Understanding three-bet ranges in early levels of Texas Hold’em tournaments
By Bob Garcia
When the Texas Hold’em tournament is just getting started, ranges can be played a little differently
The first few levels of a Texas Hold’em tournament are definitive in shaping the future of the game and how things will start to pan out, which is why applying all possible techniques during these stages properly can be crucial to walk away from the table at the end of the day with big winnings. While it is true that three-betting has different uses, the main one is value with big hands. As you play in a Texas Hold’em tournament, you will see how it will create a dynamic that will make it different and unique, something that may not be common in cash games. Even so, you must keep in mind that caution such as three-betting should always be present in the early stages of tournaments as a big loss could cripple your stack.
Generally, three-bets before the flop are much better defined than after the flop. It is very usual that during this stage, you have a good amount of hands that are worth three-betting, something that during post-flop play is not so common as exponentially more complicated spots will be created. While it is true that you don’t need much analysis in most pre-flop three-betting, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious.
In Texas Hold’em, it is well known that there are some hands that you will always three-bet, such as AA, KK, and almost always, QQ. The cutoff range is formed in this area, with AK and JJ on the limit and being subject to the exact situation. Usually, players associate KK and AA with complicated moves, but it is almost always better to play them quickly, especially when playing a tournament.
Getting a call on your three-bet when you’re in position is absolutely perfect because you have complete certainty that you have the best hand in your possession, have exercised control of the pot and even have the ability to control the action after the flop. Remember that using position to your advantage is a key to success in any tournament.