Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's one of my graphs).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Thinking about preflop 3-betting

For a while now I have been very focussed on 3-betting (or preflop re-raising) with a polarised range. What I mean is I will find out how many hands an opponent should rationally be getting all-in with preflop - given their initial opening frequency - and 3-betting hands that have greater than 50% equity against that felting range along with a group of hands to balance my range with as a bluff. I usually choose suited connectors for this. As a simple example my standard preflop play versus a 5% raise frequency would be to 3-bet {AA, T9s, 98s} and flat with {JJ-KK, AKs}. I think that versus a 5% raise frequency this is sound strategy, and we can obviously call with more hands if our opponent is bad and therefore offers implied equity.

However looser opening ranges usually have a non trivial calling frequency both in and out of position and so things become less simple. Take a villain in late position with a wide opening range and assume this player will get all-in preflop with {AK, JJ+} but call with a bunch of broadways, suited connectors and middle pocket pairs. Suddenly we can 3-bet a ton of extra hands for value, a range like {88+, ATs+, AJo+, KQ}. These hands have greater than 50% equity against villain's calling range. But what concerns me is how we balance this play with bluffs. If villain is getting all-in with the range I mentioned before we can only felt {KK+} preflop for value. So do we just add in a few bluffs to balance this felting range or do we also need a bluff range to balance the rest of our value hands? Because including one would give us a very high 3-bet % in this situation. It would also create a significant gap between the hands we're 3-betting and the hands we're felting and this will allow our opponents to 4-bet bluff back extremely profitably.

Our opponent risks around 27bb to win 16bb when he 4-bets so he needs us to fold (27/(27+16))= 63% of the time to make money on his bluffs. Therefore we need to 5-bet all-in around 40% of the time to defend against a 4-bet. This means we would need to be turning a lot of hands into bluffs if our opponent was liberally 4-betting back and that doesn't seem quite right to me somehow. I guess I have more research to do. GL

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