4betting light – be fearless

4betting light is almost the new 3betting light… everyone it seems is doing it. That doesn’t mean you should treat everyone the same however. If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know I advocate tailoring all your bets specifically vs each opponent. Your 4bet hand selection, 4bet sizing, 4bet frequency, Cold 4 bets and game dynamics, are all things to consider.

Let’s address those individually (though they often tie into each other).

Hand Selection: By using ‘blockers’ like Qx, Kx and Ax we heavily reduce the hands that are available in the deck for our opponent to 5bet shove over our 4bet for value. When we have A♦2♦ instead of T♠9♠ the chances of them having a big hand are reduced by 20-25% therefore making a 4bet bluff even more enticing.

Combos of big hands possible with No blocker: AA, KK, QQ, AK = 34 combos

Combos of big hands remaining with an Ace Blocker: AA, KK, QQ, AK = 27 combos

So we can see here, when our opponents 3bets us when we have a blocker, it’s much less likely for them to be doing it for value.

4bet Sizing: You never want to oversize your 4bets when 4betting light. The simple reason is you end up committing yourself to calling off vs a 5 bet shove.

E.g. you 4bet A♦2♦ to 40bb vs an aggressive 3bettor made a large 12x 3b. The situation was great; you have targeted an aggressive 3bettor and you have a hand with a blocker, but you’ve gone and oversized your 4bet committing yourself to the hand in the process should they 5bet shove.

You’d have to call off your remaining 60bb to win 140bb in the pot. (x/x+y) 60/200 = .30 or 30% equity to call.

A♦2♦ vs AA, KK, QQ, AK has close to 30% equity (28.93%). This is not what you had in mind when you 4bet light! It’s even worse when your opponent has less than a 100bb stack, so be careful with that sizing. A good rule of thumb is 25bb max’ vs a 100b stack (or 25% of the effective smaller stack. i.e. 20bb vs a 80bb stack). This is big enough to give you good fold equity, but not so large you are committed to a shove.

When In Position you can make this smaller like 22bb vs someone is isn’t likely to call the 4b OOP. This is just a better risk/reward ratio for you.

25bb (our 4bet) / 36.5 (our bet + 10x 3bet + blinds) = 68% folds needed

22bb / 33.5 = 65% folds needed 

Frequency: IMO you need to be 4betting enough that your opponents know that they can’t relentlessly 3bet you and get away with it. If your open raises are constantly 3bet and you don’t 4b (worse still start to call the 3bets OOP), then you are green light to be pounded on. You’re also easy to play against, which is not what you want.

It will also help for when you finally get a big hand. Now you have a chance of being paid off with much worse. I.e. you need to stay active where possible. You can help yourself here by:

  • 4bet bluffing light vs very active 3bettors with blockers
  • 4betting In steal situations (like BTN vs blinds)
  • 4bet Vs opponents that 3bet exploitively but fold to 4bets > 68% (positional fold to 4bets preferably)
  • 4 betting more IP when you and your opponent are deep. No one wants to go broke deep and OOP. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • 4betting when you are perceived as tight. E.g. we’re UTG, we have AJ (so blockers too), and have been 3b by an aggro reg on the Button.
  • Cold 4betting (more below)

The Cold 4bet: A Cold 4bet arises when there has been a raise, a 3bet, and then a 4bet from someone not yet involved in the pot… a Cold 4bet. To successfully pull this off, you need to be up against wide ranges and 2 decent folders. Don’t expect a fish to read this as strong. If he has 7♣8♣ he doesn’t’ care what your repping and won’t be folding. The best scenario for you is when you are in the BB and the wide BTN raises and someone who is actively 3bettingin the SB try’s to resteal the pot. A cold 4bet here from the BB is delicious, and will get a ton of folds from all but the sticky none folders.

Gameflow Dynamics When 4 Betting:

No history: In that you are new to the table/site, or your opponents are. IMO it’s a good idea to let them know straight away what you’re about. You like to test guys out with 3bets, correct? Then your good opponents are likely the same. I like to 4b their first 3bet for this reason. Set them straight early on. Don’t wait until you’ve been 3bet 5 times in a row. As you may have guessed, we like to use blockers generally, but this is more of a situational move and you need to let your opponents know your intentions from the off.

History: The old, ‘he knows I know he knows’. These spots are often high variance 3bet, 4bet, and 5bet spots and are unique to the individual. Notes are crucial here, both for what you’ve seen him do vs you, but what he has seen you do also. Don’t be surprised when repeatedly jams over your 4bets when he’s caught you doing it with A5o. Be vigilant and take notes. You can now tailor those 4bets to call off when he jams 5bet jams 44 and you have TT…

So remember, stay active early on and be fearless with those 4bets. You still may not make money as such with 4 bet bluffs (guys on average just don’t fold enough in my experience), but it should be enough to overcome the cost of repeatedly folding to 3bets (around -300bb/100). If you can beat that number with 4bet bluffs you’re doing fine even if it’s a loss. This should help your big hands get paid more than they possibly are and those pesky 3bettors may just lay off a little with their 3bets knowing they are facing a fearless 4bettor.

Don’t forget to check out the newly released Exploitive No Limit Holdem 20% off exclusively at ThePokerCapitalist!

Cinch

Up next… 5 bet Finishers

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3 Comments

  1. BlackRain79 says:

    Really enjoying your blog. This is another great article!

    Nathan

  2. Willian says:

    Good article. About the idea of 4b light the very first time a villain 3b you, I kind of like it! In my experience at least at the low stakes games if you play very agressivelly right in the beginning doesnt matter how much of a nit you turn in later on, most opponents still will see you as very agressive and with super wide ranges.
    Thanks for the article.

  3. Thanks BlackRain79

    Willian,

    I have found that generally holds for higher games as well.

    -ThePokercapitalist

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