Some Three-Betting Questions

CubanBCubanB Red Chipper Posts: 82 ✭✭
Inspired by the JosephF forum meltdown, I've decided to evaluate my game from top to bottom and I'm currently re-examining my preflop ranges. And I've got some questions about what we're taking into account when deciding what type of 3betting range to employ.

I'm most curious about the following:

Proper Ratio of Value to Bluff Combos
I am probably going to embarrass myself with this analysis but in determining what our Value:Bluff ratio for our 3bets should be, is it correct to consider the following: in a 1/2 live game, assume Villain raises to $10 and we 3bet to $30 (both open raise and 3bet sizing is standard, blinds are raked away). Villain now has to call $20 into $40 and gets 2:1 odds.

To make him indifferent to calling vs. folding with a bluff-catching type hand (perhaps something like KQs or 88 in this scenario?) we would want our 3bet range to be comprised of 66% value hands and 33% bluffs.

So, could I use a 2:1 Value to Bluff ratio as the starting point for a 3bet versus an Unknown, and then adjust that for the particular player we are up against (increasing the the value combos vs. someone who wont fold and increasing the bluff combos vs. someone who folds too often)?

Or is this flawed thinking?

Merged vs. Polarized Ranges
I recently read that we should 3bet a polarized range vs. opponents we expect to only play back at us with a tight range, and that we should 3bet a merged range against players that will play back with us more frequently. The logic being that when the tighter opponent comes at us we want hands that are easier to ditch or play for value, and that when the looser opponent comes at us, we have a good number of hands that are in good shape vs. his playback range.

This all seems logical to me - any controversy re: 3betting certain opponents with polarized rangers and other opponents with a merged range? I suspect that a GTO strategy would have us 3betting the same range versus all opponent types but this type of deviation seems logical and likely profitable in the real world, yes?

3bet Percentage vs. Steals
Ed Miller argues for having different blind 3bet ranges for times when we're facing a normal raise from, say, EP or MP, and another range for when we are facing a steal raise from the CO or BTN. Ed has us 3betting approximately 15-20% of the time when we're up against a steal from the CO or BTN. Is this a good default frequency to target against opponents who are stealing wide? Or is there an argument to be made that since we're 3betting from OOP, we should be tightening up our 3bet range rather than expanding it?


When to Alter Default 3betting Ranges
What are some factors that will cause us to deviate from our default 3bet ranges that we develop? Against a guy playing 76/53 preflop we'd obviously want to 3bet a hand like ATs since it smashes his goofball range

It also seems like aggressive thinking players behind us in a situation where we are 3betting light would cause us to tighten up our range since we would be at risk of being 4bet light. At least this seems correct in theory. However, where I toil in the micros online and at 1/2 live, I feel like a cold 4bet is never a bluff so perhaps this isn't something we need to really worry about in practice since we wont be running into AA-KK (and maybe AK/QQ) all that often.

Is this logical? Are there other factors to consider that would cause us to tighten/expand our 3bet ranges?

Didn't expect this to get so long when I started typing - thanks for reading and for any assistance anyone provides!

Comments

  • bamboobamboo Red Chipper Posts: 39 ✭✭
    I am just starting out at Red Chip, and play live (live in Vegas) and OL at the same levels you do, seems to me you are right on target.
  • CubanBCubanB Red Chipper Posts: 82 ✭✭
  • MtipsterMtipster Red Chipper Posts: 128 ✭✭
    Great, that Joseph (numerous)forum(s) meltdown produced some positive results after all! :)

    I think you are on right trick and I agree with each of your assumptions except one - 3bet value to bluff ratio.
    It is closer to 35-40% value, although it may seem counterintuitive.
    Consider this: if villain 4bets, you have to 5bet 40-50% of your 3betting range (depending of his 4bet size) to prevent him exploiting you. So, you have 40% value 3bets which you will 5bet but you also need some 5bet bluffs (you pick very small part of your 3bet bluffing range that plays good against his 5bet calling range). This puts you right in the wanted range of 40-50% 5bet.

