Latest trends in poker strategy

Over the last years, there has been a major change in poker strategy, both for tournaments and cash games. Especially younger players have started taking a much more aggressive approach to the game. Old principles like "tight is right" have been thrown out by players who ruthlessly exploit weaker players, by reraising with a much wider range of hands especially against players that are perceived to have wider opening range.

This concept is often called "light 3-betting", and in consequence, you can much more often see players even 4-betting "light". Now that sounds pretty easy, and you might say to yourself "oh, I can do that too", but careful: to pick the right spot for this kind of aggression take some experience and good observation.

How to deal with players that seem to be 3-betting light?

What we suggest is that for the time being, you just observe what they do, who they do it against and how often they get away with it. You will find that the success of this strategy depends very much on the texture of the table. Those players will choose who they 3-bet against, and sometimes the table will be so strong that they will stop doing it altogether. 

While you observe, we suggest that you read some more recent poker books - it should be easy to find more info about the thought process and mathematical consideration that go with the concept of light 3-betting.

In the meantime and before you are able to successfully integrate light 3-betting into you own arsenal, we suggest that whenever you consider a first-in raise and you know that you have one or more players to your left who you know to 3bet light often, you should look at the hand and consider whether you would be willing to 4-bet (and/or even go all-in) with that hand if you get 3-bet by any player. If the answer is yes, then, by all means, bet out like usual and welcome the 3-bet. If the answer is no, then you have only two choices: either to limp (planning to fold if raised) or to fold right away and wait for better situations.

The abovementioned concept is good for defending against 3-bets both in cashgame and tournament situations. In tournament situations, there is one more aspect that you should consider: If your chipstack is 20 BB or smaller, and the blinds are high, you could actually simply push all-in right away with any hand that you deem good enough to play against a 3bet. Why? Well, obviously, if you were to raise to, let's say, 2.5 BB, someone 3-bets and makes it 5 or 6 BB, it is clear that this is a hand where you will have a decision for all your chips at hand. So, why not move all-in right away, and by doing so, get a little extra fold equity?

Furthermore, remember that the concept of light 3-betting is based on the hope to push a weak player off a decent hand - but if you move all-in, you are turning the tables on the aggressive player because he knows that he will no longer be able to outplay you and will have to win a showdown against you.