Feb 24 2010

Continuation Betting

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Continuation betting is a topic in poker that gets a lot of attention. Almost every poker player knows what continuation betting is, but very few really understand the dynamics of proper c-bets. C-betting is often times made unnecessarily complicated, when in reality it is a very simple concept. A continuation bet is a bet that will be made on the flop in an effort to continue with aggression that you had shown pre flop.

Your pre flop aggression will have come in the form of a raise or a re raise. You can’t make a continuation bet on the flop when you simply made a call pre flop because you wouldn’t be continuing anything. There is a big difference between continuing with your aggression and starting with your aggression. If you were the aggressor pre flop, it will mean that you now have the upper hand when you head to the flop. Your opponents will naturally assume that you have a relatively strong hand, otherwise they wouldn’t have expected you to make a pre flop raise. Since your opponents think you are holding a strong hand, you will be able to exploit your image. It is unimportant that you don’t actually have a strong hand, all that matters is that your opponents are scared enough that they will talk themselves into a fold. There will be times where your pre flop raise isn’t going to always mean that you should be making a flop continuation bet, however. It is important to understand that some flops are meant for passive play, no matter how aggressive you were pre flop.

Reading the Board

The board after the flop, in connection with what you are holding, will be able to tell you whether or not you should be following up with a c-bet. Ask yourself this very simple question whenever you are contemplating a continuation bet, “Will I fold out better hands and/or get calls from worse hands?” If the answer to this question is yes then you should be looking to make a continuation bet. If you answered no, however, you should be putting the brakes on your flop action.This is how simple continuation betting can be. There are many more aspects of c-betting that should be considered, but at a basic level this is all that you will need.

The next step is to decide how much you are going to bet. Since your goal should be to force folds the vast majority of the time, you will not want to risk any more money than is necessary. For this reason you will be able to make c-bets that are somewhat small. Look to make your continuation bets a little over half the pot, somewhere close to three quarters of the pot. This amount will be intimidating enough to force folds, but not so big that you will lose a lot of money when the other player(s) call or raise. Your goal in continuation betting should be to make everything as simple as possible. Once you hammer out the basics you will be that much closer to understanding the finer dynamics of proper c-betting.

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