On the flop, a preflop raiser can make a continuation bet (c-bet). A continuation bet is made when a player wishes to maintain the level of aggression displayed pre-flop.
Depending on your skill, the c-bet has the potential to be either your most lucrative instrument or your greatest source of financial loss. Many gamers, however, erroneously believe that continuation betting always yields a positive return. Before making the decision to fire someone, there are a few things you should think about. Board texture, opponent habits, and your own hand strength are all examples.
Bet Progression and the Texture of the Flop
It’s possible to find flip-flops with a variety of “textures,” with wet and dry being the most common. When there are several draws that are completed by the flop, it is said to be wet. A wet flop can look like 6h-7d-Ah. It’s important to remember that there’s a flush draw and a straight draw that can go either way. In addition, there’s an ace in the deck, which would improve a lot of opening hands.
A flop is considered dry if the cards on it aren’t well-matched and can’t be used to make any draws. Both 2d-Kh-7c and 8s-Ad-3h would be a dry flip. Only top pair and set combinations benefit from these flops. They’re both bone dry.
When the flip does not improve your hand, you should often make a continuation bet. This is due to two factors. For starters, when the flip is dry, your opponent is more likely to entirely miss it and fold to any wager. Second, a bet into a dry flop is typically interpreted as a sign of power by weaker opponents, prompting many to discard even low pairs out of pure fear.
There are more moving parts in wet flops. If the flop is wet for your hand, it’s only natural to make a continuation bet. If you hold 8h9h and the flip comes Ah-7d-10h, for instance, you’re in terrific shape to make a bet. However, you should avoid betting into wet flops that completely miss you. If the flip reads Ad-Kd-Js, for instance, checking is the best move.
The Opponent Should Be Considered Prior to a Continuation Bet
Think about your end goal before you make a continuation bet. Think about whether you’re betting for value or bluffing with your continuation. Next, consider how likely it is that your opponent will comply with your desired outcome.
Let’s pretend you’re holding KQo and a rainbow appears on the flop, 2-8-T. If your opponent also missed the flop, you have a good chance of winning. Putting in a c-bet is a clear attempt to bluff your opponent into folding. Do you think your rival will make that move?
The only reason a tight, conservative player would call a c-bet on this flop is if he hit a pair or better. In this situation, a c-bet is the best play if your opponent is a typical TAG or a weak-tight player, as you have a good chance of winning the pot.
On the other hand, you should think about verifying if you’re up against a good LAG (loose-aggressive player) or a calling station. Since a skilled LAG is aware that you probably missed this flop, he will most likely raise your continuation bet. But a calling station will place any call for the sake of a bet. The last thing you want to do is build the pot for the turn when your hand has little value beyond bluffing. As a result, a check is the optimal move.
Take Presentation into Account
Before making a c-bet, it’s also wise to think about how you appear at the table. Take into account how your rivals see you. What kind of player do you seem to be based on your recent table action? Tight? How your opponents respond to your continuation bets depends on how you are perceived at the table.
They might think you’re full of it if you’ve won the last three pots without displaying your hand. In that instance, you should probably wait until you have a good hand before firing off a continuation bet. Your opponents have seen you win a few recent pots, so they have good reason to be wary of you.
If the score is tied, the situation is the same. If your table picture is shaky, it’s probably best to pass on the c-bet and take the free card instead. By checking behind, you force your opponents to pass up the chance to checkraise you and give you a free card. Perfect.
However, if you have a strong table image, you can afford to be a little more risky with your continuation bets. Your opponents will view you as more of a straightforward player if you haven’t played many pots recently. Then, regardless of your current stack size, you can fire a continuation bet.
It’s important to gauge your handgun’s relative firepower.
Before making a continuation bet, you should evaluate your hand’s relative strength. It’s common sense to c-bet to increase the size of the pot if you think your hand is better than your opponent’s. In most situations, calling a c-bet from an opponent when you believe your hand is weaker than theirs is a bad idea. A made hand is unbluffable, and a checked-down made hand will not be paid off.
When comparing the relative strength of two hands, there are a few factors to keep in mind. Let’s say you have a weak hand but you think you have your opponent defeated. You also suspect that your opponent, given the moist board, could be willing to play for a draw.
To maximize your chances of winning with this hand, you should give careful consideration to the size of your continuation bet. You should also stake enough to make it unprofitable for him to draw by pricing it out of the game. In that situation, you wouldn’t mind either scenario — either he folds and you win a simple pot, or he chases against the odds and loses.
In conclusion, the continuation bet is a powerful instrument that every poker player should have at their disposal. Master its use in a variety of contexts, and you’ll soon be sweeping the field clean of rivals.
Be Wary of the Float
The float is a common strategy used to discourage players who make too many continuation bets. The float is used by opponents in position to call your continuation bet even if they don’t have the nuts if they think you’re bluffing. Then, if you check to them on the turn, they will immediately bet, taking your pot away.
The float is an effective play because it forces you into an uncomfortable position. You’re pretty much out of luck if you don’t have a good hand. When your opponent calls the flop with cards you didn’t see, you’re left out of position and without a strategy for the turn.
The good news is that you may take certain measures to reduce the frequency of floaters. To begin, you shouldn’t always make a continuation bet. Reduce your percentage of c-bets. If someone else attempts to float you, you’ll look like you’ve got a good hand if you’ve done this. As a result, you’re becoming less profitable to float.
Second, occasionally check-raising the flop with a strong hand is possible. Your opponents will be very wary of you after seeing this maneuver. Showing down a strong hand and winning a sizable pot is ideal for this strategy. You can even occasionally bluff by checkraising the flop. Those who are paying attention will think twice before trying to float you.
Finally, the second cannon can be used on occasion. Make another wager on the turn if your opponent calls your flop bet. This makes it more difficult for your opponent to bluff you successfully. You should do this both when you have a solid hand and when you only have air. If your opponents know you don’t always use the same strategy, they’ll have a harder time defending the float play against you.
At times, it’s OK to checkraise the turn. You really need a hand for this to work. Raising before the flop, betting on the flop, and checking the turn will get you there. Your opponent will probably be thinking this is a great opportunity to try a float. Except when your opponent makes the final bet, at which point you checkraise them substantially. If you’re in a tough game against a group of regulars, you could also have to do this on occasion while completely out of breath.