Calling min-3bets preflop

Often during hand discussions, people’s opinions on whether to call or fold to a min-3bet pre-flop divert depending on who you’re talking to. This short article will answer the question once and for all.

First of all, we have to base our decision on a few basic assumptions:

1) We’re deep stacked: You can’t call a min-3bet pre-flop if you’re 7BB deep for obvious reasons. So I generally only recommend calling when 40BB or deeper, but it’s obviously villain dependant. If he’s been 3betting you 8 out of his 10 last hands when he was OOP, then you should be more willing to call.

2) Our villain has a standard 3betting range: AJ+, TT+, KQ, and some suited connectors

3) For this example, we assume a “min-3bet” is a 2x raise over our button raise, instead of the “standard” 3x raise people usually apply when 3-betting. Eg: I open for 90 chips, and he raises me to 180 chips. We’re now getting 2:1 (33%) pot odds.

In general, I would call min-3bets pre-flop with ANY TWO CARDS as long as I’m 40BB+ deep. My reasoning is based on the probability of flopping something that might beat his 3-betting range, including hands such as AK. I am only basing my reasoning on the types of hands we can flop, because if you miss the flop, you’ll often be faced with a cbet which you cannot call if you miss.

If you call with any two cards, you’ll have the following chances of hitting certain hands:

- 2% of flopping a flush draw (1 to a flush)

- 29% of flopping a pair

- 2% of flopping 2-pair

- 1% of flopping trips

- I’m disregarding full houses and quads, because they’re “gin” hands with a very low probability of flopping.

Overall, that means in 34% of the cases, we’ll hit the flop in a way that makes it possible for us to have the best hand. Obviously not every pair you flop will be good, but that’s something you have to re-evaluate on the flop. Not every 3bet is a strong pocket pair (TT+), and depending on the flop, your flopped pair of 8s might be good against his likely 3-betting range.

Now if your cards are suited, you can add another 12% chance of flopping a flush or flush draw…which easily dominates even TPTK.

In addition, if you’re holding a pocket pair, you will flop trips 11% of the time on the flop. Obviously, you will often come over the top with higher pocket pairs, but don’t even think about folding 22 to a min-3bet!

So to summarize:

1) No matter what hand you’re holding, you beat the odds he’s giving you by min-raising. You only need to win 33% of the time, and you’re overall odds of hitting the flop in a way that beats a standard 3-betting range are higher than that.

2) You are not calling only based on the pre-flop bet amount, but mostly because of implied odds! Most (bad) villains only 3bet strong hands, especially if they’re tight, so if you hit the flop hard in a way that beats his  3-betting range, then it’s very likely you’ll stack him.

Stacking a villain holding AA with 72o because he chose to min-3bet giving you the odds to call and see a nice flop is one of the finest moments in poker in my opinion…so don’t be a donkey, and make sure you call those min-3bets from now on!


Credits: Primo had a quick look at the article before I posted it, and managed to correct some "alcohol" fueled math. Nevertheless, if you find any other crucial mistakes, make sure to blame me ;)

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (17 votes)


Radeh's picture

Thanks for the rating guys

Thanks for the rating guys :)

The guys who gave me 1 star, would you mind giving me some better feedback? I'm thick skinned, so I can take criticism, but just giving 1-star without any concrete feedback isn't really that helpful.



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PrimordialAA's picture

this seems to happen quite a

this seems to happen quite a bit lately, in vids as well, and I definently agree, I think if any video or article is rated 3 stars or below, you guys should be able to give concrete feedback on why you dont love it or what could have been done better to improve it


regardless, good job radeh, articles like this will make you better as a player, and just taking the time to write one up earns the respect of many people, so keep up the good work, and nice article

xSCWx's picture

I think that I can speak

I think that I can speak for everyone who has made content for this site that if there is anything that makes you feel like the content deserves less than 5/5 stars then we would appreciate hearing what it is. Nobody is going to get angry over constructive criticism, we just want to know what you guys would like to see us improve on or change in the future.

