Beginner’s Poker Strategy: Three Betting

Understand how to get the most out of three-betting with this guide for beginners.

Three-betting refers to the act of making the third bet in limit hold ’em poker games. For instance, if Player A bets, Player B raises and Player C Re-Raises then Player C would have “three-bet.” It’s important to note however that if this hand featured Player A betting, Player B raising, then Players C and D called before Player E re-raised, then Player E would have three-betted. It’s important to know when and how to three-bet when playing online poker at every level of the game, but beginning players need the most instruction.

Value Three-Betting

The most typically-seen three-bet is the “value” three bet, in which the player has the best possible cards before the flop. It’s reserved for high face-value pairs like JJ, QQ, KK and AA and is a great way to get more money in the pot. It’s basically your statement that at that time, you know you have the best hand. It’s something that should be used with some discretion as you want to maximize the pot whenever you get a chance, which leads to the next three-betting technique.

Light Three-Betting

If you are a typically tight player and known for being thrifty with the chips, you’re going to have a hard time getting money on big hands. That’s when “light” three-betting comes in handy, particularly at tables where you’re just establishing yourself. Let’s say you three-bet with something like 8c9c and you end up showing down on two pairs. You’ll earn a reputation as a player who’s willing to play a bit loose.

Light three-betting is especially handy in sit and go poker tournaments and single-table tournaments where you’re likely to be able to make a strong table image right off the bat.

Three Betting To Balance Your Range

Light three-betting is essential in making sure that when you re-raise, you throw the other players for a loop. For instance if you three-bet while holding 4s6s early in a game, the same act later in the same game can leave players wondering about what you might actually have. Are you chasing something wild or are you holding pocket rockets? If you can keep the opposition guessing, they’ll end up calling you when you have the best hand and folding when you’re holding garbage.


Remember that most of the value players get from light three-betting is the fact that it amounts to a semi-bluff and that you’re relying on your opponent to fold. You want to make sure that you don’t three-bet too often and that you can keep your fold equity where you want it.