Let us say that your opponent open raises from the cut-off with a range that you believe to be as wide as 30% and you hold Jc-Jd in the big blind……..what is the correct play here if your other two opponents both fold?
Well using PokerStove then we can see that we have around 68% equity when run in a hot and cold simulation. Ideally we want to retain our opponent’s weak hands because this is where we really profit.
Inside a 30% range are an awful lot of hands that we not only dominate but of which will c-bet against us. So our jacks can extract value from calling pre-flop rather than 3/betting.
Alternate Viable Lines
However 3/betting is a viable line for the simple reason that our hot and cold equity is so high at 68%. So which is the better play………3/betting or cold calling?
Well the answer isn’t simple when looked at in a vacuum because both have merit. If your opponent c-bets the flop with their total range and barrels a very high percentage of the time then this is an exploitable betting pattern.
If you 3/bet and your opponent will call widely then you can probably 3/bet profitably but if your opponent only calls with their top hands then you could be isolating yourself against the very hands that you do not want to play with in escalated pots.
If you 3/bet then you will be doing so to maybe 12bb and if that bet gets called then we have already built a 25bb pot with three entire betting rounds to go.
A pot sized bet and call on each betting round post flop builds a pot that is 675bb which will probably not be possible based on current stack sizes and so you are building an all-in situation. By sheer definition then if you 3/bet and get called then the chances are higher that your opponent will stack off than they would have been had you not 3/bet.
So remember that pot control starts before the flop and this usually means calling raises with hands that you may have considered 3/betting with.