AQs's picture

calling with 1:2 odds ip is

calling with 1:2 odds ip is EV+,ok,evrybody knows,and I used to call no matter what I hold in the past,but I changed this habit when I began to found more TAG oppos with closer 3bet range;the pf call is still EV+,but the problems come at flop;like u say the most part of the equity is from flopping a pair,and they are gonna to cbet flop 100%(and pretty strong bet size),now r we so comfortable calling with bottom pair bad kiker?According to the article we have to play evry time we flop any piece on board,but we can easily  be the dog at flop and many dangerous card can come,so I think just say to call pre is not enaught,I suggest to accomplish the article with some post-flop considerations


vindu's picture

Yep, I agree with the above

Yep, I agree with the above said. Using our equity advantage in every move we make is goal we all should struggle to achieve. I don't think that everyone should call min 3 bets with their whole range, that depends on your understanding of the game. Calling ATC puts you often in tight spots post flop, when without knowledge/ experiance/ history with given opp our decission is quite difficult. Although this article is good, I think you guys should more adjust calling ranges to the level that members are actualy at. For example advise begginers to call with decent drawing/ suited hands/ low pp as they are easily played later. Just some insights. Keep up the good work

TeddyTheKiller's picture

I havn't rated the Article

I havn't rated the Article but if you open 90 and someone 3bets to 180 theres 270 in the Pot and you have to call 90 which gives us 3:1 Odds, which is the reason we can call with most cards. If it were 2:1 we would have to fold a great deal, which is the case when he 3bets to 270. Obv aggainst a fairly tight opponent we don't want to call hands like 43o because they simply don't flop good Pairs and we have great reverse implied Odds if we decide to go with "I have a pair so I call down". We are very likely to make greater mistakes postflop than the mistake of mucking preflop and giving up some equity.

5did3's picture

11% ?

"In addition, if you’re holding a pocket pair, you will flop trips 11% of the time on the flop. "
I was assuming it was 11% on the river ... Am I wrong ?

Wayfaerer's picture

Hi I've just recently

Hi I've just recently started studying heads up poker in depth and forgive me if I'm wrong, TeddytheKiller mentioned this above and I'd like some clarification. When we initially raise to 90 and 3 bet to 180, there is 270 in the pot and we have the option to call 90. Therefore we're getting 3:1 instead of 2:1 as mentioned in the article correct? And this gives us even more incentive to call?

Radeh's picture

Yeah, I was a bit of a noob

Yeah, I was a bit of a noob when I wrote this. The point still stands though that you can profitably call with ATC while you're still deep. Obviously once stacks get shallower, you should only call if your villain is tight postflop.

I'll edit the article once I find a bit of free time ;)

Overall the core statement is still valid though. For example, I played a guy today who kept on raising my PF minraise of 60 to 90. Folding for 30 more chips with ATC is just wrong. He went on total monkey tilt because my 74o hands sucked out on a few of his monsters. So the reverse is also true, if you have AA, don't just minraise preflop, make a proper 3x raise...either that or don't complain of your villain's 78o sucks out on you ;)


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Radeh's picture

@5did3: You have three tries


You have three tries to hit your trips since there are three flop cards. The first try is 2/50 (two remaining cards you hold out of 50 unseen cards). The second try is only 2/49. The third try is 2/48. Switch these to cards that won't help you, and mutiply them. That will tell you the percentage of NOT getting your hand. Then you can subract that from 1 to get the odds you WILL hit it.

48/50 * 47/49 * 46/48
.96 * .959 * .958
= .88 or 88% of the time we won't hit which means 12% of the time we will or 1/8. A 1/8 is a 7:1.

So the probability of hitting trips is actually a bit better than 11% on the flop ;)


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RoyBatty's picture

I'm a little late to the

I'm a little late to the party for commentary on this one, but great article very informative.  Does the math here also hold true when you are out of position and get min-raised by the button?

AJG's picture

Well, you are still getting

Well, you are still getting the same odds, but opponents button min-raise range is likely alot wider than min-3betting range, so it is reasonable (imho) to expect your implied odds to go down as well...

AJG's picture

to Primo and SCW, perhaps you

to Primo and SCW, perhaps you could make a comment field mandatory for a rating below some threshold, say 3 or 4?

kukulcan's picture

good someone commented again.

good someone commented again. i read it again, even though i did this already several times. i mostly call those min-3-bets pre, however if i now look at the chances to hit, i do not have the impression i hit so often. anyhow - i just ask myself - why only call when 40BBs deep? in turbos this will be almost never the case that we are still so deep. i call even being 20BBs deep, however i will not call with complete trash. is there any reasoning i did not see yet that 20BBs deep calling is not really an option?