One of the most common poker phrases you will hear is that aggression is key to becoming a winning poker player. After all, you cannot win a pot by checking or folding can you? One area that you can start to ramp up the aggression is preflop and doing so should see your profits being to creep upwards too.
If you are new to three-betting then ease yourself into this world of extra cash by three-betting your more premium holdings – something you should be doing anyway – and then start to widen your range of hands gradually and in accordance to how each of your opponents plays.
The easiest way to increase your preflop aggression is to never open-limp. This article is not going to go into why it is horrible to open-limp so I will just say to you now in big, bold letters "DO NOT DO IT!" Are we clear? Good.
The next way to start making a nuisance of yourself at the table and increase your aggression and therefore profits is to three-bet lighter. A three-bet, for those of you who are not aware of what one is, is sometimes called a re-raise. Player A opens with a raise and when the action folds to Player B they put in a raise of their own. Player B's raise is a three-bet. Still with me? Good.
One of the reasons a three-bet is such a powerful tool is the fact it is meant to show strength. By raising a player's raise you are telling your opponents that not only do you have a hand that is strong enough to play against an opponent's raise, but you have a hand that is strong enough to raise the action up even higher. This statement rings out loudly to those players who are yet to act - and even the original raiser - and you will often find yourself winning the pot preflop and uncontested.
The beauty of three-betting lighter, and therefore more often, is that players will start to be tempted to play back at you with an increased frequency. Most players, particularly those at the lower stakes, think that by calling your three-bet (mostly out of position) is a good defence but they couldn't be more wrong. Weak players will start to open raise then call your three-bet and then check-fold most flops when you continue to represent strength with a continuation bet. It does not take a genius to see why this is a great situation for you to be in!
Some players will start to actually play back at you and begin four-betting you, but as a general rule there are not many players (again at the lower stakes) who will be four-betting you as a bluff so you can safely assume when you are four-bet by someone you would regard as being a fish that they have a legitimate hand and it makes your decision making all that much easier and straight forward due to your opponent holding such a narrow range of hands.
If you are new to three-betting then ease yourself into this world of extra cash by three-betting your more premium holdings - something you should be doing anyway - and then start to widen your range of hands gradually and in accordance to how each of your opponents plays. Eventually you will automatically see spots that are perfect for sticking in a three-bet and from there so many possibilities will open up to you, opportunities to win more pots and more money. At the end of the day, that is what poker is all about.
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