The four-bet (4bet) is the ultimate aggressive move, right before the all in. You can perform a 4bet either for value or in bluff, but you have to be very careful because when it comes to 4betting, the amount of your chips stack committed into the pot is dangerously high.
What does a 4bet is?
A 4bet is a type of raise made when a player has already executed a 3bet. Preflop the flow usually is: raise-3bet-4bet, while postflop the action goes bet-raise-3bet-4bet, adding a round. When a player moves into a 4bet, as said he’s willing to take a big stab at the hand.
Generally speaking, if you are willing to 4bet, you are holding an extra premium hand such as QQ+ or AK. This is a typical case of 4bet for value and if the player who 3betted right before you is tight-aggressive, then you can likely play a big pot starting in a good position.
On the other side of the spectrum, if the player who did 3bet is very aggressive, you might want to add at your premium range some bluffs aiming to steal the pot with no contest preflop. Let’s see two examples.
- You raise on the BTN and the super tight player on the BB does 3bet. If you are holding KK, it’s definitely a spot where execute a 4bet. His range will likely be narrow and there are good odds you both are going all in preflop. It doesn’t really matter if he holds AA or QQ, it’s just a standard spot.
- You raise on the BTN and the super aggressive player on the BB does 3bet. If you are holding KK, you might want not to 4bet in this spot and the reason is pretty clear: if you opponent has a wide range, you do not want to scare him off putting a strong re-raise in but you prefer to play a spot (with position advantage) postflop, hoping that he hits a piece of the board and takes very bad decisions in the next round of bet.
4betting in bluff
If your opponents are very aggressive and decide to often 3bet, for instance because you want to steal their blinds preflop on a regular basis, adding to your 4betting range some combos of bluff definitely worth it.
The types of hands you want to 4bet in bluff with are two:
- combos with blockers such as KQ-KJ-AQ-AJ, because if you are holding a King, a Queen or an Ace it’s less likely that your opponent really has a strong premium hand
- combos in total bluff such 76s-T8s-98s, because if it happens that your opponent does call the 4bet (ugh!), at least is clear if you hit the flop good or not (straight, flush, combo-draws etc).
Needless to say, you are not supposed to call a 4bet, specially with a regular 100bb deep stack. There are not reasons to play a big pot without a very strong hand.
Generally speaking, assuming a 3bet is sized as 9 to 11big blinds, the right amount for a 4bet is around 22 to 25 big blinds, or 2.5x the size of the 3bet.
If you bet 1.000 chips and your opponent 3bets up to 3.300 chips, you can comfortably 4bet around 7.500 chips (or 25% of your total stack).
Be careful: if your 4bet size is too big, or the remaining stacks too small, you’ll find yourself committed to the hand and it cannot happen without your full awareness of the situation. If you bet 7.500 and your opponent goes all in for 11.000, the pot odds will often force you to call, regardless the hand you are holding (do you remember the pot odds, don’t you? If not, find the article here)!
Now that you are more aware of the 4betting poker strategy go and play some big pots, making sure the odds are right and your read on opponents’ styles are correct.