As players continue 3betting more aggressively than ever before, a good value 4betting strategy is crucial for your success. Knowing when to 4bet those monsters hand versus when to flat them is a vital skill that you need to fully understand. In this video I show you what value 4betting is from a conceptual point-of-view so you can begin understanding when those re-raises are actually accomplishing what you want them to. Many players make the mistake of auto-4betting premium hands preflop without a second thought, and this video aims to fix that mistake once and for all. Same as always, if you prefer reading you can always read the script below. Enjoy!
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Hello, and welcome to today’s Quick Plays video on value 4betting preflop. A good value 4betting strategy is a great way to maximize value with your monster hands, although defining a monster hand can be difficult once our hands shifts away from AA and KK. In this video I’ll show you what a value 4bet is, when to make them, and vital details like 4bet sizing.
In this first example we open-raise AA from the cutoff to $3 and the small blind 3bets us to $10. Just to make sure we all have the nomenclature correct, our initial $3 raise is the open-raise, the small blind’s re-raise to $10 is the 3bet, and if we re-raise THAT it is called a 4bet. If you are new to poker jargon this may seem a bit confusing, but a 3bet is the first re-raise preflop and a 4bet is simply a re-raise of a 3bet.
Let’s back up a second and consider how we should react to the small blind’s 3bet. At this point we have 3 options, we can fold, call the 3bet, or 4bet. Now we are never going to fold AA here, so our decision is really just between calling the 3bet and 4betting. Many players would simply look at their own hole cards, see those beautiful Aces, and 4bet without a second thought. But that’s not a complete rationale when value 4betting.
4betting for value doesn’t just mean that we are ahead of our opponent’s 3betting range…it means that we are ahead of the range he would continue against our 4bet with. Of course, this is extremely easy to visualize with AA since it will always be ahead of a range villain would call our 4bet, or 5bet, with. Even against a nutted range of KK+ our AA has a huge equity edge.
The key thing to take away from this is that you can’t just look at the range villain would 3bet with. You need to think about the range he’d give your 4bet action with. As your hand gets weaker and weaker it makes value 4betting tougher and tougher. And just because an opponent 3bets super aggressively and with a lot of bluff hands doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll give your 4bet action with anything but a strong range.
The last thing to note here is the size. A typical 4bet size is going to be between 20-25bb. This is a very purposeful size. First, is that it doesn’t put in more than 1/3 of the effective stack preflop (assuming you both started with 80bb or more). A golden rule in poker is that you don’t put in more than 1/3 of your effective stack unless you would always call an all-in preflop. This is because the price you would get against a shove would be too good not to call, even with less than stellar hands.
The second reason for this size is that it also makes a great bluff 4bet size. We’ll discuss bluff 4betting in another video, but if we keep our bluff and value 4bet sizes similar it will make it tougher for our opponent to figure out what we have. So our 4bet size up to $22 is a great size to use here. If villain just calls it creates a very small SPR going to the flop. And if villain shoves, then it’s a very easy call for us. We won’t win every single time, but we’ll win huge pots quite often!
In this next example we have JJ and open-raise from MP. The button 3bets us to $10 and it folds back to us. Now JJ is much weaker than the previous AA, making this a bit tougher of a situation. Let’s think for a moment if 4betting is really going to be valuable.
Let’s assume for a moment that the button is 3betting us with exactly QQ+/AK. If we 4bet will he ever fold any of those hands? If not, then we are creating a huge pot when we only have 36% equity against his range. This would not be a value 4bet since we are not ahead of the range villain would give our 4bet action with.
Not sure how to calculate this? Watch this free video on using Equilab
What if the button were 3betting a range of QQ, KK, AA, AK, A2, A3, 97, and 64. Do you think we can 4bet for value now? Well the truth is that we don’t have enough information yet. Remember, just because we are ahead of his 3betting range does NOT mean a 4bet would actually be best.
If we 4bet here and he would fold his bluffy hands then we are in the same conundrum as the previous spot where he’d only give our 4bet action with hands that crush us. In order for this 4bet to be for value he would need to continue, either by 5betting or calling our 4bet, with those weak hands so that we have an equity edge against his continuing range. If you know villain will 5bet bluff shove many of his weak hands then you can certainly value 4bet and snap-call his shove…but you’d need a decent amount of information before making that play.
Of course, if the button would 3bet and give our 4bet action with a range that we dominate, ideally including a mix of bluffs and second-best pairs like TT and 99, the more we could 4bet for value. If a 4bet would only turn our hand into a bluff, and it likely wouldn’t get him to fold QQ+/AK, then our only options are between calling and folding. Which option you choose is debatable…but as your hand reading skills improve the correct option becomes very clear!
That is value 4betting in a nutshell. We think about the range villain would 3bet us with, and with what range he would give our 4bet action with. If we have an edge on the range he would give our 4bet action with, it’s a value 4bet! If villain would only give our 4bet action with a range that dominates us, a 4bet would only turn our hand into a bluff. This distinction is very similar to value 3betting, and of course value 5betting, but it’s vital to understand if you want to play those strong starting hands better preflop.
Same as always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to let me know. Otherwise, good luck and happy grinding!