3Bet Pots Heads Up

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 by Gugel in Preflop

I make a pretty substantial amount of my profit from 3bet pots in heads-up no limit online texas holdem. While I cant cant cover everything about 3bet pots in a single post, my mission here is to give you a good foundation by outlining a standard preflop strategy.

Note: After talking with Ansky, I realized I was making some mistakes in 3bet pots and adjusted this post accordingly.

Top 3 Considerations in 3Bet Pots

1.  You are either 3betting for value (50% of the time) or 3betting as a bluff (50% of the time).  There is no in between.  You should not 3bet hands like 88 or JTs because you can profitably just call with those hands.  Overcards will flop so often and youll put yourself into horrible situations.  For example, lets say you 3bet 88 and the flop comes 3s7dQc and your opponent leads for a pot sized bet.  Do you call and hope it gets checked down the river?  Fold?  Raise?  None of the options are very appealing.  A hand like K6s is a great hand to 3bet bluff because you cant just call with it profitably.  Well get into 3betting value ranges a bit later one.
2.  3bet pots are very opponent dependent.  If your opponent frequently folds to your 3bets, you need to exploit that.  Likewise, if your opponent is 3betting you frequently, you should open up your 4betting range and 3betting calling range.
3.  A standard 3bet size is 11 big blinds.  If you find your opponent is calling your 3bets more than you like, you can start increasing the amount you 3bet.

3Bet Calling Range Heads Up (from the Button)

According to the preflop hand range charts we talked about before, you should be raising the top 80% of hands on the button. Eventually, youll face a raise (AKA a 3bet). Heres the standard 3bet calling range from the button. Again, remember that you have position advantage!

3Bet Calling Range

3Bet Calling Range Heads Up

3Betting Range Heads Up (from the BB)

You should be playing 31% of hands from the BB, but which hands should you just flat call and when should you 3bet? Remember that you are out of position and youll be building a big pot that might prove difficult to play postflop if you decide to 3bet. Heres the standard 3bet raising range from the big blind.

3Betting Range Heads Up

3Betting Range Heads Up

Again, the most important thing to take away is to always remember the advantage of position! And you should always mix up your play, especially against competent, thinking opponents.  These charts are meant as just a general guideline.

Well talk more about 3bet pots strategy on the flop, turn and river in future posts.

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6 Responses to 3Bet Pots Heads Up

  1. poker kid

    21. Dec, 2008

    this is an absolutely brilliant post, mate! broke it down perfectly. im gonna show this to my parents to demonstrate how poker isnt just about dumb luck and that it involves careful calculation and probability and all that good stuff!

  2. tilted

    07. Jan, 2009

    How about some more blog posts?

  3. Ragnarok1er

    10. Jan, 2009

    I just had a great day playing HU cash (won about 800+$, which is about my best day ever) and I want to thank you because you played a good part in it.

    I was quite confused with 3-betting ranges and 3-betting calling ranges, and after 10 mins of HU I was often finding myself raising 100% of my buttons because I wasnt paying enough attention, and all that was leading me in tough spots.

    This morning I randomly found your blog and the general advice you give about this, and immediately I knew what I had to do. I took the 4 pokerstove screenshots you made and used them to make a frame ( http://img378.imageshack.us/my.php?image=rangesdehuxx6.jpg ), and I put the HU table in the middle. It acts as a constant reminder that I shouldnt spew and call with 86o oop or 3-bet with 55 when I can just call, and it has improved my game a lot.

    Now I can focus on playing well postflop and I dont have to wonder How did I get in this mess? anywhere near often. So really, thanks a lot for these articles, you have no idea how useful they were! :)

  4. Bill

    18. Jun, 2009

    Can you talk a little about ranges for 3bets and 4bets? I mean how to set ranges for tight, loose, etc in Poker Tracker. Example 0-25% = green, 50-75% = yellow, etc.?

  5. wayne

    28. Sep, 2010

    read your article and thought how great these chart can
    come into good use, but im i little confused about the color coding of the charts, could you pls give me some idea of what to bet for each color rangs ? cheers.

  6. bob

    29. Sep, 2010

    The yellow are the cards you should 3-bet, its basically a screenshot from Poker Stoves hand distribution preflop selector and ansky yellowed (selected) the 3betting range