I’m back! Again. Before we get started, someone commented about how else to counteract an aggressive player. I would like to address that first, and then move on to the new article. Eric, we have played before, and I highly doubt you have 4 or 5 bet someone super light more than twice in your entire playing career. Not a knock, please don’t get me wrong, but, as we are about to explore, people don’t play deep enough in charity tournaments in order to get in to a 4/5 bet war. No need to. Logically it is all in or fold as a 4-bet, as that is what a 20-30 BB stack dictates. However, I will get more in to that later. But to respond to your comment, I think that it is a horrible idea. Most people are not good enough at reading hyper aggressive players hands to know what a good 4-bet spot is. Most people are not willing to make a light 4 bet, as there is too much play left in the tournament. They are much more comfortable playing a 3-bet pot and folding if they miss, or something along those lines. So, 4 and 5 betting, with mediocre or bad hands, is a really bad idea. You aren’t picking up many chips, you’re only getting called where you are dominated, and if you don’t flop something-or get aggressive (and he doesn’t flop anything) then you are going to be playing a large pot in an extremely uncomfortable situation. Therefore, there is no need to bloat the pot more than a 3-bet preflop. You are better off getting more information in a smaller pot, as a hyper-LAG is going to outplay you most of the time, it’s just going to happen. Granted, sometimes, they will punt their stack to you, but this happens a lot less often than one thinks.
I have another article in the works that deals with probability, variance, and odds, and hopefully that will help bridge the gap from our last chat about lowering your bet sizes and not being scared with this, how to put chips in the pot with a mediocre hand. In the end, the goal is to be a bit more comfortable putting fewer chips in the pot with better hands preflop (with a single bet) and more chips in the pot (preflop-via a 3-bet) with mediocre hands. I have mentioned to Caveman that I would like to live tweet my tournament one day, just to show how loose aggressive I play, and that I almost NEVER have a better hand than you. The best example would be at Northville Downs 6 Max tournament on Monday nights, but we shall see what unfolds.
Moving on to new business! JRG, you wanted me to write on 3-betting out of position. Before I get to that, great profile picture on Facebook, too bad it’s AP’s (yes, I know who he is, yes, I’ve played with him, yes, he can kind of be an ass). My first thought on the topic was not a positive one. My first thought was: don’t do it. Start small with a 3-bet in position. If he is to your right, let him take advantage of you, but make your 3-bet with 20-25 BB an all-in, instead of 3x his open. However, I figure if you really wanted to know, I will share my insight on it!
As always, there is a time and a place for the out of position (OOP) 3-bet. Most preferably it is in the blinds, as you have not been able to produce any action yet. Most players are not going to fool around with AA in early position anyway, and are going to just raise. This is smart, because the more limpers, the less likely someone will raise, therefore you lose massive amounts of value on your great hands. So, preferably, make it from the blinds. You have given off no information prior to your 3-bet as to the strength of your hand. You also get a small discount, as your blind is already in the pot. Let’s ‘play a hand’, just to set some sizing rules, and what to be aware of:
We are in the small blind, with 50k at 800/1600. The aggressive player is in early position with 40k. Everyone folds to him, and for the 3rd time in 5 hands, he raises to 3700. There is one caller, and it is on us in the small blind. We have XX because at this point, our cards, honestly, DO NOT MATTER. We are trying to take the pot down now, and to put a stop to his raising in our blinds, not to play a hand out of position (unless you have a good hand-which is later). Now, if you are a little skeptical of raising with K3, then here is a nice range of hands that play well against the opponent: Suited connectors, 2 face cards, J10. So, you have a plethora of hands to choose from. My favorite has to be 78 or 45, but that’s just me.
So, with our blinds in, and the raise, the pot is 6100. Our raise should be around 9800, giving him only 1.5:1 on a call with a weaker hand, which should price out 95%+ of his range, leaving only premium hands. Even psycho aggressive players are not going to want to put 25% of their stack in with 78 suited, even if they ‘know’ you have AA. We are essentially adding what is in the pot to his original raise. We are not quite 3x’ing his open, as we discussed previously. We are now putting in such a large amount of his stack, and ours, that he doesn’t have the implied odds to continue (basically, using implied odds, one calculates how much of your stack they will get, usually all, if they hit their hand-and then compare it to the odds they have to overcome based on your range).
