WPT Global Strategy Tip: You Probably Need To Three-Bet More Often!
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One of the first things we're told as poker players is to play fewer hands more aggressively. Most players get pretty good at instituting aggression when they are the first to bet. They might even get into the habit of picking spots to raise an opponent, but many balk at three-betting.
If you have a strong hand, it can feel like you're giving the game away. If you have a weak hand, the stakes can seem too high.
As a result, most players do not three-bet as often as they should. Luckily, the team at WPT Global is here to help with this guide to three-betting.
What is a Three-Bet?
The first aggressive action in a round is a bet; if another player increases the stakes, that is a raise, and when a third player (or the original bettor) kicks it up again, that is a three-bet or reraise.
i.e. A three-bet or reraise refers to the third aggressive action in a round.
Three-betting serves several strategic purposes. Understanding these will help you to expand the range of spots in which to three-bet... and will help you to identify when to just call or fold to a raise.
Balancing Your Range
Three-betting more often makes you harder to read by balancing your range. If you rarely three-bet, that means the kinds of hands you three-bet with are very limited. This means your opponent can more accurately predict your hand and adapt their play.
By three-betting with a wider range of hands, you make it harder for your opponent to read your range, and therefore, you become harder to exploit.
Building Aggressive Image
The more aggressive your image, the harder opponents will find you to play against. Conservative players will likely become more conservative, and loose players will likely play looser.
An aggressive image is an asset at most tables, and reraising will help give you that image.
Controlling the Pot
When you three-bet you are putting your opponent in the position of playing a big pot. And because in no-limit bet size tends to scale with pots, you're threatening to make this hand an even more expensive one on later streets.
On the other hand, having a reputation for frequently reraising will often lead more passive opponents to call in spots they might otherwise raise, allowing you to play smaller pots when warranted.
Three-bets kick the action back to your opponent, giving them another chance to make a mistake. Frequently, thanks to the size of the bet, these mistakes can be big ones.
The more you reraise, the more tough decisions your opponents face.
Get Loose Players To Misplay Their Weak Hands
Loose players have wider ranges than they should. When you reraise them, you're betting into a weaker range, which means there is a higher chance of them folding and giving you the pot and of them calling with a worse hand.
Defending Against Steals
This is particularly important in tournaments when stacks are smaller and blinds more valuable. Players will try to push you off your bets a lot. The best way to prevent this is the three-bet.
Adapting to Your Table
Poker is a game of exploitation. At some tables, you will want to three-bet much wider than at others.
However, you can't use a tool you're not familiar with. Because most players don't three-bet enough, they don't have the tool available when it would be most useful.
The best way to get better at it is to take some time to learn when to use three-betting, and to get more comfortable playing in a more aggressive manner.
A great way to practice new strategies in a low-risk environment is the weekly PokerNews freeroll hosted on WPT Global.
All you have to do to join the action is sign up for a WPT Global account (which comes with a generous welcome bonus) and join the PokerNews Discord server to get the weekly freeroll passwords.