    Ofcourse, against some villains, you will 3bet bluff less, or not at all. Some will let you print money by calling your 3bets with junk but they will 4bet very tight and you will defend against it with only top of your range...
  • Matthew BMatthew B Red Chipper Posts: 31 ✭✭
    @CubanB

    I would like to start by saying I am by no means a pro and don't take my word as the truth. I am just going to give you my opinion on your topics based on my experience in live poker and some of the content I've read. I do not play online poker and the 1/3$ game I play in is super loose passive. My opinion is going to be biased based on my experience

    As far as the correct 3betting strategy when it comes to 3bet bluffing I think that it is all player dependent. Being exploitable really only matters if your opponents are paying attention enough to exploit you. I would only worry about creating a range that can defend against 4bets if you think you are going to get 4bet bluffed. Even regulars at the 1/2$ level seem to only do this with QQ+ and occasionally AK. I would recommend for these games having very few true bluff combos in your 3betting range.

    When it comes to merged vs polarized ranges I think it is correct to choose a strategy based on your opponents counter strategy. It's not so much tight vs loose but more based on if they flat or 4bet more often. This makes sense in theory too. When we 3bet polarized against an agressive player and they decide to 4bet our decisions become a lot easier. It's pretty cut and dry which hands we can 5bet for value or bluff. We will not have all of the middle hands that we would if we used a merged strategy. The other scenario passive opponents. They are likely to flat our 3bets a lot so why would we want hands like A2s A3s or K2s when we can have KJs, ATs, and AJs. We can flop strong hands more frequently and take them to value town.

    The vast majority of the 1/2$ tables are loose passive so I would recommend almost always using a merged 3-betting range. Example: a loose passive player opens from HJ 150BBs effective we have ATs on the BU. I would three bet a lot of the time here against this player type it will likely isolate the bad player and create a bigger pot. You'll see them flat with all sorts of garbage and only 4bet with the nuts. An example of when I would use a polarized strategy would be IP vs an aggressive regular. I would be 3betting polarized in this spot generally because our opponent is unlikely to flat and play OOP. He is more likely to 4bet and try to take it down pre or create such a big pot that position is basically irrelevant.

    Also, I think when you reference GTO I think what you are referring to is balanced and unexploitable. The strategy that everyone refers to as GTO is made to combat against someone who plays perfectly back at you. Pure GTO poker would be more focused on finding opponents weakness and pounding them. The GTO strategy adapts based on the competition.

    If you are just looking for a basic strategy to use for all opponents I would assume that all players are loose passive at the 1/2 level until proven otherwise.

    Hopefully this helps!!
  • bamboobamboo Red Chipper Posts: 39 ✭✭
    I think the above just about nails it when playing in 1/2 NL if in fact it is a loose passive game. This is the approach I use in these spots and it works well.
  • Faustovaldez123Faustovaldez123 Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 597 ✭✭✭
    hey @CubanB your strategy should be revolved around stack sizes and how your setting yourself up post flop

    the shallower the stacks the simpler the game becomes and your strategy is straightforward. The deeper the stacks the more you could implement aggression along side merging with a clear goal in mind.

    its important to know the details of being balance, polarized and merging and why their good and bad. However its more important to understand when to implement it and how to see when your opponents are doing it themselves and again knowing the pros and cons of it.

    Right now it sounds like your trying to mix all of the strategies together which would not be possible and will conflict with each other especially when you are trying to analyze spots post flop.
    COACHING NOW AVAILABLE HERE
  • CubanBCubanB Red Chipper Posts: 82 ✭✭
    Matthew B wrote: »
    @CubanB

    I would like to start by saying I am by no means a pro and don't take my word as the truth. I am just going to give you my opinion on your topics based on my experience in live poker and some of the content I've read. I do not play online poker and the 1/3$ game I play in is super loose passive. My opinion is going to be biased based on my experience

    As far as the correct 3betting strategy when it comes to 3bet bluffing I think that it is all player dependent. Being exploitable really only matters if your opponents are paying attention enough to exploit you. I would only worry about creating a range that can defend against 4bets if you think you are going to get 4bet bluffed. Even regulars at the 1/2$ level seem to only do this with QQ+ and occasionally AK. I would recommend for these games having very few true bluff combos in your 3betting range.

    When it comes to merged vs polarized ranges I think it is correct to choose a strategy based on your opponents counter strategy. It's not so much tight vs loose but more based on if they flat or 4bet more often. This makes sense in theory too. When we 3bet polarized against an agressive player and they decide to 4bet our decisions become a lot easier. It's pretty cut and dry which hands we can 5bet for value or bluff. We will not have all of the middle hands that we would if we used a merged strategy. The other scenario passive opponents. They are likely to flat our 3bets a lot so why would we want hands like A2s A3s or K2s when we can have KJs, ATs, and AJs. We can flop strong hands more frequently and take them to value town.

