3-Bets For Profit With Monster Poker Hands

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The majority of our poker profits coming from our value hands, like AA, KK, QQ, and AK.  So knowing how to 3bet them preflop is crucial to ensure we are maximizing value whenever possible.  In this video / article combo I show you when a 3bet is actually for value, how to size your 3bets, and how to make more profit with your monsters hands. These spots are always easy with AA and KK, but they can get confusing once your starting hand drops into the TT-QQ and AK range.  If you just 3bet preflop without really knowing WHY, pay special attention to this video.  As always, if you prefer reading the script can be found below.  Enjoy!

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Hello, and welcome to today’s Quick Plays video on value 3betting preflop. A good value 3betting strategy allows us to build pots with strong hands and increase our profit both preflop and postflop. In this video we’ll discuss when a 3bet is for value, look at some examples, and talk about details like sizing.

So what is a preflop value 3bet? This is when a player raises preflop, we 3bet them, and we will be ahead of the range they would continue with. The heavy emphasis being that we are ahead of the range they would continue with, either by calling our 3bet or 4betting themselves. Just because our hand is ahead of their open-raising range does not mean the 3bet will be for value.

Rather than bore you with definitions and theory, let’s jump right into two examples that will highlight value 3-betting…

In this first example EP opens to $3 and we 3bet next to act with AA. Just to make sure we are all on the same page with the nomenclature, a 3bet is the first re-raise preflop. So EP raised and we re-raised, also known as 3bet.

what is a 3bet

Hero’s is certainly making a value 3bet here. If we think about the range of hands EP would give our 3bet action with, AA is going to be ahead. Even if EP only continued with exactly KK+ this is a value 3bet since AA is a 77/23 favorite. In the real-world we expect most opponents are going to give action with more hands than just KK+, and thus our 3bet becomes more and more valuable!

This 3bet is very standard. It’s not to say that villain will always continue though. When he folds we win some money preflop, and when we he calls or 4bets the pot is getting built when we have a huge card edge. These are all good things for our bottom line.

One last note here is the size. As a default a 3bet size is usually between 3-4x the original raise. So EP raised to $3 and our 3bet should be between $9 and $12. If villain is a thinking player our bluff and value 3bet sizes would be similar so that he can never distinguish our hand strength based upon the size we chose.

a default a 3bet size is usually between 3-4x the original raise

Against a bad player though we can consider making our value 3bets a bit larger since a bad player doesn’t look at the math or our range before giving action…rather a bad player is solely focused on the absolute strength of their own hole cards.

The concept of value 3betting is very simple to visualize with AA, since it’s the best starting hand you can be dealt and always ahead of your opponent’s continuing range. But as your pair gets weaker, or your strong broadway hands get weaker, the notion of a value 3bet can get murky. Take this example…

In this hand EP2 open-raises to $3.5 and it folds to us on the button with QQ. Some players would look at this spot and just say “well, QQ is ahead of the range he opened, so we can 3bet for value!”. But as we know from the definition of a value 3bet that is not a complete thought process.

3bets queens

It’s assumed that QQ is ahead of villain’s opening range, but is QQ ahead of the range villain would give a 3bet action with? Let’s assume for a moment that villain is a super-nit, and if we 3bet he would only continue with KK+? Well we know QQ is a huge dog against KK+, so a 3bet here wouldn’t be for value.

We’re not going to fold QQ here, and if a 3bet isn’t for value then our best option would be to just call the $3.50. This keeps his entire range intact and we’ll use our poker skills to beat him postflop.

Even if villain would only continue against our 3bet with QQ+/AK we are on the bad side of a 40/60 and the 3bet wouldn’t be for value. So when villain only continues against our 3bet with a very strong range of hands it means two things:

  1.  It’s very tough to value 3bet hands like QQ, JJ, and AK

  2.  It’s very easy to bluff 3bet them since they fold so much

On the contrary, if villain would continue against our 3bet with many worse hands, then our 3bet shifts back towards value. If villain would continue with hands like AQ, TT, or worse, then our QQ gains a nice card edge against their continuing range. Remember, the 3bet is only for value if our hand beats the range they would continue with. If they wouldn’t continue with a range that we beat, then our 3bet is closer to a semi-bluff.

That is value 3betting in a nutshell. Think about the range of hands villain would call and/or 4bet with, how your hand performs against that, and whether your 3bet is actually for value. It’s not to say that you should never flat an open-raise with AA, nor that you can’t 3bet and turn AQ into a semi-bluff…just knowing what a value 3bet is helps you understand what your preflop aggression is accomplishing.

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Otherwise…good luck and happy grinding!

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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