Playing aggressively is a crucial part of the game of No Limit Holdem, despite the game’s apparent simplicity. The topic of the 4bet range or how to strike a healthy equilibrium within them keeps coming up in poker discussions. Until recently, this was seen as a form of extravagant entertainment or unnecessary complexity due to the ease with which one could win at online games.
These days, 4-Betting is absolutely necessary, especially if you don’t use poker apps like Pokerrrr2, PPPoker, PokerBros, Upoker, ClubGG. Games on regular betting sites are significantly tighter, with even casual players frequently displaying a high level of skill and selecting their battles with great care. Many poker fans are new to the game and, as a result, have a low VPIP% while they sit on the sidelines hoping for a good hand.
When the table dynamics are like this, you should feel free to increase your 4-bet range and play more aggressively. Most hands in No Limit Holdem are won automatically before the showdown. Being aggressive and 4-betting bravely can help you avoid fold fest when cards split ties.
You will learn today what hands are suitable for your 4-bet range or which ones you should never, ever consider betting with. It’s tempting for even the most seasoned players to put themselves in precarious situations with weak hands. Creating a difficult situation for yourself is the worst thing you can do in No Limit Holdem.
Accidents on the road can sometimes be unavoidable, but more often than not, they result from human error and poor decision-making.
5 Useful Tips To AVOID Mistakes in the 4-Betting Range
The following list may surprise you, but 4-betting these hands almost always backfire, especially when playing against inexperienced opponents.
Don’t forget! The point of 4-betting is to either force your opponent to fold or to force yourself to witness the flop with a superior hand. There’s a recipe for disaster when your hands are in the middle of the table, and you 4-bet them because they look strong.
1. Keep Away From 4-Betting Pocket Nines
This is yet another no-brainer, but many amateur “professionals” insist on putting themselves in danger by doing it anyway. Although pocket nines is a great hand with decent showdown value, it is not one you should play too aggressively in cash games. It’s near the bottom of the 4-bet range charts, and when it gets called, it’s usually against a much stronger hand, like AK, or an equally strong one.
The bad news is that it is much better to play AK and other powerful aces post-flop than it is to play pocket nines. If you have 99, the flop is likely to give you an overcard or two, leaving you wondering if your rival paired his hand. Is it possible he always held a superior pair in his hands? You won’t stop being perplexed about what to do.
Let’s think about the good outcome, where the flop is something like 6 2 8, for instance. A nine-out-of-ten nightmare, and you’d like to put an end to it now. You wager for value, but Villain is unlikely to give up the chips he has already committed to a C-Bet.
Challenger calls it!
You bet the turn, and an overcard comes up, getting you another call. The overcard is repeated on the river. You’ve probably put a lot of money into this, and you’re probably exhausted. You check, the villain bets a lot, and you have to make a huge decision, potentially risking almost all of your chips. And either you bet this same river and the better hand calls, or you show a pair and win the pot.
These are just a few examples, but they illustrate how commonplace they are. In this situation, putting a large portion of your stack at risk by 4-betting is a bad idea.
2. Do NOT Include AQ in your 4-Bet Range
This is a huge shock. Not only should you not 4-bet AQ, but pocket jacks also do not lead any further down in the rankings. I’ll explain why;
- You have a very strong hand if you have an ace and a queen. If you 4-bet and obtain 5-bet/Jam, possibilities are that you would then call. It’s AK, AA, KK, or QQ against you 99% of the time. You almost certainly won’t be able to avoid consequences.
- AQ often can win by hitting Top Pair. If your opponent is at all competent, they will only call a large bet with AK if you hit ace and bet. One C-Bet can be called with AJ or AT, but calling all 3 streets is extremely unlikely unless the villain is a fish. You can’t extract value with AQ
- If you hit a Q, your only other value hand is KQ, which is usually in your opponent’s 4-bet flat range. JJ and TT, perhaps. The villain may make a single phone call for the latter, while the former is up to the player. In contrast, it is not GTO to bet four times the pot in the hopes that your opponent has KQ.
Make these the new starting hands for your four-bet range.