For those interested in implied odds, here is a decent explanation from Wikipedia (of all places!):
Implied pot odds, or simply implied odds, are calculated the same way as pot odds, but take into consideration estimated future betting. Implied odds are calculated in situations where the player expects to fold in the following round if the draw is missed, thereby losing no additional bets, but expects to gain additional bets when the draw is made. Since the player expects to always gain additional bets in later rounds when the draw is made, and never lose any additional bets when the draw is missed, the extra bets that the player expects to gain, excluding his own, can fairly be added to the current size of the pot. This adjusted pot value is known as the implied pot.
So, say the player calls. Now what do you do? That’s a great question. What do you think that he has? Do you think he has a hand like 88? AK? 78 suited? Surely he does not have AA, KK, or QQ, as he would have shoved a 4 bet down our throats here. So, knowing that these hands are out of his range, how do we want to proceed? For me, my calling 3-bet range is very small. I don’t know if I even call with 88, as there are many more pots that I can win, without having to commit so much money to the pot, pre-flop, and not as the aggressor, which is a big deal. So, the opponent can sometimes show up with AJ, AQ, AK or KQ, but usually not much weaker than that (and pocket 5’s-10’s). Knowing this, we should represent a big hand by betting the flop. Say the flop is K4J. Our perceived range of AA, KK, QQ, and AK plays really strong against this board. The only thing we really have to be scared of is AK, KJ, JJ, or 44. Otherwise, we should be good to fire freely at this flop. Let’s look at his perceived range: AK is probably the most likely, as it is a strong hand, but not one that he necessarily wants to shove with. JJ is not going to show up here very often. Usually it is a shove or fold pre, at least it is for me. 44 should never be here, as it doesn’t play very well against your range, and the opponent is putting too much money in to set mine. KJ shouldn’t show up here because our perceived range crushes KJ, as we have KK and AK in our range a vast majority of the time. The second most likely hand is some form of suited connector. So, we should really bet every flop, basically reversing roles. He will fold most of the time, and you pick up a healthy pot, with little resistance. As for bet sizing, half the pot here is an acceptable bet. You will get a fold 7/10 times, which is more than enough to make it profitable. However, if you get called, you are probably behind, and will lose 40% of your stack if you aren’t right.
With a premium hand, 3 betting is much more comfortable. You want him to spazz out and 4 bet you all in. This is rare, but it does happen (shipping JJ here is considered a spazz or punt). In this scenario, we will keep all the variables the same, except we have a premium hand, such as KK. Since implied odds matter less, we can make our bet a bit bigger, somewhere around 11000. This way we do get a bit more if he calls our 3 bet. Also, we can get our stack in the middle a bit easier (without having to overbet the pot). So, preflop if he calls, the pot is 23600, which is very large, but we have KK, so that’s okay at this point. Flop is KJ4, now we have flopped top set. The biggest question, now, is how do we play it? This is the second issue that hampers players, how much to bet, and when to bet it. If we flopped three kings on a non-flush board, why would we bet it? Let him bet it. If I was the aggressive player, I am going to try to take advantage of the check by making a smallish bet, to try to take down the pot. My bet would be around 8700, 33% pot. At this point, you can just shove, and most likely end the hand, or you can call and hope he bets again. Personally, I really like to let hyper-aggressive players hang themselves. Most just know that they should bet, not WHY they should be betting. So, use that against them.
As for limp/3-betting light, here are my thoughts: DON’T. Depending on the player, they will see this as weak, and not strong, therefore calling at a high rate than what you want/is profitable for you. Granted, your 3 bet here should be MUCH larger than normal (using the last example, somewhere near 14000) as you probably have limpers in the hand. To be honest, it doesn’t make much sense 3 betting in this spot, as you don’t gain anything other than just a raise and a few limps, while risking a large amount of your stack. So, then the issue becomes the fact that, if you NEVER, limp/3-bet light, then you must have a monster, and the aggressive player is more than likely going to fold. If you’re not sure what to do with your good hand, OOP against a loose-aggressive player, just raise preflop and go from there.