The Continuation Bet
The Continuation Bet
An unbelievable amount of the time when you have the best hand pre-flop like AK and make an opening raise of 3xBBs or re-raise, you will totally miss the flop. This is where the concept of a “continuation bet” or “c-bet” comes into practice.
A continuation bet involves making a raise on a missed flop after being the last pre-flop raiser in the hope of winning the pot. A continuation bet is in essence a bluff, and it derives its strength from the fact that your consecutive raises make your hand look too strong for anyone else to call.
A typical continuation bet size should be half of the pot. For example, if the pot is worth $50 than you should make a cbet of $25 (notice that you only have to win 1/3 times to break-even with this size of bet). This is the standard bet size for a continuation bet in most situations; however it may vary slightly depending on the quality and style of your opponent. For example, if your opponent is a LAG (more willing to float your bets and see the next card) than you might want to increase your bet to something like 60-75% of the pot.
Advantages of Continuation Betting
There are many advantages to continuation betting pots, especially in micro-stakes games where opponents are weaker and will fold more often to aggression. The start with, continuation betting will fold most of the weaker opponents at your table and give you greater equity in the pot. This allows you to win more money.
Continuation betting also helps to balance your hand range. This means that if “distorts” your hand range. If you continuation bet with a wide range of hands (73o or AA) than it makes if very hard for your opponent to narrow down your range. You could be mixing in a semi-bluff with a combo-draw, a pure bluff with 72 off suit or you might even have the nuts. This not only helps when shoving or re-raising opponents in heads up pots, but it also makes you a tougher player to read several hands down the line.
One of the biggest advantages, that not a lot of players comment on, is that when you continuation bet a pot in online poker it is very unlikely that you will get stuck in a re-raise. This is because your opponent is unlikely to play a massive hand like full house (33) on a 3-A-A board thick and fast, and if he doesn’t have a good hand than it’s always going to be negative EV for him to try and bluff-raise you. Overall, this means that by sticking your chips in the pot and making a cbet, the worst that can happen is that you get called and get to see another card.
Although continuation betting has always been one of the most popular and common bluffs in both live and online poker, it has to be stated that the value of the continuation bet in the modern game is deteriorating. The quality of games and opponents has increased massively, especially in the last 2 years, and this has made even the micro limit games of NL25 a lot tougher. What this means for you is that your continuation bet is not going to work as often as useful. In order to make up for this you’re going to need to learn to double-barrel the turn more ofter. This requires vastly greater balls for sticking more of your chips into the table when you’ve failed to improve a hand on two consecutive streets. I can assure that if you become learned in double-barrelling however than it will pay off.