Discussion - 3betting pairs from the blinds

    • silent21
      silent21
      Global
      Joined: 08.08.2008 Posts: 1,556
      Often i struggle postflop when i 3bet from blinds with mid/low pairs. Searching the internet i found the article below. Guys read it and share your opinon on the topic.

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      What I thought I would do is illustrate some hands where we 3bet, and where we dont, and what situation each choice leaves us in. Fwiw I don't actually have a standard line in these spots yet, so this is not a "lesson" per se, its more a post which I hope will generate some meaningful discussion.

      In these hands I have given hero 99 and not TT because I think it is important to realise that in most of these situations TT=99. Even though you may think that TT looks stronger, it almost always isnt when you consider his range. I haven't included the blinds in my calcs for simplicity. Also, quite clearly the flop texture has a big part to play in our decisions. Here, I have given a flop texture that is mostly harmless, not particularly draw heavy, but more importantly, it is good for a cbet both for us when we 3bet preflop, and for him when we just call preflop.

      MP in these hands is a TAG, he is 19/16/3.0 over a good sample. There are no specific session dynamics which would make either one of us do anything crazy, but we both know that we play well and are both capable of making moves.

      I've listed each position in terms of amount invested, amount won, and hand strength certainty. What do I mean by hand strength certainty? This is the way in which I measure the quality of the decision you make, based on the amount of informaiton you are given. If you are facing a shove when villain can hold a wide range, that means that your certainty about where you stand is poor. If you can narrow your opponents range down to a fine selection, then your hand strength certainty is high, making your decision much easier. In poker, the closer you get to the river, in general, the more certain you can be of your hand's strength relative to your opponents holding and make a comfortable decision, be it fold call or raise.



      First, lets take a look at 3betting and cbetting.


      Hand 1: We 3bet and cbet, he folds

      UTG (UTG): $50
      MP (MP): $50
      CO (CO): $50
      BTN (BTN): $50
      SB (SB): $50
      Hero (BB): $50

      Pre-Flop: 9 9 dealt to Hero (SB)
      3 folds, MP raises to $2, Hero raises to $6, MP calls.

      Flop: ($12) K 6 T (2 Players)
      Hero bets $10, MP folds.


      Net amount invested: $16
      Net amount won: $6
      Hand strength certainty: Unknown

      Our villains calling range preflop is wide, as we have no specific reads on him. Suited connectors, all pocket pairs, suited broadways, sneaky AA/KK and air looking to make a move are all more than possible. For this reason, when we make a bet, our hand strength is totally unknown, becuase we are playing against such a wide range - not just of cards, but of possible moves he can pull on us.

      In this case, he misses whatever he was looking for and folds, but note that the fact we have 99 is irrelevant. We could make this move with any two.


      Hand 2: We 3bet and cbet, he shoves

      UTG (UTG): $50
      MP (MP): $50
      CO (CO): $50
      BTN (BTN): $50
      SB (SB): $50
      Hero (BB): $50

      Pre-Flop: 9 9 dealt to Hero (SB)
      3 folds, MP raises to $2, Hero raises to $6, MP calls.

      Flop: ($12) K 6 T (2 Players)
      Hero bets $10, MP raises to $44 and is All-In,

      (34 for Hero to call into 66, pot odds 1.94:1, 65:34, need 34% to breakeven)

      Net amount invested: $16 -$50
      Net amount won: $?
      Hand strength certainty: Average - Poor

      Again, we play against a very wide range. He can have us crushed, or he can be making a move with any two, figuring that we are FOS. We need 34% equity to breakeven, but the point is, you are essentially paying your whole stack without ever really knowing what the hell you are up against. Remember this guys no maniac, but he can make moves. How do you know what he has? A very difficult decision, and a very expensive one - consider that if you fold here, you have invested $16 into a hand where you can still not be any surer that you were behind on the flop than you were preflop.


      Hand 3: We 3bet and cbet, he calls

      UTG (UTG): $50
      MP (MP): $50
      CO (CO): $50
      BTN (BTN): $50
      SB (SB): $50
      Hero (BB): $50

      Pre-Flop: 9 9 dealt to Hero (SB)
      3 folds, MP raises to $2, Hero raises to $6, MP calls.

      Flop: ($12) K 6 T (2 Players)
      Hero bets $10, MP Calls $10

      Turn: ($32) 2 (2 Players)

      Hero? (remaining stacks: $34)

      Net amount invested: $16
      Net amount won: $?
      Hand strength certainty: Totally unknown

      Now this is a horrible situation to be in. We have a PSB left, are OOP, and have no idea in hell where we stand. If we check, any bet he makes is going to commit us. Do we bet again? Do we shove? Was he floating with a smaller pair, or does he have the nuts? If we check and he bets or shoves, is he bluffing? How often is he bluffing? Why does he float the flop?

