When you watch poker on television or sit down for a game, you might hear people referring to 3-bets, and wondered exactly what it was – in this article we explain.
Photo Credit: Alessandro Casagli
The concept of a 3-bet is quite simple, it’s just a third bet, in a single round of betting. As an example, a typical 3-bet scenario may be as follows.
The cards are dealt, and you are playing Texas Hold ‘Em. You receive the best-of-the-best starting hands, pocket aces:
You are first to act, sitting to the left of the big blind. The big blind was $5, and you decide to raise to $15. The next player folds, then a player, who we’ll call Steven, raises to $45. All the other players fold, and the action comes back round to you. You bet $135. Your $135 was therefore the 3-bet in this situation, and it’s often used to show real strength in a hand. If Steven was to then raise back at you, so for example by betting $270, that would be a 4-bet. If you then raised to $540, that would be a 5-bet, etc.
It’s very rare to see more than 4/5 bets in this fashion, but it does happen. Typically at this stage you get to a point where at least one party involved is all-in.
3-bets are important in any poker playing strategy, and when used at the correct times are great for bluffing down pots, and also for isolating hands when you have a very strong hand, but don’t want an opponent drawing out against you. If you’re very new to poker, why not check out our guide on how to play texas hold ‘em?