The continuation bet (also called c-bet) has become a very popular move in Texas No-Limit Holdem. It is simple and efficient and can be learned quickly, even by new poker players.
What is a continuation bet?
We define a continuation as a bet on the flop after being the pre-flop raiser. It is placed even if you did not improve your hand on the flop. The main purpose is to win the pot instantly.
Since most poker hands do not usually improve on the flop, pursuing your opponent with continued aggression, regardless of your holding, can win you the pot many times.
You can also use a c-bet as a reverse bluff when you hold a strong hand and want to build the pot.
Bet-sizing for the continuation bet.
A good rule of thumb of a good bet-sizing for your continuation bet is 2/3 to 3/4 of the total pot size. Remember: We want to win the pot as quickly as possible, so aggressive play is the way to go.
In this example, we hold a pair of Aces. The flop revealed an additional Ace, which gives us three of a kind. At this moment, our hand is the strongest on the table. The only danger we face is a possible flush draw on the turn or river. To grow the pot and to reduce the number of players, we bet $40 (2/3 of the pot of $60).
Consider your hand range and how your playing style is perceived by your opponents.
The power of a continuation bet, especially against more experienced opponents, lies in the perception of your strength.
If your game is perceived as tight and aggressive, your opponents will respect your continuation bets more often.
If you overdo it and fire a c-bet on every hand, it loses its power, and you will get called more often.
Consider the board
Try to think about what your opponents might believe what you’re holding in your hand.
If the flop appears less likely to have helped you, they might call you more often. In such a situation, it is wise to only continuation bet if you are holding a strong hand.
Continuation bets work better on flops that look like they could help a pre-flop raiser.
When not to continuation bet:
Against calling stations
If you face one or more player who frequently call every bet or raise, you should reduce the number of c-bet attempts significantly. As an old saying goes, you can’t bluff a calling station.
Take the type of your opponent into consideration.
For instance, if your calling station frequently calls any hand on the flop, but then folds quickly to any turn bet or raise? In this case, you can keep playing continuation bets on the flop. Make sure to place another c-bet on the turn. Playing against this type of player can be very profitable.
Against multiple callers
A continuation bet is a mini-bluff where you use the fold equity that you have gained by being the pre-flop raiser.
More players in the pot will diminish your fold equity; you will be called more frequently.
With a high probability of being called, you are more profitable in the long run by betting on strong hands, rather than making bluffs.
On a draw-y boards
Some flops are better than others for continuation betting. If the board has a higher probability of completing a flush or a straight you should reduce the number of c-bets where you hold nothing.
This type of board almost always gives your opponent something they like, hence the probability for them calling your raise will increase.
Out of position
Being in position makes continuation bets easier. Late positions allow a more accurate insight into your opponent’s hand strength.
You can continuation bet more confidently if your opponents check to you on the turn.
If you are in an early position, you don’t have access to this type of information and are often forced to check-fold if your c-bet failed on the flop.
How can you practice continuation betting?
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In any game, you can check the current pot size on the information box on the top. In our case, we have $35 in the pot. We choose a bet size of 75% or at about $28 as our bet.
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