The poker 4bet for value is an extremely important skill of the modern poker player. Unfortunately, the 4bet is also one of the most misunderstood plays and frequently executed inappropriately in terms of the timing and the sizing of the 4bet. For those of you who don’t know what a 4bet in poker means, it is simply the reraise of a preflop 3bet (which is the reraise of a pre flop raise). Today, we are going to focus on the value 4bet. If you are interested in reading about 4betting light please read this previous article.
The first thing you need to be confident about when 4betting for value is that you have the best hand. The types of hands that you should be 4betting for value will vary based on two important factors – the player and your position at the table. In later position you can 4bet for value with lighter hands, and of course you can 4bet for value quite wide versus weak players.
4betting For Value At 6max:
In my experience if you are not in the blinds or late position it will be difficult to 4bet for value anything lighter than JJ. Why? Because, most players at 6max do not get hands like 1010, 99, and 88 all-in preflop for 100BB. Without those hands to counteract the AA, KK, and QQ it is difficult to justify 4betting for value with JJ. Having said that, JJ still has good equity against a powerful range (that includes all AK’s) – so, when faced with an aggressive 3bettor and poor position, the combination of fold equity with all-in equity can be superior to playing oop with JJ. Players with 3bet percentages over 10% will be forced to fold a significant amount of the time when you 4bet with JJ. This fold equity created will help to counteract the times that you are dominated. Note: with a positional advantage I prefer to call with my JJ.
4betting For Value At Full Ring:
One of the big differences that I have noticed with full ring poker games is that QQ is often a huge trouble hand. This is much less the case at 6-max both because of players willingness to get it in with AKo and because JJ is often in all-in ranges. Given this difference, I have found it prudent to play cautiously with QQ against tighter players. This is particularly the case if we are an early position raiser and any opponent who is 3betting us would generally perceive us to be raising only a premium range. I have played in many live poker games where putting the chips all-in preflop with QQ would have been a significant mistake because of the tightness of certain players/games.
How does play in the blinds differ? This is where play opens up considerably online (Note: at low-mid stakes live it doesn’t open up). Once play folds around to the button and nobody has opened play should not be significantly different than it would be at a 6max game that folded to the button. In fact, it shouldn’t really be any different at all. I have noticed that players tend to simply be nittier at full ring (perhaps because the frequency of blinds makes players feel less desperate to win pots). So, in the blinds it is certainly reasonable to be 4betting for value with 1010+ and AK. I generally prefer to take a flop with Aq and Aqs.
4betting For Value Versus Fish:
This is really an art onto itself. There is very little concrete information that I can give to you on this topic. Obviously, our value range is going to be extremely wide versus an aggro fish, but much less so versus a passive fish. This is an important division to be made when considering 4betting for value against a weak player. Certain maniac players will allow us to 4bet extremely wide for value. A9+ and 66+ may be appropriate depending on the player. Generally, I would be looking at something more like 99+ and AQ+, but it varies wildly. Bottom line here is you need to think exploitively. If your hand is likely to have a significant pre-flop equity edge over your opponents range, and you think they will call your 4bet that is generally a hand you should be 4betting. Stay open minded and think creatively.
Poker 4bet Sizing Versus Weak Players:
Here again there is going to be a tremendous amount of variability. Any time you are dealing with weak players it is extremely important to maximize your edge. Fundamentally, that is why I think playing exploitively is the right way to play poker, and it is why I wrote the book exploitive no limit holdem. Players who focus on other styles of play often fail to take advantage of tremendous edges that may be available to them. I like to monitor a Villain’s fold to 4bet % stat and vary my 4bet sizing based on that. For example, versus players who have an incredibly low fold to 4bet stat I will make my value sizing significantly larger than normal. A standard 4bet is generally a bit less than 2x the pot, but I would be happy to 3x, 4x, 5x or even 10x the pot versus a super weak player if the situation called for it. Adaptability is the key. Keep in mind that your stack size will also have an effect on the appropriate size of your 4bet. As a general guideline, I would scale the 4bet along with your stack size. So, if you are playing 200BB deep you can 4bet twice the size as you would if you were playing with only 100 BB.
The most frequent critical mistake I see amateur poker players make with 4betting for value versus weak players is they don’t 4bet large enough. Why? Fear that their opponent will fold. Don’t be afraid a weak player will fold, they almost always lean toward calling and big pots are like a siren song for the weak player. Be aggressive pushing the envelope with your value bet sizing and you will find success.
Poker 4bet Sizing Versus Strong Players:
Often versus strong players you can make your 4bet sizing small < 2x pot. Why? This is extremely important because it disguises the strength of your hand. If you always 4bet your entire stack in with your value hands your opponent would know exactly how to play. However, if you 4bet small with monster and with some bluffs the Villain will be tempted to shove back hands you dominate. This an occasional bluff in your 4bet range can really help to get you paid off with your monsters. With today’s HUD’s many players will be able to see your overall 4bet number. By having a high 4bet number you will see many lighter shoves versus your monsters. Bottom Line: 4bet a bit less than 2x the pot and you can’t go too wrong.
Hope you enjoyed the post! Hit me up with any questions or comments.
-ThePokerCapitailst (No nonsense, no ads, straight talk on poker)