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12-28-2005 07:28 AM

3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
Assume you are playing heads up and in the big blind against an aggressive button (Someone who raises 80% or more) or assume you are playing 3-handed in the big blind against an aggressive button (Some who raises 40% or more) when the small blind has folded. Also, assume you have a strong hand like AJ or better, 99 or better, etc. Do you three-bet pre-flop and take the lead in the hand or wait until the flop with the intention of check-raising unless the flop is terrible. Terrible being an A-K-T flop when you hold 9-9 for example. If the flop is 9-4-2 and I have AK, I am still check-raising. If you do favor 3-betting, why? If you favor check-raising the flop, why?

Some backround on why I'm asking. I've always 3-bet pre-flop in this spot with my stronger hands and never really questioned it. I sent an email to Matt Matros a while back regarding heads up and he mentioned in it that he didn't believe in 3-betting out of the big blind in a hu match. Recently, I've noticed some of the better heads up high-limit players never 3-betting pre-flop. These players are still in the minority as most high limit hu players 3-bet about 20% of the time but it has got me thinking....

dave44 12-28-2005 09:14 PM

Re: 3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
Seems like you'd be missing out on a good amount of value with your bigger hands both preflop and on the flop by taking this strategy, although maybe that is made up for in the deception you gain on the big streets. Also, your weaker hands now have more value because your opponent must consider those strong hands as part of your calling range, but you may miss out on the value of having the initiative. Tough to tell which factors outweigh the others, but it sounds to me like this may be something that works well when your against a strong aggressive player where having the initiative preflop is not worth as much.

Victor 12-28-2005 09:43 PM

Re: 3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
im interested in this too. it seems you are missing out on too much value with your big hands. however, if you only raise your primos then your range is very readable so you need to throw in some marginal hands too. now the pot is big and you are out of position.

i guess the question is, does the immediate value of your big hands make up for building a large pot out of position more often?

12-29-2005 07:52 AM

Re: 3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
I agree completely that you need to throw in some marginal hands like 7-8s, 8-9s, etc. to keep your opponent off-balance.

I also agree that you may lose some value pre-flop when your opponent might 4-bet with a worse hand. In fact, on some sites you can 6-bet playing heads-up so against a tilting or super aggressive opponent, you really could lose out. So, I guess it's not right to never re-raise pre-flop against these types of opponents.

Against non-tilting or ultra-aggressive opponents, I'm still not sure though. I check-raise a lot of flops as it is with made hands and draws alike so it's nice to add some more deception to my flop play to really keep my opponent guessing.

12-29-2005 07:58 AM

Re: 3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
I agree that I could be missing out on value pre-flop but I'm not sure I'm missing out on the flop. My intention would be to try to make up for it on the flop and at the same time add more deception to my flop play.

I'm still really not sure which is the "better" play. As I said in my previous post though, I do think it's right to play strongly pre-flop against an ultra-aggressive player or a tilting player in an attempt to get as many bets as possible in on all the streets.

12-29-2005 08:52 AM

Re: 3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
Railbirding Dreamclown and Kidpoker (who is think is Daniel Negreanu (sp.?)) playing 500 - 1000 on pokerroom last night, I noticed that Dreamclown NEVER 3 bet his big blind, but check-raised something I would say in the region of 60 per cent of flops. Negreanu, however, 3 bet quite a lot. I only watcheed for about an hour, but it did seem that even though he was stuck quite a bit this guy Dreamclown had a small edge. Obviously there are significant other factors in play here, but one of the reasons that it appeared this way, at least for the spectator, was that it was almost impossible to put him on any sort of a hand. Negreanu, although tricky, you could at least give some sort of hand ranges too as he probably 3 bet about 20 percent, folded his worst 15 percent. His opponent, however, pretty much never folded, never 3 bet, and only really on the turn (assuming the flop went check be raise call) was it possilbe to give him any sort of hand. I don't know if this is true or not, and he may very well have ended up losing he match, but I certainly had the impression that the deception gained by this tactic outweighed the pre-flop equity sacrificed. It certainly would be very, very frustrating to play against.

12-29-2005 09:21 AM

Re: 3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
Yeah, I watched a good part of that match which is one of the reasons I brought it up. I have met DreamClown and played with him a few times in the last few months but never heads up. He and his crew have made somewhere in the vicinity of 1 million dollars playing hu online and DC is their best hold-em hu player. Negreanu was very clear in his blog that he believes never 3-betting is fundamentally wrong. I have great respect for DN's game and tend to think he's right but I'd like to hear a good explanation as to why.

DC's strategy of never 3-betting made for some very interesting post-flop play. There were a lot of levels of thinking going on and in some cases a whole lot of bets going into the pot on the flop from both sides with total air.

kiddo 12-29-2005 09:25 AM

Re: 3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
When this guy never 3bet preflop and always check flop, did other guy always bet flop after raising preflop?

12-29-2005 09:29 AM

Re: 3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
Not always, but a very high percentage of the time. If I had to guess, I'd say Negreanu bet 90+% of the time after raising pre-flop. What are you getting at?

kiddo 12-29-2005 10:29 AM

Re: 3-bet pre-flop or check-raise the flop?
If we dont autobet flop it will be harder for guy to make up for what he loses when he only calls with good hands preflop. If we autobetflop he can just move his preflopdecision to flop.

Harrington in his 2nd book says we should raise more out of position then in position preflop because we want the hand to end as soon as possible, that is, we want as much of the pot as possible to come in preflop because postflop he can use his position.

I cant see how this doesnt apply at all here.

Not only does the guy never 3betting preflop give up bets, he also checks flop every time and let guy in position decide how to play hand. So wouldnt it be good if guy in position stopped autobetting flop and checked some of the flops he hated and some he liked? If other guy then starts to autobet turn he can take it from there, and now he got 4 cards on board to use against other guy.

The alternative to not 3bet preflop cant be to 3bet every time we got a strong hand. I guess Negreanu was mixing it up, calling with some of his strong hands.

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