FACING 3BETS IN LOW/MID STAKES TOURNAMENTS

If we keep in mind that ‘FREQUENT=IMPORTANT‘ we have to start the discussion with preflop adjustments. One of the key topics preflop is facing 3bets.
The good news is that most of your low-stakes opponents will have extreme 3bet stats:

A) A few of them will be overly agro, with higher than 15% overall 3bet

B) The majority of them will have around 3% total 3bet

Be aware: a guy may be a 60/45 maniac when it comes to raise first in, but he can still be a 3% nit with 3bets!

As total 3bet is a stat that doesn’t need too many hands to reveal, you can easily make big adjustments:

IF YOUR VILLAIN FALLS INTO THE MANIAC CATEGORY, YOU WANT TO

Flat call more marginal holdings

Slowplay more with monsters

4bet a bit wider range for value

Build in a few light non-allin 4bets (if the stacks are deep enough)

As their range contains weak holdings they will have hard time barrelling with, postflop you want to float more, expecting the turn/river to be checked with a high frequency

IF YOUR VILLAIN HAS 3% OVERALL 3BET, YOU ARE ADVISED TO MAKE EXTREME ADJUSTMENTS

A 3% range mainly contains JJ+ AK, and depending on the exact spot and sizing their might be even tighter! If you just close your eyes and do what the GTO charts say and play postflop as if you were against a competent player, you willingly handle dollars to a guy who probably has very little understanding of the game. You may still win money with your static strategy, but you definitely fail to maximize your profit!

Even if you don’t have strong stats on your opponent, there are some spots where it’s very hard to design and execute balanced 3bet ranges, therefore most of your opponents will be way too value-heavy:

1) 3betting from the big blind, especially vs early position opener, especially with deep stacks

2) Squeezing (non-allin) with less than 35bb stack, especially from the big blind

3) Technically not 3bet, but similar topic: non-allin isolation with less than 20bb stack, especially out of position

I’m not saying noone ever makes light 3bets in these spots: in fact if you know your opponents are aware of the tendencies of the population, each of the spots mentioned can be a great opportunity to go wild with light 3bets, especially in the late stages. Some gangsters from Sweden and Brazil are masters of these exploitative moves 🙂

However you don’t risk too much by assuming that your average lowstakes opponents will not think on this level, so if they do 3bet in any of the spots mentioned, they usually will have an extremely strong range and you have to be ready to herofold (unless you are deep enough to go for the implied odds).

As these are the spots where it’s far from trivial how to design your ranges, timing tells can be crucial: it’s very unlikely that your opponent can snap3bet light in any of the situations mentioned.

Let me share a few hands where I strongly advise exploitative folds:

Hand no.1.: late stage, supersoft field, some icm. Our Villain has 3% total 3bet (+ note the unusually big sizing) –> folding this premium hand seems trivially easy

Hand no.2.: a bit more close, but once again opponent has 3% total 3bet –> i prefer a fold (had he rejammed, i would’ve been happy to call, because in that case he can have all the pocketpairs, all the AJ, AT, KQ + some other dominated combos as well)

Hand no.3.: this is extreme/questionable, but given his 3% total 3bet, his snap timing and his strong-looking sizing i really like the fold in a weak field (especially that the cutoff was a sticky player who would frequently come along and encumber my equity realization)

Hand no.4.: Although this guy was quite agro, in this spot i expected him to be more on the value side –> in these cases your pocketpairs and suited highcards perform better by taking a flop than by rejamming pre (especially that lowstakes regs tend to autocbet in 3bet pots)

Valdemar 'Luigi' Kwaysser

13 years as professional poker player 10 years experience as poker coach. Born Hungarian, living in Valencia, Spain. 36 yo, married, happy father of two. Founder of CheckDecide

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