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Measured Pre-Flop Aggression: Poker’s 3-Bet

One of the most powerful pre-flop moves you can make at the poker table is to re-raise (3-bet) an opening raiser. This move not only puts pressure on your opponent as they’ll be forced to commit more money out of position, but gives the impression that you hold a very strong hand. These two factors often force your opponent in many card games into a position where they must weigh up the value of their hand and, either, commit their stack or fold.

While 3-betting is a strong pre-flop move, it’s one that can be tricky to master if you don’t consider some fundamental factors. The first thing you need to ask yourself is: “why”? When making any move at the poker table this is essential; however, it’s even more important when committing a large portion of your stack (such as when 3-betting).

There are two main reasons for 3-betting pre-flop: for value or as a bluff. When you’re holding a strong hand you want to get as much money into the pot as possible. A 3-bet in this scenario is therefore the perfect move as it either elicits a call from your opponent – thus, making the pot larger post-flop – or it forces them to re-raise. At this point you’ll be able to make a further raise, which will often be all-in.

If you aren’t 3-betting for value then you will be doing it to pressure a loose player into folding. For this move to be effective you need to be sure that: A) The player is raising a lot of hands (which means many of them will be weak) and B) They often fold when raised. If both these conditions are in place then you can often 3-bet with almost any hand and be confident that it looks powerful enough to make them fold.

In either situation you must always ensure the conditions are in your favour. Whether you’re 3-betting for value or as a bluff, you should be in position and as close to the button as possible. Keeping these points in mind, and always staying up to date with the latest casino news and tips, will improve your 3-betting game and make you a lot more money at the poker table.

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