4-Bet in Poker Explained

The 4-bet technique in poker can help you gain the upper edge against your opponents. Read on to learn how it works, how to use it, and when to avoid it.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Avatar Author Adrian Sterne
Fact checked by Dusan Jovanovic
Image of 4-betting in Poker ExplainedThe 4-bet technique in poker refers to the third raise (second re-raise) and overall fourth bet in a specific sequence of wagers.

It might sound simple, but it can be a tricky play to pull off. You need to understand:

  • How it works
  • When and how to use it
  • When to avoid it

We’ll explain that in this quick guide on poker 4-betting.

What Is a 4-Bet?

All poker bets can have numbers assigned to them in games like Hold’em and Omaha:
  • The first bet is the big blind.
  • The initial raise is a 2-bet.
  • The second raise (re-raise) or the third bet overall is a 3-bet.
  • The third raise (second re-raise) or the overall fourth bet is a 4-bet.
  • The third raise, or the fifth bet, is a 5-bet.

Here’s how to understand when 4-betting happens. Let’s say you raise preflop, which is a 2-bet. Then the player behind you makes the second raise or re-raises (3-bet). Once the action goes back to you, you decide not to call but to make another raise or the second re-raise — that’s a 4-bet.

Players typically use a 4-bet before the flop. It can also occur postflop, but these situations are rare as a 4-bet here usually implies the player has a very strong hand. They are usually all-in at that point, as it would be unusual for someone to be bluffing after a postflop 3-bet.

Generally, preflop 4-bets have less strength than postflop 4-bets. However, most of them are still geared toward value. Some players tend to bluff with a preflop 4-bet to beat a standard aggressive 3-bet strategy.

How to Use a 4-Bet?

The only way to use a 4-bet is once another player makes a 3-bet, or in other words, once they re-raise. To do this, you must be ready to re-raise after a player has done the same.

So, the real question is not how to use a 4-bet but when to use it. Let’s take a look at the main reasons why you’d want to do that:

  • You have a premium hand — The main reason to use a 4-bet is when you have a premium hand. This includes big aces, pocket kings, or some other of the 22 possible strong preflop combinations. It’s best to play these hands strongly, as this lets you build a better pot and acquire more value from the opponents.
  • You want to bluff — It’s sometimes good to use a 4-bet, even if you don’t have a premium hand. When you’re bluffing like this, you avoid getting exploited for your simple 4-betting strategy.
  • You want to isolate opponents — The best way to get the most equity from a preflop is to get heads-up with only one player. That’s because many combinations have more chances of winning when facing one player instead of five or more opponents.
  • You have a chance to steal the pot — Situations with a lot of dead money within the money players can win with 4-betting are not uncommon. If you find yourself in such a good spot, you should use the 4-betting strategy.

Image of 4-bet In Poker

When to Avoid the 4-Bet Strategy?

The main situation when you need to avoid 4-betting is postflop. However, you also have to learn when to avoid it preflop.

Many players tend to use 4-bet bluffing, but learning when is the right time for that can be tricky. You’ll have to learn how to read your opponents well. Moreover, you must avoid using the 4-bet arbitrarily and in cases when you only feel the moment is right.

4-Bet vs. 3-Bet Strategy

Both of these strategies are used to get value from your strongest hands. You also want to use them to isolate weak players and to bluff against aggressive openers.

Most players agree that it’s wise to fold against a 3-bet around 55% of the time, as long as you’re both playing with a balanced strategy. If players use 3-bets more randomly than they should, it’s better to call them more often.

However, learning when the right moments for all of that are require lots of practice. That’s because both 3-betting and 4-betting are typically adjustments you make to other players’ tactics.

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So, 4-betting is a big part of a good preflop strategy, and every player should learn to use it when they have premium hands. However, there are several other reasons to make a 4-bet, as seen in this guide. Learning how to employ it correctly and avoid using it at random is vital.

Dig deeper into every 4-bet strategy and start practicing it, and in time, you’re bound to get better.


What is a poker 4-bet?

A 4-bet in poker is the second re-raise in one sequence of bets. It’s the fourth overall bet, with the initial one being the big blind. You can also say that it’s the third raise in a sequence.

What is a 5-bet in poker?

A 5-bet in poker is the third re-raise in a single betting sequence. It’s also the fourth raise and the fifth overall bet.

What are the benefits of 4-betting in poker?

Poker players typically use 4-bets to get some value out of poor hands, to bluff, to steal the pot, to get all of their hand’s equity by getting the opponent to fold preflop, and to isolate opponents when their chances of defeating all other players are low.

What is the best-case scenario for a 4-bet?

The best combination to use in 4-betting is suited aces. However, 4-betting is still the way to go if you get most other premium hands.

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