Free Online Poker

Home » 3Betting Light

Poker Term : 3Betting Light

3Betting light is a term used more and more in higher stakes games.  It refers to 3betting without premium hands and works well either as a pure bluff, or to increase your equity and implied odds on the flop/future streets.  The reason 3betting light is becoming more common in low-mid stakes games is that nowadays everybody is aware of what 3betting is all about.  Online poker players are generally savvier of the “gap concept” and “polarised 3bet ranges”, which makes it increasingly more important to mix up your game by playing a looser range of hands pre-flop or bluffing more often.

3betting Light Hands

Typical 3betting light hands include:

  • The players nearest to the left of the button are called early position or EP for short.
  • The next group of players are called middle position or MP.
  • The last 3 players will be called late position or LP.
  • Suited connectors e.g. 5h-6h
  • High connectors
  • Broadway Cards (QJ/KQ)
  • Suited Aces
  • Low-Mid Pocket Pairs

All of the hands above will get some equity on the flop and give you a good chance of hitting it in one form or another.  Although broadway cards such as QJ are typically dominated by better kickers, they’re actually very profitable hands to play in heads up because of their showdown value and flop-ability.  When you get called with QJ for instance, there are tons of flops you can get a piece of including straight draws, mid-pairs or two-pairs.  They’re also solid cards to c-bet as you can always improve your hand in later streets plus you’ve got the initiative in the hand from your 3bet.  The weak opponents on a flop will be scared that you’ve got AA/KK, and against the loose opponents you’ll often be ahead anyway.

Another advantage to 3betting light against loose opponents is that when they’ve hit the flop hard they’ll rarely come over your c-bet, since they enjoy slow-playing hands.  This lets you control the size of the pot and also helps you avoid getting into difficult situations or overly committing yourself with weak holdings.

Positional Play

Because 3betting light is a bluff, it always works best in position.  Most of the hands I’ll 3bet light with will be from LP or more specifically the cut-off.  This gives you a positional advantage on the flop, turn and river and in my opinion it also gives you more options on the post-flop.  For example, against a tight opponent who checks the board, you can c-bet 2/3 pot to take it down.  And against a LAG who checks to you, you can take a free card to improve with whilst also reducing the pot size.

Unfortunately, 3betting light is too dangerous from early position – or the blinds.  You’re almost guaranteed to be forced to c-bet the flop and risk more chips when you miss, plus against LAGs you’ll be lacking crucial information at every street.  For example, if I re-raise 2h-3h 12xBBs and get called by CO, then I’m almost guaranteed to lose unless I flop a miracle like Ah-2d-4h.  I can’t really get away with cbetting A-K-8 type flops, because if I get called, I’m basically forced to check/fold the turn.