 are not profitable to 3-bet as your opponent will fold out worse hands. SC play better with deeper stacks (150bb+) as your opponent has more fold equity. 3-bet sizing• Suggested minimum re-raise size 3BB. A good maximum size is 4BB(unless 200BB deep +).• You should increase your relative 3-bet size IP and OOP. E.g. I raise 3x IP and 3.5- 3.75x OOP. This cuts down on our opponents positional advantage.• You must increase your 3-bet size as stacks get deeper. This is to cut down on implied odds for your opponent.• It should allow you to get your stack all in by betting on 2/3 streets
Things to consider when 3-bettingYour position• Generally you will only be 3-betting from the button and the blinds, unless you have a premium hand. More on that laterThe type of opponent your against• This is really important. If your opponent is a complete fish you may prefer to call in position with a wider range of hands and outplay him post flop. There is no point 3-betting suited connectors (SC’s) someone who never folds to a 3-bet. Only 3-bet him for value and with all other hands know that you have significant implied odds. Against better players, 3-betting SC’s is fine (don’t abuse it).Your opponents pre-flop raising range from that position• With complete donks it can be hard to put them on a range, hence playing more value hands in position. However with better players putting them on a general range is easier (pre-flop anyway) so you have a better idea what they fold/call etc.Their calling/4bet range• Some opponents love to call 3-bets with QJ, KT, JT. Make note of these opponents and exploit them. I hope everyone here has outgrown calling 3-bets with KT and even calling raises with these hands (unless you’re exceptionally good post flop). These hands will land you in a ton of trouble generally and even more trouble in 3-bet pots.
3-betting from the blinds and button• It is incredibly difficult (impossible) to play from the blinds profitably and it is incredibly profitable to steal blinds from late position. This means that good players will steal a ton from the BTN. For this reason you should 3- bet (re-steal) with a wider range. PP and SC should be in your 3-bet range. Most good players will open their button pretty wide (30%+).• 30% looks like this: any pair, any ace, any suited king, any suited broadway, any suited connectors 54s+, KTo+, QJo" or "any pair, any ace, any suited king, any broadway. Most decent players will fold their trash, 4-bet shove their premiums, call with some PP and maybe KQ, AQ. That means they will fold over 90% of the time. Though the blind thief may see a flop and play fit or fold on the flop.• SC, PP and any premiums is about 13% of hands so no one will get suspicious if you 3-bet them (unless they have a really large sample of hands on them).• The same applies from the button. If a good player opens from the CO, he is likely stealing so, 3-betting him with a similar range is even better. You have position on him.
3-betting from the blinds and buttonWith Suited Connectors (SCs):• you have a 5.6% (1 in 18, 17:1 chance) of flopping a good made hand• you have a ~7% (1 in 14, 13:1) chance of flopping a strong (12+ outs) combo draw• you have a ~13% chance (1 in 7.5, 6.5:1) chance of flopping a standard OESD or FD• And thats not taking into account times we turn the nuts or a backdoor draw.With Pocket Pairs (PPs):• you have 11.8% (1 in 8.5, 7.5:1 chance) of flopping a good made hand• 3-bet pots are a lot tougher to play when you don’t have initiative hence why it’s always better to 3-bet than call 3bets
DownswingsWhat is a downswing?• A downswing is when a winning player continuously loses money over a period of the time. This is due to the nature of the game: KK vs AA preflop, set over set, bad beats, etc! (Set v set is particularly nasty)Dealing with a downswing• Dont overestimate your short run edge.• I often sit down at a table and see a minraise, min-reraise, 4 callers to the flop, and start counting my money. This is a mistake. The truth is, you can sit at a table full of donks for 5 hours and get your ass completely handed to you on any given night. Once you accept you can still get pwned by crap players, it became much easier to handle variance. Many people seem to believe that if they play solid poker, it is their god given right to come out on the winning end of things. When these players run bad, their arrogance and complete disrespect for their opponents makes it very difficult for them to deal with losing. Im not saying you shouldnt be confident, just that you need to accept the fact that on any given night, you can get owned by horrible players.• When your running bad, bluff less and play tighter.• Some will disagree with this, but I think its very important to pull back a bit when you sense that your running bad. I dont mean to play weak tight, or to value bet less, or play your hands more passively. I am referring to situations which require fold equity.
Downswings (cont’d)• Typically, many players at your table are not paying as much attention as you. They arent checking hhs to see whats being shown down or paying attention to how tight or loose their opponents are. Many players judge a players skill based on how much money they are winning or losing. If your running bad and the donks at your table are watching you ship stacks all over the place, they are more inclined to give you less respect. So when you fire two streets with whiffed overs, or bluff a busted draw on the river, they are more likely to look you up, because they think you suck.• I also find this to be the case pre flop, if Ive been running bad, my pre flop raises get much less respect. My normal game is 21/15, but when running like, I tend to drift down to 16/10. Hands like KJo, which are typically in my UTG opening range, are often folds for me in EP when Im getting less respect and running bad. Pay attention to the feel of the table your at. Typically, if you tighten up, people dont tend to notice until you start showing down some big hands, and then you get more respect and can open your game back up.• It is amazing to me how many people will play even more aggressively when they are losing, which I believe goes against the logical solution.• PLAY LESS TABLES• Upping your volume is not always the answer, unless your game is rock solid. Lower the table count and really squeeze the EV out of each decision. It will deepen your understanding of the game and you’ll be more aware of your leaks.
Downswings (cont’d)Play a different form of poker• When you’re sick of the swings NLHE gives you, play some MTTs and PLO and really feel what variance is. By the time you’re back to the NLHE grind, the swings feel less painful because you’re use to a sicker amount of variance. I used various downswings to learn Stud, PLO and 2-7 triple draw. These games really deepen your understanding of pokerAt some point, you will run worse than you ever thought possible.• This is someones recollection (a 2+2 forum poster): ‘At NL $50, I ran breakeven for close to 25K hands, and thought that was my "runningworse than I ever thought possible." Boy was I wrong. I used to read BBV posts aboutsomeone dropping $900 at NL $50 and thought, dude, you suck at poker, find a newhobby. I never believed that a downswing of greater than 10 buyins was possiblewithout some serious tilt/bad play/both. Im here to tell you that it is. Obviously mygame has some holes, and sometimes I make bad plays, as we all do. That said, Iplayed fairly solid poker for a week and lost almost 19 buyins at NL$100. No ninjamonkey tilt. No obvious spew. No drunken shots at $5/10. Just complete and utterdestruction, day after day, for a week straight.’
Conclusion Downswings• Be thankful of the times when you hit a downswing and are struggling to get out of it. Only when times are bad does anyone try to further their knowledge about the game.• With my current downswing I am starting to discover and read the 2+2 poker posts and further my knowledge of the game. I would recommend 2+2 to everyone.• Getting your ass handed to you at the tables is the reason a lot of poker players grow.• So embrace the cruel learning process because it’s going to happen whether you like it or not – all you can do is have a positive perspective on it.
Questions? Alexander Macleodalexander.email@example.com