    The vast majority of the 1/2$ tables are loose passive so I would recommend almost always using a merged 3-betting range. Example: a loose passive player opens from HJ 150BBs effective we have ATs on the BU. I would three bet a lot of the time here against this player type it will likely isolate the bad player and create a bigger pot. You'll see them flat with all sorts of garbage and only 4bet with the nuts. An example of when I would use a polarized strategy would be IP vs an aggressive regular. I would be 3betting polarized in this spot generally because our opponent is unlikely to flat and play OOP. He is more likely to 4bet and try to take it down pre or create such a big pot that position is basically irrelevant.

    Also, I think when you reference GTO I think what you are referring to is balanced and unexploitable. The strategy that everyone refers to as GTO is made to combat against someone who plays perfectly back at you. Pure GTO poker would be more focused on finding opponents weakness and pounding them. The GTO strategy adapts based on the competition.

    If you are just looking for a basic strategy to use for all opponents I would assume that all players are loose passive at the 1/2 level until proven otherwise.

    Hopefully this helps!!

    Thanks for the comments, @Matthew B.

    Your point about betting polarized IP vs a good aggressive player makes a lot of sense to me and being merged most of the time at 1/2 makes sense.

    Re: a GTO preflop 3bet strategy at my midget stakes, I do have a very basic understanding of GTO. And I realize I don't need to worry much about being unexploitable at 1/2 because most people aren't paying attention nor worrying about being balanced themselves. But I remember listening to an RCP podcast last fall where Soto says beginners should work to develop a theoretical understanding of the game, so that drove some of my questions/thoughts.

    I'm curious about your example of 3betting a Loose Passive from BTN with ATs. This is a situation that I am still not comfortable with - when I see a passive guy Open I assume they're doing so with a very narrow range and worry that they'll be calling with aces that dominate me. We can probably pick up the pot often enough when we both whiff but I also feel like there is a very good chance to make an expensive 2nd best hand when that ace hits and he'll have overpairs quite often when we hit our T. I would probably tend to play this as a call vs. a loose passive player but maybe incorporate it vs someone who I have seen Open fairly wide preflop but be fit-or-fold postflop.

  • CubanBCubanB Red Chipper Posts: 82 ✭✭
    hey @CubanB your strategy should be revolved around stack sizes and how your setting yourself up post flop

    the shallower the stacks the simpler the game becomes and your strategy is straightforward. The deeper the stacks the more you could implement aggression along side merging with a clear goal in mind.

    its important to know the details of being balance, polarized and merging and why their good and bad. However its more important to understand when to implement it and how to see when your opponents are doing it themselves and again knowing the pros and cons of it.

    Right now it sounds like your trying to mix all of the strategies together which would not be possible and will conflict with each other especially when you are trying to analyze spots post flop.

    Thanks for chiming in, Mr. Valdez - considerations of how stack sizes something I'll do some more thinking about in the future. I generally play around 100BB's effective but would imagine that as stack sizes increase we would want to 3bet more (particularly in position) since starting hand values in deep games run closer together; and conversely we'd want to 3bet less as our stacks get shorter lest we get called/reraised and find ourselves committed in a small SPR pot with a marginal hand. But those are just semi-educated guesses at this point and I couldn't provide a deeper rationale for doing things that way...and I wouldn't be surprised at all if what I just said is very silly.

    You are absolutely correct that I am probably mixing in 100 different strategies together - I am very bad at this very complex game! But the goal at the end of all of this is to have something resembling a coherent strategy and this seems like a good place to learn how to formulate one.
  • Matthew BMatthew B Red Chipper Posts: 31 ✭✭
    When I say loose passive I should have mentioned that I was not necessarily thinking about players that only raise with the nuts. I was more talking about live NL players who make smallish opens and will call your three bets super wide. They do it with a wide range of hands. I don't really categorize them as aggressive because after their small raises they play really passively. I agree 3-betting a true loose passive player that open raises a tight nutted range with ATs is probably bad!!
  • CubanBCubanB Red Chipper Posts: 82 ✭✭
    Ok that makes sense - you're talking about the dudes who will do the $7 mini-open which with stuff like big broadway, suited aces and decent suited connectors but raise to $12 or so with their true monsters like AA-QQ/AK.

    Thanks for clarifying!