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Playing the Percentages

Folding Thresholds in 3-bet Pots: A Closer Look at your Opponents’ Strategy

“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Our primary considerations when choosing a line of play in a poker hand are the particular exploitable tendencies of a given opponent. Both ‘math’ and ‘feel’ players alike will agree that if a player folds ‘too much’ on a given street we can bluff him more often. But exactly how much folding is too much?

Away from the table we can do some valuable analytical work to calculate folding thresholds beyond which a player is vulnerable to exploitative bluffing. In so doing we also discover how our own exploitative lines expose us to being exploited ourselves. Thus the calculation of folding thresholds helps us both to more accurately target imbalances in our opponent’s strategy and to recognize when they are adjusting correctly to our strategy.

3bet pots provide a veritable haven of diverse exploitative lines for the observant player. Given their bloated size relative to single-raised or limped pots they also account for a disproportionate amount of the money per hand which you win/lose at PLO. In this article, we consider the mathematics behind bet/calling, bet/folding and other decisions post-flop in 3-bet pots.

My writing in this post is not meant to be an exhaustive examination of 3bet pots so we shall not go into much detail regarding our opponents’ ranges. The purpose of this analysis is to discover the threshold frequencies at which bet/folding the flop leaves a player open to being exploited. A knowledge of these fundamental frequencies will improve our awareness in 3bet situations at the table.

By | 2017-04-10T13:22:52+00:00 June 4th, 2015|

Omaha Money Traps: The rundown on overcalling a 3-bet

“Those skilled at making the enemy move do so by creating a situation to which he must conform; they entice him with something he is certain to take, and with lures of ostensible profit they await him in strength.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

This article discusses a common spot in which there is no clear consensus on the correct course of action. I have regulars in my database overcalling a 3-bet with as tight a range as 2% and as wide as 10% of their starting hands. For the purpose of this article we are going to focus on the situation where a player opens from UTG/MP with a tight range, faces a 3-bet from an aggressive BT and we are contemplating a cold-flat in the blinds

1. The reason this situation is particularly interesting is because both of our opponent’s ranges are quite well-defined, which makes for some interesting behavior in the relative strength of our pre-flop hands.

A concept that seems to elude many players is that hand strength is fluid pre-flop in PLO.


Show 1 footnote

  1. We neglect the cold-flat OTB situation because it occurs less frequently. The most common spot, where the BT steals, SB 3-bets wide and BB is contemplating a call is also worthy of investigation.
By | 2017-04-10T13:22:54+00:00 February 24th, 2015|

Guilty Pleasures: Set-mining in 3bet pots

In the world of poker, three is most certainly not a crowd. Sets are a reinforcing factor in our love of things that come in threes. We never just want a sequel, we want a trilogy; the Romans understood this in their mythology, why would anyone fear a two-headed Cerberus? Not to be outdone the Christians upgraded Judaism by taking the one true God, and making him into Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Even God himself is in on the act, putting 3 quarks in every baryon just for his chosen mammals to find when they smashed tiny things up! With all the revelations in cycling is it any wonder that the planet’s chief alpha male, Vladimir Putin, prefers a tricycle over the poor cousin that is the skinny dope-fiend’s transport of choice?


Vladimir Putin being awesome on a tricycle.

With the human mind configured to find triplets so alluring, I understand those readers who click call every time they have a pair when I three-bet them… sets are just so damn pretty. So if you play poker for its aesthetic appeal, more power to you. If you want to make some money, you’re going to have to start folding some of those pairs, so read on.



By | 2017-04-10T13:23:15+00:00 October 16th, 2012|