Three Bet

word type: poker slang

  1. A re-raise in a game of poker, whether limit or big bet poker.

Why We Say 'Three-Bet'

A three-bet is simply a re-raise (although an initial raise is never referred to as a "two-bet"). Why do poker players use this terminology?

a) It helps when describing hand dynamics more accurately, in an instance where you might be discussing, say, "four-betting dynamics."

b) It sounds cooler.


Generally, there are two reasons for a three-bet, to extract value or to resteal and make your opponent fold. In either case, the most important factor in determining when and how to execute a three-bet is stack size. If you have 25 BBs or less, any three-bet should be all-in. If your stack is bigger than 25 BBs, you have a variety of options to consider when three-betting.

In addition to stack size, remaining consistent with your bet sizes is another key component of effective three-betting. For example, three-betting small when you're looking for value and big when you're hoping for a fold is a common and leaky tendency that you want to avoid.

Example - Three-Betting for Value (The Go-and-Go)

Let's say you're 33 big blinds deep and get AdQd in the BB. It's folded around to the button who makes a standard 3x raise, and you decide to three-bet. But how much? Once you three-bet in this spot, you are essentially pot-committed and should never check-fold on the flop. You want to bloat the pot in this spot, so you make it 10 big blinds to go. This way, if your opponent elects to call, there will be roughly 23 BBs both in the pot and in your stack, and unless you absolutely hammer the board (Ah-8d-5d for example), you should be moving in on the most flops.

Example - Resteal Three-Betting

Restealing All-in: Typically, you should be making all-in resteals with 12-24 BBs. Any less than 12 BBs and you likely don't have much fold-equity and any more than 24 BBs and you risk being called a spewtard. Good hands to resteal all-in with include suited connectors and low paint cards. For example, let's say you're in the big-blind with 18 BBs and get dealt Jh-Th. It's folded around to the button who opens for 2.5x. This is a perfect spot to resteal three-bet all-in.

Restealing with Chips Behind: In most cases, you want to have over 35-40 BBs before attempting a three-bet in which you intend to fold to four-bet. For example, let's say you're on the button with 40 BBs and get dealt Th-9h. It folds to the cut-off who opens to 3x the big-blind. Obviously, you hope to take the pot down preflop, but you are clearly folding to a shove and/or playing accordingly based on your opponents action.