When you are in position and there has been a raiser in six handed limit Texas holdem poker then there is a tendency to want to three bet with any playable hand from the cut-off or the button. The belief is that the so called “dead money” will make many marginal hands profitable. There is some credence to this line of thinking but care needs to be taken at all times. For instance you definitely need to assess the ranges of the opening raiser before you blindly three bet with a hand like J-10.
I know some players who blindly three bet from the cut-off with all Broadway cards irrespective of just who the original raiser was. I am sure that these players will win more pots but one of the first things that you should learn in poker is that the number of pots won doesn’t always mean that you will win more dollars. Usually in many poker games, the player who wins the most pots doesn’t always win the most money.
This certainly applies to no-limit hold’em but less so in limit. If your opponent has a very tight opening range from under the gun or the hijack seat then three betting with a marginal hand will not be profitable. You cannot guarantee that a player will not four bet you or that the so called “dead money” that you thought that you were getting will not be “dead money” at all because either the small blind or the big blind or both of them end up getting involved.
You basically need to know two very important pieces of data when you look to three bet with a marginal hand. You basically need an estimate of the openers range and the likelihood that you will get four bet or called by the button or the blinds. Of course, this means having a good idea of the ranges of several players who are involved in the hand…..the raiser and all of the players to your left.
This is something that very few loose aggressive players have even contemplated. In their minds, the three bet simply gets the pot heads up with position a very high percentage of the time. This isn’t the case as in the higher levels; the players on the button and the blinds will adjust to three bettors.
This knowledge is so common that any strong poker player will not be forced into submission with a fair hand merely because they are out of position in a three bet pot. If the original raiser opens wide and the three bettor has a wider than normal three betting range then any decent player will not fold decent hands merely because the pot has been three bet. In a similar scenario, many novices at the lower stakes game will not do so either but for entirely different reasons. Many will call double raises with hands like pocket pairs and weak aces and even smaller suited connectors.