What is 3Betting Light

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What is 3Betting Light

3Betting light is effectively 3betting with hands that are too weak to be raising for value.  When 3betting light you are raising with sub-premium/marginal hands in the hope of taking down the pot pre-flop without getting called.  It is a type of bluff that works very well against weak/TAG players who open from late position.

Most importantly, 3betting light is only profitable from late position, i.e. LP or CO.  This gives you relative position on your opponent (which is very importance in later streets in case you get called) and it also allows you to spot good situations for stealing the blinds or exploiting weak tables where everyone has checked round to you.


Chart Showing Standard 10% 3betting range of a LAG

What Hands Should You 3Bet Light with?

3bet light hands are basically any hands that our outside your “3betting for value” range.  Traditionally, when we’re 3betting for value we are raising premium hands AJ+/JJ+ in the hope of getting called, re-raised or stacking off with our opponents pre-flop.  Because of the strength of our hand we actually want our opponents to call or re-raise us so that we can get as much money into the pot whilst we’re ahead.

When 3betting light however, you don’t want your opponents to call.  Although you can technical 3bet light with any set of hands, most people suggest only 3betting light with hands that have “outs” and will not be dominated in 3bet pot situations.  You can’t afford to 3bet light with broadway hands and rag Aces such as QJ/KJ/A9 because these will be dominated by any opponents that call you 3bet.

Instead, you should be 3betting light with suited connectors, low-mid pocket pairs and occasionally one-gap connectors (e.g. 57).  The advantages of3betting with these hands is that they will not be dominated so easily and they still have a good chance of hitting the flop and beating your opponents range.  For example, with 5s-6s we can hit any flush draws with spades on the flop, mid-pairs or we could make a straight draw.

Advantages of 3Betting Light

3Betting light allows you to play more of your starting hands and gives you great opportunities for bluffing pots.  For example, if you compare a TAG player who only 3bets 3% of his hands in the micro-stakes games, to a LAG who 3bets 10% of his hands in the mid-stakes, the LAG will clearly have more opportunities for hitting a monster on the pot or stealing the blinds pre-flop.

Secondly, even if you get called when 3betting light you are still in the perfect position to c-be the flop with a half-pot to 2/3 pot-size bet.  Your 3bet pre-flop gives your opponent the impression that you have a monster holding such as QQ or AA.  He will much very timid about calling you here and a lot of the time will be worried that you have him dominated.

If you do catch a set or hit a straight-draw on the flop, the implied odds will be massively in your favour, particular if you’re both deep stacked with over 50BBs behind you.  Your opponent would not expect you to normally be 3betting with a marginal hand like 56, so likewise he wouldn’t believe that you hit a flop like 347 hard at all.  As such, he’ll blow more money trying to bluff or re-raise you off the pot because he thinks that his over pairs are golden.

Finally, 3betting light helps to distort you image and “balance your range”.  This is extremely important as you climb the stakes because balancing your range enables you to extract maximum value from different hands.  Because of your “balanced range” in different positions, you’ll be able to extract maximum value from your monster hands whilst getting maximum fold equity from your bluffing hands.  Generally speaking, in the mid-stakes games the optimum 3betting percentage of 7%.  If you play poker at UB than you should be seeing a reasonably high 3betting rate in the mid to high stakes games since this is one of the most popular US friend poker rooms for high stakes pros.

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