A 3-bet is when an opponent raises the blind and you re-raise; the initial blind being the first bet, raise being the second and your re-raise the third. 3-betting is usually done in the blinds or in late position. The reason that most 3-bets occur in late position is because if the raise was made from the UTG player he is more likely to have a very strong hand and early position players are less likely to re-raise him, though of course it does happen from time to time. The other reason that 3-bets happen in late position or the blinds is for what is called a “re-steal”. The re-steal is the second attempt to steal the blinds. Say a raise is made from a late position player with only folds prior, this is often done to take away the blinds and win the pot right there. When a player in the small blind or big blind recognizes this they might re-steal the blinds in at attempt to not only win the blinds but also the player’s raise. Generally speaking re-steals are done after a pattern is noticed. It would not be smart to re-steal the blinds if you had no reason to believe the other player was attempting to steal them in the first place.

Re-stealing leads to the question of, “When to re-steal and when not to.” This question is extremely situation dependent. If you are in the small blind and you see a late position player raise four out of seven hands it would be a good time to try and re-steal, if it was the first time he had made a raise, however, it would be a terrible time to re-steal. It is all a matter of probability, as you have probably heard poker players say before. You look to take an edge where you have one. Now this player might have a solid hand, but his raises were made so often (four out of seven times) that it was likely that he had nothing and you would win. Even if you are right six out of ten times you will be incredibly profitable in the long run.

Besides re-stealing, there is another big reason why 3-betting is common practice. By making a 3-bet you become the aggressor in the hand, it is likeĀ  having a step lead in a sprint. The other players are apprehensive to continue on after the flop because your raise indicates strength. You can probably remember a time where someone raised you pre-flop and you played somewhat scared after the flop as a result. You want to be the person instilling the fear in your opponents. Not only does this allow you to take down pots where you don’t make a hand but it allows you to get the most value possible from your opponents when you have a good hand and your opponent comes along. The more you put in pre-flop the less you have to put in post-flop if you are in a situation where you hope to get the other player all in.