3-Betting – Playing the Flop

Say you 3-bet an opponent pre-flop and he calls. Now what? How we play postflop depends on various factors, such as his frequency for calling 3-bets out of position, his perception of our range, and of course, board texture.

Your Perceived Range

People will usually put you on AK, high cards, small suited connectors that can’t profitably call a pre-flop raise, or high pocket pairs when you 3-bet before the flop. On the flop, Villain can put us on a different range of hands depending on what we do.

Paired boards

We can also use the flop texture to narrow down our opponent’s hand range. When Villain calls a c-bet on a paired board, he will have a pocket pair most of the time, and even more often than in single-raised pots. He may sometimes float with ace-high, but that’s not going to happen often in a 3-bet pot. Knowing this, you want to apply serious pressure.

For example:

Only do this against opponents who are tight or can make a big fold. There will be players who will call the turn again with 88. If he never folds with 88, then you may want to check behind with your 98s or and value bet a river J or 6; bluff the A, K and Q. This allows you to see all five cards with enough money to make a scary river bluff.

Monotone boards

Players generally play two pairs, sets or small flushes very fast on these boards. If you c- bet in a 3-bet pot and he calls, you can safely rule out those hands. There will be so much money out there by then (about 60BB in the pot if he calls) that he would want to get it in right away with his strong hands. Knowing that, you want to be shoving your stack on the turn if you have the nut-flush draw.

Let’s go over a quick hand to demonstrate this concept.

If you started with 100BB, then you probably have about 70BB left, so it’s the perfect size. You could fold out Tx with a heart, 99-77 with a heart or a random Kx or Qx with a heart. A strong hand would have raised you all-in on the flop already.

A93-type boards

You want to c-bet almost 100 percent of your 3-betting range here. Even if you have TT- KK, it’s best to c-bet this OOP more often than not. This can be for thin value if you’ve been 3-betting pre-flop a lot, because he may call you with lower pocket pairs or 9x. More importantly, if you check-call here, you turn your hand face up. We’ve all done this before and we end up in a very difficult spot when villain barrels the turn and the river. We end up leveling ourselves with thoughts like, “He knows I have a weak hand. And he knows I know that, but he’s going to bet anyway because he thinks I’m going to fold. So I call.” Then you find yourself calling 3 barrels against his AT. The reason why he can 3-barrel with AT is because you would have bet the flop with AJ+. His AT is the same as AK.

Counter

Ace-high flops are great spots to float in position in 3-bet pots. The reason is explained above—villain will c-bet almost 100 percent of his 3-betting range on this flop. We exploit that by floating here. You don’t need a legitimate hand but you should float with a hand that has some equity in the pot in case Villain has a real hand.

If he checks the flop, then just check behind because he probably has some weak made hand like TT-KK that intends to call you down. If he bets the flop, then call.

If he bets the turn, then he probably has an ace, so just fold. There’s nothing wrong with folding the turn after floating the flop. If Villain checks the turn, then check behind to represent something like A5s going for pot control. When he checks again on the river, he rarely has an ace. You can now bet about 2/3-3/4 of the pot.

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