How to Defend Against 3-Bets in Texas Holdem Poker

Knowing how to respond well to a 3-bet in your Texas Holdem game will be a huge factor in your success. 3-bets occur when you raise pre-flop and then your opponent re-raises you back.

It is crucial to find the perfect balance between when to call, fold, and act even more forcefully by raising them again immediately.

You don’t want to be one of those players who frequently fold to 3-bets and are thus readily exploited. Yet, you also don’t want to call 3-bets carelessly without considering how to take the pot. Doing this will cause you to lose more money. So, here are some ways you can defend your hands when facing a 3-bettor.

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Consider Your Position

When defending against 3-bettors, you must consider your position before committing to a strategy.

You want to fold a lot when you’re out of position. In poker, having access to more information is valuable, and a position provides you with that. Without it, you’ll find it more difficult to maneuver the flop and more likely to find yourself in difficult situations. Therefore, hands like KQo, AJo, and 98s should be folded out.

With strong implied odds, hands like AQs, AJs, KQs, and TT, can still allow you to make a call. You want to hold onto these hands because they have a higher chance of flopping the nuts. Also, it’s a good idea to have a well-polarized 4-bet bluffing range that includes both powerful hands like AA and AKs and bluffs at the bottom of your range like AQo, which you can simply fold to a shove.

You have more ability to call down more hands when being in position. You will already have greater equity by witnessing the flop, observing your opponent’s actions, and responding appropriately.

You can 4-bet more frequently if you’re in position, especially if you have a large stack because you can stay around longer. You have much more fold equity than when you’re out of position.

Fold 50 to 60% Of The Time

When up against a 3-bet, fold between 50 and 60 percent of the time. This may not always be the case, but the size of the 3-bet does affect the decision. In some cases, you ought to be folding less than 50%. In others, you ought to fold more frequently than 60%.

The main lesson from this is that when faced with a 3-bet, you should typically fold most of the time. This tactic significantly lessens the pressure. Don’t believe that when you fold 50% of the time, you are providing your opponent an edge. This situation is unreal.

Most of the time, especially when facing significant 3-bets, you should fold.

Choose Better Tables

This might seem like a lame excuse, but it’s not. To play winning Texas Holdem games, you must choose the right table. You may be familiar with the proverb, “It doesn’t matter if you are seated among the top 5 if you are the 6th best player in the world.” From a theoretical point of view, these 3-bettors may not necessarily be better players than you, but facing aggressiveness out of position will always be tough, whoever you are against. Change tables if you believe another table would have a better Expected Value (EV) and some players abuse their positions.

Play Tight in the Face of Aggression

The greatest challenge to many players is dealing with overly aggressive 3-bettors.

If there are aggressive 3-bettors behind you, the first modification is to open relatively tight ranges. This play will keep you from folding too often against 3-bets.

You can improve your technique by checking if opponents often fold to 4-bets. If they do, begin a 4-bet semi-bluff aggressively.

However, take note that some aggressive players will continue playing. When this happens, players have an excessively wide range when they hit the flop. You may abuse a player with an excessively broad range depending on their playing style.

For example, if your opponents keep playing a wide range of poker hands on post-flop by bluffing or overcalling, you can call down wider or value bet a little.

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Open Raise Smaller

You should probably stay away from 3-bet/4-bet pots with high variance. This straightforward tip is frequently among the greatest. Instead, open-raise smaller as it accomplishes two goals. One, you risk less money to take the blinds. Two, since there is less money in the pot for your opponent to steal, you reduce the incentive for them to 3-bet.

Flat-Call or 4-Bet

Generally, you should lean more toward 4-betting than flatting when out-of-position. Flatting 3-bets is normally not a successful approach without a strong hand when you play Texas Holdem online. There may be circumstances where you can turn it into a profitable move, but avoid doing it when out of position.

You can offset your opponent’s post-flop positional advantage by 4-betting rather than flatting. Either the hand will conclude pre-flop when your opponent folds or 5-bet shoves, or the post-flop stack-to-pot ratio is considerably smaller, and position will not matter as much.

Flatting 3-bets in position is a better move, as this will allow you to use positional advantage post-flop. Your goal should be to float a good amount of flops and steal on the turn if you have a pre-flop float type hand rather than a value hand. Nonetheless, these cards will typically be ordinary folds in response to a pre-flop 3-bet.

This does not imply that you should constantly 4-bet when out of position and flat when in position. The range your opponent is 3-betting is much more crucial in guiding your strategy.


Defending against 3-bets in Texas Holdem poker can be tricky to master. However, with the right knowledge and strategy and considering your position, you should have no trouble recognizing when someone is making a 3-bet and responding appropriately. By understanding why someone would make such an aggressive move and what your options are for countering it, you’ll gain more control over the table.