Posted on 02 April 2012
The Modern Game – With T.C. Jesudason
Whats up guys. Welcome to the resumed www.pokernz.com! Its great to see people in the NZ poker community taking the initiative to get the site back and running and will hopefully have some awesome content for you guys in the near future. Brooke has asked me to do some strategy pieces for ya which ill try get out on a regular basis. Feel free to discuss any ideas from the pieces in the forums and i’ll happily answer any questions there.
To introduce myself, my names Tim and I’ve been playing online since late 2005 moving up through the ranks from freerolls to low stakes SnG’s – MTT’s (multi-table tournaments) and now midstake cash games which I’ve been focusing on for the past 3 years or so. I play predominantly 1/2 and 2/4 no limit 6max so hopefully i manage to articulate my ideas and knowledge of the game in a way you guys can get something out of it!
Power of the 3-bet. – In Position
Lets face it, the online poker boom is in its twilight years. The games are getting tougher and tougher. With each amateur going broke the poker sea is resembling more of a shark tank waiting to be fed. Passive poker has become a rarity and we now have to work out how to combat the aggressive nature of the online world. How do we do this? Good question..
Fight fire with fire.
A great way to learn anything is by trying to emulate the people who are better than you. In the poker sense this will generally be the people who give you the hardest time at the tables.
Have you ever had a player on your left who constantly re-raises(3bets) you when you raise pre flop, especially when he’s got position on you? You end up folding the first couple times, eventually you decide to make a stand and probably call his re raise out of position only to fold when he bets on the flop.
Why is he doing this? Is he just going after you just because of your screenname or avatar? No. Most people nowadays know that playing out of position is not a particularly profitable or fun proposition. Now, imagine you’re playing a game online and it folds to you one spot before the button (the cutoff). What hands are you raising? Let’s suppose your range is consisted of any suited ace, any pair, K9s+, QTs+ a8o+ and all suited connectors. That’s a pretty wide range. Now think which of these hands you can call his re raise. Maybe pocket tens and better and AQ+? It’s not hard to see his preflop 3-bet is going to get a lot of folds and be highly profitable.
Now we can all hopefully see the great value in 3-betting a wider range pre-flop we need to understand properly how to apply it. I see many less experienced players getting excited after learning they can 3-bet light and do it somewhat spontaneously without much consideration to their hands playability, value or their opponents.
A good way to start is to note weather your opponent in question is a competent regular or weaker recreational player. Against the latter it’s fairly simple – 3-bet always for value. Against a weak player who is going to call your re-raise super wide its okay, and generally best to go ahead and re-raise your Kjo on the button. He will call your raise with a lot of weaker hands and the hands he calls with that are better than yours he’ll often have to fold when you bet on the flop. The one thing we don’t want to do against the weak player is 3-bet weak hands like T7o and 95s. These hands will often be dominated by our weak opponents calling range and it will be hard to bluff off a calling station when we don’t have equity!
That was the easy part. Now what do we do against a competent opponent who will recognize we’re 3-betting him light? The answer – Polarization. Don’t get scared by the fancy name, the theory is relatively straight forward.
Tough opponents, when facing a habitual 3-better will often play a style of re-raise or fold when out of position. Against a player like this that is seldom calling our re-raises it would be disastrous to re-raise a hand like Ajs as we will have to fold to his 4-bet and would lose the value of a strong playable starting hand! The same can be said for hands like KQ and 78s. These sorts of hands play well against his opening range and by calling you will often have him dominated. If you re-raise a hand like QJ and he does decide to call you will often find yourself dominated by AQ or AJ (as he folds everything worse) but by calling you now have the chance to dominate his JT’s and Q9s.
So instead pick a range of hands you can re-raise for value. These hands your happy to go all in if he 4-bets you. A good sort of starting range might consist of JJ+ and AK. Now that you have a value range your happy with you can add in a bluff range. What sort of hands then if not the ones mentioned should you bluff pre-flop with? Well a good mantra is bluff with the most equity. So for this situation try 3-betting the best of the hands you would have otherwise folded. Hands such as 58s, 96s or 98o are great 3-betting hands vs this opponent as they are not good enough to call his open but are rarely dominated, very well disguised when you hit and if you get 4-bet does not hurt to fold.
So next time you open up your poker lobby try getting aggressive. You’ll eventually get a good grasp of situations and if properly applied you’ll see you win rate flourish.
Please post questions and comments in the forums and I’ll do my best to answer them
Good luck at the tables!
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