3 Micro Stakes Players Pick Up Premium Hands in 3-Bet Pots (Analysis)

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In this article, I am going to review 3 hand histories — all 3-bet pots in which the Hero has Aces or Ace-King — that were posted by Upswing Lab members. I will also be using the help of a solver to dive deeper into each hand and exemplify how a professional poker player approaches studying hands.

Let’s begin!

This article is marked as intermediate/advanced. If you’d prefer some easier reading, check out our introductory articles here.

Hand 1 – Triple Broadway Madness

(If you’re an Upswing Lab member, you can find this hand post and discussion here.)

The hand:

word image 1

Preflop Analysis

3-betting is by far the best option. We have a strong hand that wants to get value.

Flop Analysis

The board: A K♠ Q♣
Hero’s hand: A♠ K

These triple broadway boards are excellent for the 3-bettor. Even the weakest hand in his range has around 50% equity against the out of position player’s range.

When this is the case, the best way to approach the spot is to bet a very small size with his whole range. A small size forces the opponent to either over-fold or continue with many hands that are difficult to play.

Check out how the solver would approach the spot, to get a visual representation of the strategy I advised:

AKQ Solution

The bright orange-pink color represents a bet of roughly 20% of the pot. The solver chooses that size over any of the other bet sizes I offered (25%-33%-50%-75%), and it does so with every hand in the range at a nearly 100% frequency.

This was the pivotal moment of the hand. The rest of the streets are well played with the hand he had.

Results

The opponent called the river shove with AQ (inferior two pair) and Hero dragged a nice 270bb pot.

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Hand 2 – Deep Trouble with Aces

(If you’re an Upswing Lab member, you can find this hand post and discussion here.)

eddie post

Preflop Analysis

Like the previous hand, this is a mandatory 3-bet to increase the size of the pot.

Flop

The board: K♠ 7 3
Hero’s hand: A♠ A

Here we have another scenario in which the flop is massively advantageous for the 3-bettor — he has around 65% equity in the pot. Similar to the previous example, but not to the same extent, a very small bet (25-30% pot) with his whole range is the preferred strategy, even with deep 200bb stacks.

A larger bet simply allows the villain to fold a ton of his range without any repercussions, while also forcing the in-position player to check a decent amount of his range back (which allows the villain to realize more equity). Thus, betting big allows his opponent to realize equity with his whole range.

Take a look at how the solver approaches the flop strategy:

K73 Solution

After getting raised, Eddy should definitely call and see the turn. His hand is way too strong to consider folding to a check-raise, especially given that he may even dominate some of his opponent’s value range (such as AK).

Turn

The board: K♠ 7 3 4
Hero’s hand: A♠ A

As played, the turn is also a mandatory call (pending a crazy-reliable read that the opponent is very tight). If Eddy didn’t have the flush draw to go with his overpair, however, it’s best to fold it right away since a lot of his opponent’s range has improved to a flush or a straight on this card.

River

The board: K♠ 7 3 42♣
Hero’s hand: A♠ A

Eddy should be relieved here when his opponent’s checks.

Betting is not advisable even though he has a lot of equity against the checking range. Put simply, he will not be called by weaker hands often enough to make this a bet for value. Plus, his opponent might still have a set or straight that was too afraid to bet itself.

Results

Eddy shoved the river and his opponent called with a set of threes.

Hand 3 – Pocket Rockets Facing the Triple Threat

(If you’re an Upswing Lab member, you can find this hand post and discussion here.)

charlie hand

Preflop

Like the last hand, Charlie has a mandatory 3-bet for value with the best hand in the No Limit Hold’em universe.

Flop

The board: 9♠ 4♣ 2♣
Hero’s hand: A A♣

These low flops have a critical distinction to high-card flops: there are a lot of two overcard-hands with equity in the caller’s range. This forces the player out of position to use a bigger bet size to force as many of those hands to fold right away.

Because of this upturn in the size of the bet, the 3-bettor is also forced to play a more polarized strategy. This is a consequence of the opponent folding more of his range, thus the 3-bettor is forced to bet with a more powerful range for value. (In other words, if they’re calling with a stronger range, you need to be betting with a stronger value range.)

Check out what the solver would choose as it’s preferred bet size:

942 Solution

The indigo color represents a 75% pot bet, and it’s the most frequently picked size by a significant margin.

As played, our member can either 3-bet or call on the flop. Both options are fine in theory.

Personally, I believe that 3-betting works best in practice because the average opponent has a very equity-driven check-raising range. We want to capitalize right away with our value hands. Calling has similar EV to 3-betting, though, so I wouldn’t consider this call by Charlie to be a mistake.

Turn

The board: 9♠ 4♣ 2♣ T♠
Hero’s hand: A A♣

The turn card is pretty interesting because it opens up a lot of backdoor draws such as KQ/KJ/QJ. There is a lot of equity to be denied now. At the same time, check-raise shoving here wouldn’t be purely a value-bet as it will not get called by more than 50% worse hands.

Another data point to take into account here is the fact that our Hero is holding the Ace of clubs. This blocks a bunch of his opponent’s semi-bluffs (A♣ 5♣, A♣ 3♣, A♣ Q♣, A♣ J♣, etc.) meaning that he gets to deny less equity, thus making raising less appealing.

I think the turn call is the right decision.

River

The board: 9♠ 4♣ 2♣ T♠ K♠
Hero’s hand: A A♣

One of the worst cards in the deck hit. A multitude of draws, such as Q♣ J♣, Q♠ J♠, 8♠ 7♠, 7♠ 6♠, 6♠ 5♠, have completed. With reverse blockers (unblocking the nut flush draws I mentioned earlier) and no value domination (since the opponent will not be shoving a hand such as KQ or KJ), our member should be just mucking his holding and feel content about it.

Wrapping Up

There is no better way to learn anything than to immerse yourself in a network of people who have the same goals as you. Our exclusive Upswing Engage group is exactly that type of network that any aspiring poker player needs.

I hope you enjoyed these breakdowns and that you improved your thought process in those scenarios! If you have any questions or feedback please let me know in the comment section down below and I’ll do my best to reply.

That’s all for now, till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

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