3bet Continuance Ranges | ‘The Hand Reading Lab’ Part 6 | Podcast #77

I show you how to figure out your opponent’s 3bet continuance ranges; the hands they call your 3bets with and what they 4bet with.  We’ll cover the HUD stats most useful for this, as well as 3 questions to answer as you use Flopzilla for the heavy lifting.

The Hand Reading Lab

In case you missed it, in episode 74 I discussed having a growth mindset within poker and when practicing hand reading.

3bet Continuance Ranges

Podcast Mission (3:40)

My mission for today is to teach you how to logically create your opponent’s 3bet calling and 4betting ranges.

Take the time right now to answer these questions for yourself before we get to the meat of today’s podcast

  1. Why should I consider what my opponent continues with vs my 3bet?
  2. What HUD statistics should help me determine his continuance ranges?
  3. How do I determine what my opponent’s continue with?

Why should I consider what my opponent continues with vs my 3bet? (4:35)

The steps to H.A.N.D. reading is History, Assign, Narrow, Destroy or Ditch.  So you start with what you know about your opponent, your history with them.   But, hand reading really begins with assigning a pre-flop range, and pre-flop ranges consist of more than just what they open raise with.  Players have a wide range when opening a pot, but their 3bet calling range is smaller, and their 4betting range is smaller still.  If we have a good idea of all three of these ranges, then we’re better prepared to hand read through the streets and to make exploitative plays based on our reads.

Another reason for considering what your opp’s continue with vs your 3bet is that it makes you more comfortable playing in 3bet pots.  This is still an issue for me as I’m sure it is for many of you.  But I’ve become much better at playing 3bet pots since I’ve put more thought into my opp’s continuance ranges.

What HUD statistics should help me determine his continuance ranges? (7:05)

PFR (pre-flop raise)

  • Especially helpful by position
  • It tells you how often they make the first raise pre-flop, which lets you know the likely range they start with
  • There’s a big difference between pfr = 10% (135 combos) and pfr = 30% (400 combos)

Fold to 3bet

  • Tells you how often they fold to a 3bet
  • Key point: This is a % of their opening range that they give up with.  An 80% fold to 3bet means they continue 20% of the time.
    • For a 10% (130 combos) range, this means they fold 104 hands and continue with 26 hands
    • For a 30% (400 combos) range, this means they fold 320 hands and continue with 80 hands
  • Huge difference between continuing with 26 hands and 80 hands.
  • Continuing is both calling and 4betting.

4bet

  • Tells you how often they come over the top of your 3bet
  • Could be influenced by their cards, their read on you, their mindset at the time, their need to double-up in the tourney as a short stack, etc
  • Takes many hands to get a good read, but generally, the more agro they are the wider this range, and the tighter they are the more narrow the range.
    • A 4bet of 5% for the 10% (130 combos range) means they 4bet only 7 hands, or basically AA and KK
    • A 4bet of 5% for the 30% (400 combos range) means they 4bet 20 hands, or maybe something like QQ+ and AKs or JJ+

Combining Fold to 3bet and 4bet

  • 10% (130 combos player), he opens 130 hands, folds 104 to a 3bet, 4bets 7 hands and calls 20
  • 30% (400 combos player), he opens 400 hands, folds 320 to a 3bet, 4bets 20 hands and calls 60

There’s a huge difference between these two player’s 3bet continuance ranges, and that’s how these stats can help you determine their calling and 4betting ranges.

How do I determine what my opponent’s continue with vs my 3bet? (12:05)

The first thing you want to do is open Flopzilla to do all of the heavy lifting for us.  I’ve developed a 3-question process (below) to help us with this.  Let’s go through these 3 questions with a specific scenario in mind:

  • Action is folded to a TAG opener in the CO. We’ve never seen him open trash like J5o or Q3s from the CO.  His PFR from the CO is 22% of hands (300 combos).  He has a fold to 3bet of 78% and a 4bet of 7% over 3,000 hands.  So this means he calls the difference of 15% of hands (100% – 78% folding and 7% 3betting).

Q1: What’s his opening range?

