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Heads Up With 'Miami' John Cernuto

by Kristy Arnett |  Published: Feb 19, 2010


John Cernuto
“Miami” John Cernuto has been cashing consistently in major live tournaments for the past two decades, and has accumulated more than $4.7 million in tournament winnings and won three World Series of Poker bracelets. He recently sat down with Card Player TV to discuss three-betting preflop in a limit Omaha eight-or-better tournament.

Kristy Arnett: What goes into your decision-making process when considering a three-bet preflop?

“Miami” John Cernuto: There are certain criteria that I use. Number one is, you usually want to three-bet with what I consider a group-one Omaha [eight-or-better] hand, which, of course, includes all the hands that everybody knows about — A-2-3-Q, A-A-2-4, A-A-3-5, and so on. Now, the other situations in which you want to three-bet are when you’re up against an aggressive player who is very loose. If he’s been showing down some hands that are very weak, I like to three-bet him with even more marginal hands, like A-Q-J-3 and A-J-10-4 double-suited. You always want to do it when you can establish position. Once there’s been a raise and several callers, there is no more point in three-betting, because Omaha just has too many cards out there against you. If there are already three people in the pot, that’s 12 cards that can beat you already, so unless you have the monster, A-A-2-3 double-suited, there’s no point in trying to three-bet, because the purpose of three-betting is to isolate and get it heads up, since your hands always play better heads up. Spade Suit