PokerTracker 4

PokerTracker 4

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Analyzing 3-bet Pots, PART 2

Most of us have come to accept that three-betting is an important and integral part of any winning player’s game. In this second article in our series on using PokerTracker 4 to perform analysis of your game, our goal is to review more ways to analyse your own three-bet pots, how to interpret the results and how to improve your three-bet game to make you a better player.

Let’s start by looking for any major leaks in our general three-betting game. We can accomplish this by using the Personal Results Graph to view our overall results, then filter the results so we only view hands where we three-bet pre-flop. Our last step will be to review the results displayed by the red, blue and green graph lines. The blue line graphs money won in hands when you saw showdown, the red line graphs money won in hands when a showdown was not seen, and the green line represents your overall winnings. Mathematically, we could say that blue line + red line = green line.


To display the results graph in PokerTracker 4 select View Stats > Graphs and choose the Personal Results graph. Select Showdown/Non SD winnings to display the blue and red lines we need to complete our analysis, but first we must filter to only show three-bet pots. Click the More Filters... button, then select Actions and Opportunities > Actions and Opportunities – Preflop > Preflop Raises > Any 3Bet. Don’t forget to click Add to Filter > Save & Apply Filters to ensure that the filter is applied to the database. When you look at the graph with the filter enabled, all three lines should be positive over the course of a reasonable sample size. If your results are negative for any of these three lines, you must spend some serious time and energy improving your three-bet game, as this graph includes all hands within your three-bet range, including strong “value” hands such as A-A and K-K.

Now, let’s see our results in three-bet pots if we take out such strong hands. Once again, click on the More Filters... button and Add Filter > Hand Values > Hole Cards Range Selection > Holdem Hand Range > QQ+/AK. Click Add to Filter, but before you Save & Apply click the hand line, then 'NOT' Selected to ensure it shows every hand except QQ+/AK.

This graph might look a little different. First, the green line is probably much lower than the previous graph. Secondly, your red line and blue lines might look different as well. For instance, this is my graph when I run this filter:


Ideally your green line will be positive, which means that you were able to three-bet weaker hands profitably. I would also expect the red line to be positive, which means that you are picking up a lot of pots pre-flop when they fold to your three-bet and/or winning lots of pots post-flop by making good bluff continuation bets. In the sample graph my blue line is negative, which means that when I get to showdown I am losing on average. This should not be surprising to us, my three-bet range is weaker than normal because we filtered out the strongest hands in my total range. When my opponents respond to c-bets by not folding they will have a stronger hand than I have the majority of the time. For further review, I recommend altering the filters to only show the times when we three-bet with non-nut hands and saw showdown to help us look for any leaks.

If your red graph line is negative, there are some things you may want to consider analysing in greater detail. For instance, are you making three-bets in the right spots? If you are, consider reviewing your c-bet strategy. Perhaps you are c-betting too liberally against the wrong players. This may affect you the greatest when you are out of position. Maybe you are choosing the wrong board textures to bluff on or maybe you are c-betting as a bluff too often into fishy players who never fold. It’s also possible that you need to reconsider your double-barrel / triple-barrel game as well. If you are bluffing these spots against the wrong player types, then your red line can become negative very quickly. By the same token, if you are never double-barreling then you may be giving up good spots against players who “float” your three-bets pre-flop and c-bets on the flop too often. Also, ask yourself if you are three-betting the right players. In general, you may need to avoid three-betting really tough players or fish with weaker hands.

For further analysis, consider creating a three-bet custom report and add key stats like 3Bet Preflop Success, CBet Flop, Cbet Flop Success, Cbet Turn, and Cbet Turn Success. These stats help you see if your three-bets and continuation bets are generating a lot of folds, which of course is something you want when you’re three-betting with weaker hands. If you’re c-betting the flop rarely but have a very high Cbet Flop Success %, you may want to consider introducing more continuation bets as a buff into your strategy. Or if you notice your 3Bet Preflop Success % is very high, you probably want to introduce more three-bet bluffs into your pre-flop strategy. When analysing success percentages, I suggest analysing all of your three-bet hands (including Q-Q+/A-K) to get a larger and more reliable sample size.

Over all, three-betting your opponents pre-flop should be a very positive activity for you. Chances are you can improve your three-bet game in one way or another, no matter how good a player you are. Using tools like PokerTracker 4, there are a variety of ways to analyse your profitability, and of course you can dig even deeper. If your sample size is big enough, you can analyse these pots in position versus out of position, or specific hands like A-Q and suited connectors, and even resteals versus normal three-bets. Continue to analyse your game and perform this kind of self-coaching. Self analysis will give yourself an edge versus your opponents at the table. So get to work, good luck and happy grinding! !

James Sweeney is a noted poker coach, and author of the book Dynamic Full Ring Poker: Beyond the Basics, published by Daily Variance. James contributed to the tutorial content development and support of PokerTracker 4 and remains an active player advisor to the PokerTracker management team. His single-serve coaching video content is available at, featuring his newest release The 100K Micro-Stakes System: Crushing 50NL In 2012.

Tags: PokerTracker 4, analysing, 3-bets, james sweeney