Four-Betting in PLO

Four-Betting in PLO

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

With WSOP bracelet winner John Beauprez.

As you continue to move up in stakes, you will find the majority of players have three-betting figured out a lot better, which means that, to have any chance of surviving the mid-stakes and beyond, it’s crucial to understand the correct adjustments against aggressive three-bettors. How aggressively does someone need to be three-betting us before we can start four-betting light? Which hands are the best to four-bet with in the first place? Here are some things we need to think about, so let’s jump right into it.

Category 1: Aces (AA**)

There are mainly four different categories of hands that are good candidates for four-betting. The first (and most obvious category) are aces. I want to quickly point out that, unless mentioned otherwise, this article focuses on four-betting with 100bb stacks. I’m definitely not saying that four-betting (or knowing when to four-bet) at other stack levels isn’t important. However, we will be focusing on the most common stack size for online six-max.

Regardless of whether you are IP or OOP, if someone three-bets the full pot-size when you have aces, you should always be four-betting full pot for a few different reasons. First, although it’s rare, people will sometimes fold to your four-bet. This is a fine result since equities run a lot closer together in PLO, so preventing the opponent from realising equity, and collecting some dead money in the process, is definitely a victory. Furthermore, smooth-calling the three-bet with weak aces has little benefit because they have minimal post-flop playability, particularly when OOP. Four-betting to 35bb leaves an SPR of ~1 on the flop and this gives you a chance to get the money in quickly with just one pot-sized bet.

Category 2: Kings (K-K-x-x)

The next category of ideal four-betting hands are pocket kings, especially pocket kings with an ace blocker (i.e. A-K-K-x). Pocket kings is the only non-aces hand that has an equity edge against an opponent whose three-betting range is between 8 and 12%. To be specific, A-K-K-x has a 55% to 60% equity edge against an 8% three-betting range, and more than a 60% edge against a 12% three-betting range.

Just because most K-K-x-x hands have an equity edge against this range doesn’t mean you should treat them like aces and auto four-bet them any time an aggressive player three-bets you. It’s probably better to fold weaker kings to a three-bet without an ace blocker because they have even less post-flop playability than weak aces. Also, without an ace in your hand, it’s more likely the opponent is three-betting with aces.

Moreover, besides four-betting kings with an ace blocker, you should also four-bet kings with a lot of connectedness and suitedness (ie, KdKhJdTc, KsKh8s7h). These have better four-betting potential than weaker kings because they’re much smoother, and will therefore dominate our opponents more often post-flop.

Additionally, it is important to pay attention to the opponent’s three-betting tendencies. Countless times I’ve seen students put a light four-bet on someone who’s only three-betting 4% or less. Avoid this mistake, because getting stacks in with 35% to 40% equity adds up very quickly. Go through your database and pick apart a player’s ranges if necessary. If a player is three-betting a higher frequency from the BTN when facing CO opens, then put in a light four-bet to keep him honest. On the other hand, if his three-betting range out of the blinds is tight, then you can either fold or smooth-call, depending on your hand strength.

Category 3: Strong Ace-High Hands (ie, AsKdJsTc)
The third category of ideal hands to four-bet an aggressive three-bettor with is strong ace-high hands. These hands don’t necessarily have an equity edge against the same 8% and 12% three-betting range, but they can be profitable four-bets for other reasons. First, it can force your opponent to make a mistake by folding a hand with enough equity to call (like pocket kings). Second, it will still dominate enough post-flop stack-off ranges.

Category 4: Double-Suited Connectors (ie, JdTc9d8c)

The final category of hands to four-bet light with are double-suited connectors. They’re mainly profitable four-bets for the same reasons that strong ace-high rundowns are. Again, players will fold to your four-bet some of the time, and if your opponent doesn’t have an ace, he’ll give up easily on ace-high boards.

Remember that when you four-bet, people will usually put you squarely on aces. This is why it’s good to four-bet wider against habitual three-bettors. If they’re three-betting a wider range, like 12% or more, your four-bets with double-suited broadway rundowns will dominate their four-bet calling range. In other words, we’re fine with them folding, but in many instances the four-bet has value against a wide calling range.

Lastly, four-betting light can be very deceptive. If someone observes you four-bet a non-aces hand, they’ll definitely take note of it, which means they will be more prone to stacking incorrectly in the future when you have aces.

Tags: Strategy, John Beauprez, Kasinokrime, PLO