Winning a pot isn’t just about getting good cards or betting well before the flop, in order to pick up chips you need continue to bet aggressively throughout the hand. Continuation betting is crucial for consistently turning over a profit in a game of poker, here’s what you need to know about executing a continuation bet.
What is a continuation bet
Firstly, let’s establish what a continuation bet is. Also known as a c-bet, a continuation bet is where you follow up a pre-flop raise with another bet whether your hand hits or not. It’s a hugely effective play for picking up weak calls and players who limp in with little in their hands. A continuation bet displays creates a perceived strength for your hand and puts you in the position of the aggressor which encourages your opponents to fold.
When to C-Bet
Continuation bets are most effective when big cards come up on the flop. With a pre-flop raise, you are telling your opponents that you have a strong hand. Therefore, when the flop hits, they would expect a big flop to suit your hand. This puts you in a good position to c-bet as your opponents expect you to hit. You can also c-bet with a weaker flop if you are confident it won’t play into your opponents hands. If you think your opponent has a flush or straight draw and the flop doesn’t help them, then a c-bet will often win you the pot.
When not to C-Bet
There are a few occasions where you need to be cautious about making a c-bet. The first situation is when you have made a number of continuation bets. If you’re opponents begins to suspect that you are bluffing or semi-bluffing they may call or re-raise. As a general rule in poker, it’s important to keep your action and strategy varied so you opponents can’t get a good read on you.
You should also be careful about utilizing continuation betting against multiple opponents. The more players that remain in a round, the much lower your odds are of winning or getting them off the hand. Finally, be careful when the flop brings into play a lot of hands. Flops that are good for flush or straight draws are likely to hit your opponent so you should be wary that if you c-bet they are likely to call or even go over the top with a re-raise.
Sizing up a C-Bet
The last aspect of c-bet strategy is considering how much to bet. As a general rule, bets should risk as little as possible while trying to guarantee a desired result. A good c-bet would be between 2/3rds and 3/4’s of the pot, this gives you a good chance of getting your opponent to fold without risking too many chips.
A continuation bet is a very effective way to pick up chips without playing out a full round of betting. That being said, it’s important to get your strategy right. Consider your opponents hand, your position, and the size of your bet to balance risk and reward.