Three-Handed Pot in Texas

The situation becomes fairly different if the pot is three-handed. Suppose in a three way game the player on the button raises. It would be correct if he doesn't get away with it more than 50 percent of the time but if you are in the big blind you don't have responsibility of making sure that he gets called the proper amount. The small blind should at least make his call (or re-raise).

You have to realize that the small blind should be careful that the big blind may also call. He should accordingly play his better hands. Therefore the small blind should play about half as often as his the big blind and the combined playing frequency should be only a little more than it was for the big blind when the game was heads-up. In simple words, the big blind should play about 70 percent as often as before and the little blind should play about 40 percent of the time as often as the big blind played in the last case.

Returning to Play on the Flop and Beyond

We earlier mentioned that you should call on the flop (in the situation just discussed) anytime you have sometimes reasonable and with some other hands that don't appear reasonable.
For example, you call a raise out of the blind with:

This is probably a correct call.

How often do you flop a hand that is reasonable under normal circumstances? You will flop a pair about one-third of the time a straight draw about 8 percent of the time, and you should have two over cards about of 10 percent of the time. That takes us to 50 percent of the time which is not enough against a very aggressive player who is automatically going to try to steal. Our suggestion is to pretend that the top card isn't there! Take it off the board or turn it into a deuce and see if you would still play. If you have the QT and the flop is

and we will change it to

If you do this you should be fairly at the correct strategy for playing against extremely aggressive players who continuously take the pot odds on a steal or a semi-steal. (You should play as you have two "over cards" and a back-door straight draw.)

Part of the reason that we have put emphasis on this idea is that the strategy of betting every single time is actually close to being the right strategy if you are up against somebody who doesn't understand what is happening to them. You should be playing against someone who you think can be trapped very easily. If you are up against players who usually play 9 or 10 handed games and don't defend properly then you should take the advantage of the concept that betting each time against a tight player is going to represent a profit.

On the other hand, you don't want to make your strategy absolutely obvious. Thus you should bet almost most of the time as opposed to every time. You should just check your terrible hands. This way your rival will less likely make out that you are stealing all the money from the pot.

One idea that is important in short-handed play (or in a ring game) when you are up against players who play very well) is to throw in a raise with a hand that looks like it is only worth a call. The reason is that players are doing more of semi-bluffing. If they are semi-bluffing, they think they will win the pot, but if they don't, they might draw out. You should prevent that strategy and you can do this by raising with hands that appear to be only calling hands.

Let's take the last example. You have QT and the flop comes

The correct play would be to call your rival's bet on the flop and then to raise him on fourth street even though your hand only appears like a "pay off" hand. If he is betting more of hands on the turn, there is a very good chance that the QT is the best hand and you need to charge him for making such a play.

Let's take same analysis. Suppose you have QT a good player bets into you on fourth street and the board shows:

Even if you think that there is about 60 percent chance he has KQ and about 40 percent chance he has JT you should still raise (or check-raise) even though he will never fold till the end as long as you act after him. You will lose this pot over 60 percent of the time but if he has KQ and you raise him, he will call and then check to you, and you will check it right behind him. Therefore you lose the same amount as when you don't raise.

If he has JT, he will most likely call and then check to you. Now you can make an extra bet unless he would have bet into you again (as a bluff).

It would be correct if you are against somebody who will bluff most of the time on the river if you only call on the turn then it doesn't do you good to raise. But if he sometimes throw away his hand, you should raise to make more money because you make two bets from him every time he misses, as against to those times when he misses and still bets on the end.

However, if there is good chance that he might have a re-raising as well as JT then here his concept should not be applied, then again it still may. Assume that there is a possibility that he has a very strong hand. If he will only re-raises you when he does have it that is fine because you fold quickly and lose nothing extra. But if he is an aggressive player and will re-raise with many hands then you should just go for a call. Against such player you save money when he has you beat and if he does have that weak hand there's a good chance he'll bet into you on the end and you'll win more money when he goes ahead and bluffs.

Hence you should always distinguish between the players who will "take it off" when they are semi-bluffing on the turn and the players who won't take it off. If they will take away, you can afford to flat call them more often. But many short-handed players fold on the river. They'll bet the flop, bet the turn, but then check it down further. And because they play this way, you won't win by just calling them on fourth street. Raising such people would be the correct strategy.

continue here:When The Blinds Are Very Loose