Changing your 3-bet and 4-bet ranges is all it takes to put you ahead of nearly every online opponent. The difference between 3-betting and 4-betting is found in the frequency and choice of hands. How you react when you’re 4-bet is also very important. This is why you should only consider the following hands worthy of a 4-Bet in place of the ones mentioned earlier.
This 67s-suited connector is perfect for throwing off your opponents. Your 4-bet frequency rises, but your range becomes more skewed. If the villain has A5, you don’t have to worry as much about the Sex-Seven combo as you would if he had 5-6.
For a more well-rounded four-bet range, K6s is an excellent choice. You’re not going to fold, but you’re still a threat with this hand. Flush Draws, or even a pair of sixes, might be enough to win. With KQ, on the other hand, you can play it safe by not committing to a potential top pair while also adding an element of surprise by holding a low card.
Tom Dwan likes those kinds of hands a lot, especially when they involve a King and a low card. It’s easy to see why. The strength of common weak aces is almost equal to that of uncommon strong aces. It’s very simple to fold when confronted with a 5bet without considering whether this was the best move.
This is a 4-bet bluff that, if successful, can win you a lot of chips.
Is this the 4-bet range you should use at the hand’s end?
Here, you can see that we incorporated more bluffs and fewer value hands than in standard charts. In this manner, you can be more unpredictable while still gaining clarity after the flop. Keeping your opponents guessing requires you to be good with only the best hands and to 4-bet bluff with some unusual hands.
This is the quickest way to get the bad guy’s money: just make him confused. You can significantly reduce the likelihood of having to deal with coolers by removing weak hands like AJ from your 4-Bet range.
3. Never 4-Bet KQ
Perhaps it goes without saying, but a hand like this is not one in which you should 4-bet. Some recreational players might take one look at it and assume they have a good hand, but 4-betting this hand would accomplish very little. Your chances of winning are slim to none if the game is called. On the other hand, if you draw 5-bet / Jam, you have every reason to be miserable in this world.
It’s true that you can observe some of the best players in the world 4-betting this and several other hands here on the list, but in those instances, the stakes are much higher. Professionals think about a myriad of other factors, such as their opponent’s hand history, the table dynamic, and even the possibility of using extravagant tactics to catch their opponent off guard.
When it comes down to it, 4-betting KQ almost always results in a significant financial loss.
4. Avoid Setting A 4-Bet on JT
When it comes to flattening, JT is without a peer. If you call a 3-bet without raising, you probably have a strong starting hand like JTs, QJs, KJs, KTs, A9s, or 77s.
It’s a bad idea to try to surprise your opponent by adding JT to your 4-Bet Range. We did say earlier that you should expand your 4-bet range, but that’s best done with different types of hands. When you add JT to your 4-betting hands, your range becomes more cohesive.
Adding JT to your hand choices won’t do that if you want to broaden your range. Your 4-bet range will be most effective when it contains hands that are very different from your opponent’s. When you make a risky play with JT, your opposing player, such as AJ or AT, may have a better hand.
JT is a bad 4-betting hand for another reason: it is extremely playable post-flop. Let me explain why this is indeed unfortunate news for you. JT’s flops can be a double-edged sword. No matter how many pairs you have on flops like:
The odds are high that your opponent has a sizable cooler to use against you. Sets and straights populate the upper end of the villain range, while pairs and draws fill out the lower end. Even if you flop a pair, Jack-Ten puts you in a terrible position.
5. You’re Committing A HUGE Mistake If You Have AJ in Your 4-Bet Range
After pocket jacks, ace-jack is the 2nd greatest dreaded starting hand in poker. Obviously, for a valid reason. It gives the impression of strength but is easily dominated.
It’s not a good idea to 4-bet this hand against tighter opponents. The high hand with the A kicker is strong, but online grinders tend to be cautious when it comes to 4-betting. Only strong hands, or at most even stronger hands, will call 5-bet/Jam into you.
Because of this, AJ’s GTO play fails nearly always. There is merit in 4-betting with aces and jacks of the same suit, but as we’ve established, marginal hands are just troubling down the line.