      You are literally having to commit your entire stack without knowing a single thing about whether you are behind or not. We have not defined villains hand at all, we are in a huge pot, and we are stuck. Remember, villain plays well - his range is totally polarised - nuts or nothing. Thats what you should be trying to do, polarise your range, because you can see how hard it is to play against.



      Now lets take a look at when we just call preflop.



      Hand 1 : We just call preflop, c/c flop

      UTG (UTG): $50
      MP (MP): $50
      CO (CO): $50
      BTN (BTN): $50
      SB (SB): $50
      Hero (BB): $50

      Pre-Flop: 9 9 dealt to Hero (SB)
      3 folds, MP raises to $2, Hero calls $2.

      Flop: ($4) K 6 T (2 Players)
      Hero checks, MP bets $3, Hero calls $3.

      Turn: ($10) 2 (2 Players)
      Hero checks

      Net amount invested so far: $5
      Hand strength certainty: Unknown

      His range is currently any hand which he would raise from MP. Note that we can't narrow that range down because this is a great flop to cbet. But look what has changed between just calling preflop and 3betting:

      1. We've only invested $5 so far.
      2. We've made it to the turn, meaning there are only two streets left to play
      3. Its going to be near impossible for villain to get our whole stack, unless he overbets somwhere
      4. We can get further in the hand, and improve our hand strength certainty, for a fraction of the price of 3betting.

      Im not going to focus on when he checks behind the flop, because then we can just check our way to freedom. I'll focus only on what happens when he cbets the flop, because I think that's what he does 90% of the time.

      So lets look at some turn situations.


      Hand 1a: He bets the turn, and we call

      Flop: ($4) K 6 T (2 Players)
      Hero checks, MP bets $3, Hero calls $3.

      Turn: ($10) 2 (2 Players)
      Hero checks, MP bets $7, Hero calls $7.

      Net amount invested so far: $12
      Hand strength certainty: Good

      Note that I've listed our certainty as "good". Why? Because now we have a lot of questions that we can answer about what he is doing. Questions like:

      1. Is this a good card to be doubling on?
      2. How aggressive is he by street, what is his turn AF?
      3. What is his went to SD?
      4. What is his bet river %age?
      5. How likely is he to bet the river if we call here? Could he ever bluff the river?

      Question 5 is important because its a very specific one and usually pretty easy to answer. It takes a very, very specific and competent type of villain to triple barrel this board with a hand worse than 99. Its almost impossible, imo, to face a bet on the river and not know what to do, because he HAS to put us on at least KQ, or we could be trapping with a set. If he bets the river for value, its strong value, and even if its thin value, its a damn sight fatter than 99. So...


      River: ($24) 7 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
      Hero checks, MP bets $18, Hero folds.

      Net amount invested so far: $12
      Hand strength certainty: Excellent

      ...we make an easy river fold. Our certainty is excellent, AND, more importantly, we save $4! We gain a much higher quality of information for a discount price, without ever having to worry about playing for stacks when we dont know where we stand. Of course if he behaves like we expect, this will happen a lot:


      River: ($24) 7 (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
      Hero checks, MP checks.

      Net amount invested so far: $12
      Hand strength certainty: 100% Certain

      Results: $24 Pot
      MP showed Q A (High card, Ace) and LOST
      Hero showed 9 9 (One pair, Nines) and WON



      Ship it.


      Now I'm not saying that this is gospel, or that its how you should definitely play, or that this is the only way to play these hands. Of course the following things are crucial:

      1. Villain tendencies
      2. Session dynamics
      3. Table image
      4. Flop, turn and river texture

      and so on. There are also times where you can be sure enough of your villain to 3bet 99 from the blinds for value and check fold the flop. But I do definitely think that to say that 3betting mediocre one pair hands from the blinds is mandatory is short sighted, and I hope that in this post I have shown that you can hugely increase the quality of the information you receive, and drastically lower the price of that information, having never to worry about playing for stacks, all just by not 3betting preflop.
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      Let the discussions begin.... Please post your opinion, and support it with stats and explanation why you would play a sample hand a sample way versus a sample opponent.
  • 1 reply
    • Dragar
      Dragar
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.09.2008 Posts: 2,214
      Yeah this is quiet hard....
      I prefer to cold-call if UTG or MP raises and 3-bet CO and BU or so.

      I usually also take a c/f line if I dont hit set.
      I don't like playing OOP as the writer of the article described it.

      If you do play OOP I think a c/r line would be better to use on the flop instead of c/c and c/c and then c/f. This is the safest way to save money, sure you won't get more out of villain... but why call a turn bet just to see what he is doing on the river if you could get the same info with c/r on the flop...

      I mean... pot will be like 4$.. usually villain bets 3$.. you can raise to 8$ on a non-drawy board, maybe even less depending on the board and villain. I frequently give up to min c/f raises to my conti bets etc.

      That is probably the safest way to play it.