How to Play 4Bet Pots

Posted on Jul 26, 2009 by Gugel in Poker Strategy

In this post, well talk about what you should do when you are on the button, you raise, villain 3bets, you 4bet and villain just smooth calls.  Heres an example of what Im talking about

$100NL
Preflop: Hero is SB with Kh, As
Hero bets $3, BB raises to $10, Hero raises to $25, BB calls $15

These kinds of spots are easy when you actually hit a big hand on the flop, but are pretty challenging when you miss since the pot is already huge preflop (usually around 50BB).  The first step in developing a good 4bet pot postflop strategy is to understand the villains calling range.   In the over 170,000 hands Ive played in HU, this situation has happened 153 times (that includes only the times we got to showdown).  So what kind of hands were the villains showing up with?

Pocket Pairs: Again, this is from a 153 hand sample.
22: 3
33: 1
44: 0
55: 2
66: 0
77: 1
88: 4
99: 4
TT: 6
JJ: 3
QQ: 1
KK: 0
AA: 5
There seems to be a big tendency for villains to call a 4bet with 88 JJ and AA.

Top 10 Hands Villain Shows Up With: Again, this from a 153 hand sample.
AJ: 13
AQ: 7
KJ: 7
KQ: 6
TT: 6
AA: 5
88: 4
99: 4
AK: 4
AT: 4

Dangerous Cards: Villain has at least one of these cards in his hand.
T: 23 (15%)
J: 38 (25%)
Q: 27 (18%)
K: 30 (20%)
A: 42 (27%)
Jacks and aces are the most dangerous cards that can come on the flop.  A ten high flop is best to cbet bluff.  A flop that comes queen or king high is somewhere in between. 

This post was actually inspired my a 2+2 thread and is intended to just be the first step in helping you come up with a 4bet strategy (its very opponent specific).  Funny thing is, I had initially thought that a jack high board hit my opponents range the weakest.  The thread made me curious and look for hard data to back up my claim.  Guess I was wrong!  This just goes to show how important it is to constantly be criticizing and evaluating your own beliefs and assumptions.

Have something to add about strategy in 4bet pots?  Post a comment!


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