The Continuation Bet

This article will focus on the continuation bet a.k.a. the "c-bet" as its so often called in online poker. We hope to address general continuation betting strategies that you can employ to ensure you are successful more often then not when you c-bet.

It has to be said the c-bet is an extremely common practice adopted by most poker players nowadays, even passive players in the micro limits, since it's viewed as a collection of the dead money. If you are not already familiar with this poker term, you should know the continuation bet refers to betting on the flop when you were the pre-flop aggressor. It's a situation that occurs very frequently so you better have a good strategy in place to ensure that you are not mindlessly c-betting at the wrong times as it will only end up costing you a lot of money.

There are a number of different factors you want to think about when determining whether or not you should continuation bet on the flop. First and foremost, if you focus on what you are trying to accomplish and understand why you are betting in the first place when you are continuation betting, things will make a greater deal of sense to you.

The main reasons for cbetting is that you're trying to get everyone to fold or for value when you have a very strong hand. The thing is though; it's rare to have a very strong hand on the flop, since you are going to miss the flop more often then not. Therefore, picking the right times to cbet as a bluff becomes a crucial weapon in your poker arsenal.

So when should you continuation bet when you've missed? One of the first things to consider is the number of runners in the pot. This is because the more players there are, the greater the chance that someone has a made hand, and therefore will not be folding to your continuation bet. Ideally, you want to consider continuation betting when there are only 1-2 other callers. If your initial pre-flop raise gets four or five callers to the flop, someone is very likely to have at least a pair.

The next consideration you need to have when thinking about a continuation betting strategy is the flop board texture. When thinking about different kinds of flops you basically want to categorize them into wet board textures or dry board textures.

Wet boards are very coordinated (cards are close to each other) and contain lots of draws. If the board contains many high cards, such as a board of K-Q-T they are very scary boards because they hit the perceived calling range of our opponents. Even if an opponent doesn't have a strong made hand, it's very likely they have some type of draw that they will be calling with. You also want to consider the suitedness of the board and whether it's a monotone (one suit), two-tone (2 suits/potential flush draw) or rainbow flop (all different suits). With monotone and two tone board textures, again it's very likely a player is on a draw, especially with a number of players involved in the pot, so you should be less willing to cbet wet boards.

As one might expect, dry boards are the opposite of wet boards. In other words, they are a board with random disconnected cards. A good example of a dry board texture would be Q-2-7 they usually contain one high card and two low cards. Paired boards such as T-3-3 can also be considered as dry board textures. These kinds of flops can be great to continuation bet and bluff because they're not coordinated so it's impossible for someone to have a draw and it's very likely the other players have missed the flop and will have to fold to your flop bet, provided you were the pre-flop raiser, since you can continue to tell the same story that you have a strong hand on the flop.

Keep in mind, however, that tough opponents will be thinking about the flop board texture in much the same way and will know it's a good board to cbet as a bluff, so you definitely need to be mindful of your opponent's playing style and how you expect them to react to your bet. Against aggressive players who have a tendency to play back on dry boards you may want to consider going for a check-raise, especially when you have some outs to improve your hand. Also, think about sizing your cbet bluffs a little smaller to keep it cheaper. Players either have a hand they can call with or they don't and will fold, so a smaller bet will accomplish the same thing.