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How to counter frequent mini 3-bet abusers when you're OOP?

UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
I need heeeeelp playing in this situation

The obvious solution to this problem would be to leave or change seats, but let's say, for the sake of discussion that changing seats or tables is not an immediate option. Maybe there's only one table of your game, nobody's getting up, and it's full with a wait list. Or maybe it's one of the first few levels of a slow structure tournament, and your table isn't scheduled to break on day 1.

Assume this is for deep-stacked play, 150BB+

There's a decent aggressive villain with position on us who likes to mini 3-bet us with a wide range. He plays well post-flop and also understands pre-flop raising wars, but he's loose and aggressive enough that his range is a little unbalanced and more skewed towards bluffs than value.

For example, if we make it 3X, he'll make it ~7X
If we make it 4X, he'll make it ~9X

Obviously, sizing is small enough that we're not going to fold, especially since we know he has a wide range. But none of the options are particularly attractive either.

If we flat every single time, we're always OOP without the betting lead in a bloated pot, definitely a disadvantage

Our counter-move, which is the 4-bet bluff is less attractive against small 3-bets than it is against normal sized 3-bets, because we don't win as much if he folds, and there's still a decent S/P ratio left if he calls.
If we 4-bet small, he'll often call in position to make a play post-flop.
If we 4-bet large, we're risking a lot to win a little. For example, if we make it 4X and he makes it 9X, we would have to 4-bet to at least 25X for him to consider folding. And he knows how to 5-bet light if we 4-bet too frequently, so we're really risking 21BB to win 9BB.

It goes without saying that we should tighten up our opening range. But in addition to that...

Some of the counters I'm considering are:
a.) Start flatting and donking the flop with our cbet range, just as if we raised and he called (he might still be annoying if he's aggro post-flop)

b.) 4-bet with a depolarized value range and be prepared to stack off very light (meaning with hands like AQ and 99) if he 5-bets bluffs unbalanced and too frequently (rather high variance, but you should be getting it in ahead of his range more often than not)


  • Mike Posts: 371Member
    Widen your value range is by far the right play. Besides just tightening up that is. You could start ch/r his cbets but if hes a good thinking player he should be cbetting much less often than normal since hes opening so many hands pf. Just polarize your 4b range to hands you will stack off with and hands you will easily fold. Do it with some trash (very little) and be prepared to stack off with 88+/AJs.

    If you run the math behind the 4b bluff yes you have to risk 21 to win 16 (include your open and blinds) but the % of time this is going to work is going to far outweigh the times he has a hand he is going to stack off with. My guess (at work so dont have the time to run the math) is that it will be +ev to 4b your entire opening range vs this villian. Once he starts adjusting to you then get it in lighter. If you open to 4bb and he 3b to 9b and you 4b to 25bb. If he 5b to 60bb and you shove for 150bb. you are putting in 125bb to win 110bb. You only need 53% equity to make it +ev. The fold equity and the equity in the pot when called is going to be more than enough to make it +ev. Just make sure that he is widening his range and not just 3b/folding everything but his premiums.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    Funny..... I was just about to say "change tables" lol...

    So we are trapped and can't change tables. I think I take a slightly different line. If I had position on Maniac within a spot or two I might just flat with some rather strong hands .. like AK+ and then when other players start three betting him light and it comes back round to me I can 5 bet or 6 bet all in..

    Or if there are more players in between us I probably would flat with a lot of my really good cards if I think no one else will call and let him barrel off. I did this against a laggy last week. I just let him barrel all three streets and got my double...

    Now if there are players who are also calling then I would probably limp with my entire range if I am oop and call or raise depending on stacks when back to me and try again to let them barrel off when I hit..

    I will tend to try and take a less variance line than 4 bet polarized line.. but I would agree that would probably work as well. But you might get it in with 9s against AT... I just dont like flipping for that much..

  • StopHammertimeStopHammertime Posts: 81Member
    This is probably such an infrequent occurrence against a specific player that you shouldn't have to worry about being balanced on your 4-betting hands.
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