Reverse Engineering Your 3-Betting Range

Today I'd like to investigate the potential to reverse engineer our 3-bet ranges. What I mean by this, is that if we know what range of hands we are happy to 3-bet and then call when our opponent jams, we should be able to work out an exact percentage of hands that we want to be 3-betting so that we have a perfect number of bluffs and value raises.

Here's the spot:

The player in the Cutoff has a 30bb stack and opens to 2bb. We are on the Button with the same stack size and we want to know what range of hands we should 3-bet.

30bb Setup in Holdem Resources Calculator

Using Holdem Resources Calculator we can set up the spot by creating an Advanced Hand and giving everyone 30bb and then focusing on the Cutoff and Button. Once the simulation has run we need to go in and edit the range of hands we want to 3-bet and then call when the Cutoff shoves.

3-bet Calling Range

Let's say that versus this opponent we want to call with 88+,ATs+,AJo+ and KQs. You'll notice that there is a padlock symbol now next to our range highlighted in grey - this shows that this range is now locked. (Make sure you select the correct part of the game tree - we're looking for the range of hands we want to call with when the Cutoff shoves.)

Now all we have to do is run the simulation again by clicking on the white triangle in the green circle at the top.

The result of this simulation shows us that we can 3-bet 12.7%:

Now the important thing to think about here is NOT to just 3-bet the range of hands that Holdem Resources Calculator suggests. Some of these hands will work better as flat calls and so we should look to work out a new range that is exactly 12.7% of all starting hands.

77 will probably work better as a flat call here so let's take that out straight away. KJo, KQo and QJo all seem to work pretty well as 3-bet bluffs though since they block a large chunk of the kind of hands the Cutoff will shove like AJ,AQ,AK,KK,QQ and JJ so let's definitely keep them in.

When you're looking for more bluffs in this situation you should always look for hands that fall just below the hands that are profitable calls or 3-bets. So if AJo makes its way into a 3-bet for value range then we could look at the possibility of 3-betting ATo as a bluff.

Here's an example of a 3-bet range that includes the ideal ratio of value to bluffs:

Better 3-Bet Range

You can see that we're still 3-betting 88+,ATs+,AJo,KQs for value and then we're 3-betting A9o-ATo,A9s,K9s,KJo+,QJo as bluffs. If we add one more suited hand like Q9s then this will push us over the 12.7% number we're looking for so in an ideal world we would have to choose just half of the combos of Q9s, so maybe just diamonds and hearts.

If you would like to learn more about using software like Holdem Resources Calculator, Equilab and PIOSolver then you can sign up for The Classroom - an ever-expanding library of training videos focused on tournament poker strategy.