What Should You Do if Somebody 3bets You?

I have found this to be a very popular question especially among my students. As I mentioned above, 3betting has become a lot more popular these days and you will get 3bet with some frequency even at the lowest limits. My answer to this question is pretty simple.

You should be folding a lot of the time especially when you are OOP.

Don’t worry if it makes you feel like a wimp. We are here to make money, not massage our egos.

The reason why you should fold a lot of the time when somebody 3bets you is because it simply isn’t profitable to call. And just a reminder, I am referring to 100bb stacks here. Things definitely do change quite a bit if the stacks are 50bb or 250bb deep. I don’t fold to 3bets anywhere near as much when stacks are really deep. And with shallow stacks, I will fold or 4bet all in with a bit wider range. I am never calling.

But back to 100bb poker. It is simply very difficult to turn a profit as a 3bet caller especially when OOP. This is because you are going to miss the flop a lot of the time and have to check/fold and forfeit 10-12bb (your initial raise + the 3bet amount). This adds up in a huge way over time. Do this 9 or 10 times and you have just been stacked!

Even when IP however it is difficult to turn a profit in these situations. Again, this goes back to the profitability of initiative, which we don’t have! If you play your cards essentially face up and only get aggressive when you hit the flop decently hard, you simply won’t be able to make up for all the times that you missed and folded. You just won’t hit the flop and win a big pot often enough.

There is no guarantee that you will get your opponent’s stack in the middle when you do hit. A lot of people seem to think that they have infinite implied odds if they hit the flop. This just isn’t the case. Your opponent will have plenty of stuff besides AA or KK that will not pay you off.

For all of these reasons, I would suggest that you only call a 3bet with a very strong range such as TT+ and AK. And obviously with some of the hands on the higher end of this range, you should just be 4betting with them anyways.

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