  • At 22% over a big sample, we’re can put his opening range as all pp, A2s+, K7s+, Q9s, 53s+, 43s+, ATo+ and KJo+. 22% CO open range
  • This is 294 total hands (300 to simplify things).
  • He folds to 3bets 78% of the time, or 235 hands
  • He 4bets 7% of the time, or 21 hands
  • This leaves 15% of the time he’s calling, or a total of 44 hands to make up the full 300 hands he’s starting with.
  • IMPORTANT: It’s integral to start this process with his opening range.  He’s calling 15% of his opening range, so that’s 15% of 300 hands or about 45 hands.  Logically, it’s best to start with his entire range and remove hands from it that he’d fold or 4bet.  If you just open Flopzilla and pick hands until you get to 44 combos, there really isn’t much logic going into this.  Plus, starting with his opening range eliminates accidentally including hands that he wouldn’t even open in the first place.

Q2: What are the hands that he 4bets with?

  • As calculated above he 4bets 7% of the time or 21 hands.
  • We know he’s a standard TAG player, so most of the time he’s 4betting only for value, so 21 hands would be QQ+ and AKs (which is 22 hands total, close enough).4bet 22 hands
  • Now that we know what he 4bets with, we can remove these hands from his opening range leaving him with 272 hands. But this doesn’t tell us what he calls your 3bet with.

Q3: What hands does he fold to the 3bet?

  • There are lots of reasons he’ll fold to your 3bet:
    • Maybe you’re a tight 3bettor so he puts you on AA and KK
    • Maybe he’s at the bottom of his range
    • Suppose he doesn’t want to play OOP vs you because you’re too damn good
    • Maybe he opened with a strongish hand like KQo, but figures you have him beat so he won’t contest you this time
  • So, from earlier we figured he’s calling only 15% of what he opens with, or about 44 hands.
  • Now that we have his remaining 272 hands in Flopzilla, we want to start removing the weakest ones until we’re left with the 44 hands he’d likely call with.
    • Start with the pp’s; for this let’s assume he’s calling 88-JJ, so we’ll remove 22-77
    • Next the off-suit hands; he’ll call with AKo and AQo, so we remove ATo, AJo, KJo and KQo
    • Next the suited Aces; we’ll remove all but the AQs, so remove the A2s-AJs
    • Now the suited Kings; we’ll remove all but the KQs, so remove the K7s-KJs
    • Next the suited gappers; we’ll remove all from the 53s-QTs
    • Lastly the suited connectors; let’s remove the 43s-T9s
  • After removing all of these hands we’re looking at 64 hands he’s calling with.  calling 64 handsBut, we said he’s only calling 44 hands, so we’ve left too many in his range.  These 64 hands is comprised of 88-JJ, AQs, AQo+ and JTs+.  We need to remove a few more, so we’ll ditch the AQo, JTs and QJs.  This leaves us with exactly 44 hands that he’s calling our 3bet with; 88-JJ, AQs, AKo and KQs.3bet calling 44 combos

Conclusion

  • TAG opener in the CO. He opens 22% or 300 combos.
  • He folds to 3bets 78% and 4bets 7%, leaving us with a calling range of 15% of his opening range.
  • So, he continues in the hand 22% of the time, which is comprised of 4betting 22 hands and calling 44 hands.
  • He 4bets QQ+ and AKs, and calls 3bets with 88-JJ, AQs, AKo and KQs.

This practice that we just did dealt with one player type opening from one position and us 3betting from the BTN.  There are so many ways we can change just these three variables to give us lots more awesome practice.  It might seem daunting, but the sooner you get started with this type of exercise, the more comfortable you’ll become and the sooner you’ll be a better 3bet pot player.

Podcast Challenge (21:30)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode: Run through this exact same process again, but this time we’ll make it a simpler scenario. You’re up against a TAG player who opens 14% from UTG. You 3bet from the BTN. His stats say he folds to 3bets 85% of the time, and 4bets 4% of the time. What does he continue with? Send me your answer via email and I’ll reply with my own assessment of his 3bet calling and 4betting ranges. Let’s learn together, you and me, taking our 3betting games to a new level!

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Up Next…

In podcast #78, I’ll give you a bonus episode where I’ll read a great article from Nathan “BlackRain79” on how to tilt your weak micro stakes opponents for maximum profit, and give additional insights into exploiting the weak.

Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.

Sky Matsuhashi