3 Betting and Stealing Pots

When to use three betting effectively is before the flop in most instances. When you use the three bet before the flop you put your opponent to the test right away. You will find out how strong their hand is right then and there, and this is what you want to do. If you play pots post flop without a three bet before the flop, you haven’t gathered any information about the strength of their hand. It is difficult to figure out certain players hands; especially aggressive players, so, ideally you want to gather information and get it quickly. If you wait until later in the hand you will be more or less guessing about what cards your opponent could have.

When you want to steal pots by using the three bet is before the flop and when you have position on your opponent. If you have the button, you have the best position at the table, and you have to use the button to your advantage. If you don’t use the button to your advantage you will not go very far in a poker tournament, and you also will lose a lot of money when playing cash games. When playing poker you have to take opportunities when they occur. There are very few spots where it is correct to three bet before the flop to steal pots, but there are a handful of common occurrences. One of these common occurrences is when you are on the button and facing an aggressive player. This player has been controlling all of the action at the table, and you have been sitting back and playing passive. Once you put in a three bet the aggressive player will only think of shoving over the top or mucking their hand. Very rarely does an aggressive player just call a three bet from a passive player when they are out of position. It is a recipe for disaster and even the most reckless players will toss their hand away. If you find yourself in this situation, and decide to three bet the aggressive player this is a positive step in the right direction because if you don’t do it eventually, you will have little to no chips left to fight with. Poker and tournament poker especially is like a heavy weight boxing fight where players duel for chips until the very end. Every decision in a poker tournament could end up leaving you on the rail. One mistake can be magnified into a downward spiral that leaves you with no chips, so, just make sure that every decision is the correct one.

Three bet sizing is also very important when looking to steal a pot. You don’t want to three bet too much and you don’t want to three bet too little. Ideally, 2.5 times their bet is right around the number you want to be at. If you are sitting in a tournament with the blinds at 250/500 and a player opens to 1k in chips, you want to three bet t0 around 2,500, as just an example. You can get away with three betting to 2,100-2,700 as a range for your three bets. It is important that you don’t commit too many chips before the flop because you also want to keep in mind post flop play. Post flop you have to continue your story with a bet on the flop because otherwise you have since wasted your pre-flop three bet. If you look to accumulate chips, three betting is necessary before the flop. It applies pressure to your opponent as well as allows you to win pots without a showdown. When you don’t show the hands you had for an extended period of time, you gain the power at a poker table. Once you have the power, you will begin to get paid off by players just because they are curious what your hand could be. This is exactly what you want and you should strive to get to this point in a tournament by mastering the pre-flop three bet. When you take control of a table by running them over with three bets eventually one player will look you up with a marginal hand like A10 or 77. At this point you should realize that someone was going to do this, so, it is a matter of changing gears and toning it down once your table has recognized that you are capable of three betting with rag type hands.