comedy, they have a famous "Rule of Three". Some great mind must have
calculated that three examples of something ludicrous, or three repetitions of
a running joke, is the perfect equation for the biggest laughs. Two is not
enough to hit the peak; four is milking it.
There is also a Rule of
Three in poker: beware the third bet. Before the flop, the first raise doesn't
tell you much. From a tight player it means a pair or two big cards; from a
looser player it could also mean suited connectors or a decent flush draw; from
a crazy player it could be anything.
A further raise from a second opponent
could mean a real hand trying to flush out weaker opposition, a funny hand
trying to disguise itself, or a clever player disbelieving the first bet. But
if a third raise comes in from another player again, that is supposed to be
aces or kings. And it usually is.
The Rule of Three also applies after
cards. Recently, I saw Humberto Brenes play a tournament hand in which he had
raised pre-flop and got one caller. The caller bet out 1,500 on a flop of A63
(no flush draw). Humberto raised to 5,000. The caller made the key third bet:
all in for 23,000. This bet is supposed to mean a set. Brenes made (in my
opinion) a very bad call with AK, and his opponent rolled over three sixes.
As in all poker situations, there is no absolute knowledge. The
strongest players can put in a third bet with no hand, if they sense any
uncertainty, especially in tournaments. But that is rare and high-level play. A
third bet is far more often a big favourite than it is no hand - meaning that
if you always believe the third bet, you will save more money than you will