Are Continuation Bets Still Valuable in Texas Holdem – Why (Or Why Not)

Position in the hand. Sometimes you can force an opponent out by raising enough to give them bad pot odds. Be careful who you c-bet. As the old adage goes, you can't bluff a calling station. Want to win real prizes without risking anything?

Basics of Continuation Betting

Continuation Betting in Texas Hold’em Poker

There is so much dead money in the average pot from players making weak calls before the flop. These same players will fold the flop in the face of continued aggression. With all this dead money there is a ton of value to be had by c-betting a high percentage of the time. A high percentage of the time doesn't mean every time. If your opponent knows you're going to fire a c-bet every single time you raise before the flop, he will be able to trap you with impunity, certain that you are going to bet.

When you are firing a continuation bet, you want your opponent to fold. You want to take advantage of being the pre-flop raiser and you want to collect the dead money those times your opponent misses. The best flops to continuation bet are ones that are likely to have helped your hand. When you raise before the flop your opponent is likely to put you on big cards. When the big cards come on the flop your bet will often win you the pot. Boards with aces or kings on them always make great continuation-bet situations because most opponents are going to think that they hit the pre-flop raiser.

Also, flops that are unlikely to have helped your opponent make for great c-betting. That means in that case, he'll be more than willing to give up when you c-bet. When you find yourself heads-up on the flop after raising you should be continuation betting a high percentage of the time. Your single opponent will miss the flop completely so often, you should be continuation betting all but the most dangerous boards.

There are, of course, bad flops to continuation bet as well. When the flop is likely to have helped your opponent or gives him a reason for calling, you should often skip the c-bet.

After all, you're hoping he will fold, so continuation betting boards he'll likely call is just giving money away. You can never know for sure which boards help your opponent and which don't.

It is an educated guessing game: If either of those are high, then don't bet. If the flop comes down rich with draws, you're better off checking than betting. There are so many hands that your opponent could be calling with before the flop that hit this flop, and you're going to get called or raised so often, you're better off just checking. Also, if you find yourself against multiple opponents you should be less and less likely to c-bet.

Again, c-bets are meant to pick up the dead money without any trouble. The more people see the flop, the greater the chance someone will want to see a turn.

Knowing when not to continuation bet is just as important is knowing when to continuation bet. Just think about your opponents' likely holdings; bet when you think they'll fold and check when you think they will call. Since a continuation bet is really just a small bluff you want to be economical with your bet sizing. You want to bet enough to get your opponent to fold, but you don't want to risk unnecessary chips those times that you do get called.

Also, you have to risk becoming too predictable. Both your continuation bets and you value bets should be of similar size. If you bet less when you c-bet and more when you value bet, good opponents are going to catch on. So you should bet the right amount to get the job done, without risking too many chips and without giving away too much information.

A bet of two-thirds the pot flop bet is a good standard to have. It is economical, as it will be more than enough to collect the dead money, and it will also be enough to start building the pot those times you do have a real hand - thus not giving out information unnecessarily.

Knowing when to continuation bet and when not to is one of the most fundamental skills you can learn when beginning your poker career. Many players, after raising before the flop, only bet the flop if they have a hand, but that's leaving a ton of dead money on the table.

The only thing worse would be making a habit out of continuation betting every single time no matter the situation. There are simple rules to live by: At first it may be difficult to figure out when that is but over time, with practice, it will become easier and easier, and soon you will have the c-bet mastered! To put this advice into action take advantage of our exclusive sign-up bonuses and get yourself in the game!

Specially heads up you need to dare a check with good hands. I disagree with Sammy. Very easy read- clear and concise. Good article for the beginning poker player. As mentioned before, the goal here is to value bet in a way that convinces your opponent to contribute the maximum amount while staying in the hand. You c-bet half the pot and have two chances at high pairs.

You c-bet three-fourths the pot in hopes of getting your opponent to call. Prior to the mids, there were a number of inexperienced poker players who would fall for c-bets no matter what. Back then, making c-bets on a regular basis was very profitable for skilled players. But modern live and online poker players are much better. The reason why is because you can easily find strategy anywhere on the internet and get up to speed with skilled grinders.

That said, more poker players these days know of and are using continuation betting. But the problem is that too many players are abusing this move. Because of this, some players have started to question if continuation betting is still valuable in the modern poker game. The truth is that c-betting is still a great move, but you have to know when to use it.

Earlier I described how you can c-bet both wet and dry flops. But the latter definitely presents the best conditions for c-betting, because you have a stronger chance to force your opponent into folding. Examples of dry boards that are ripe for c-betting include:. The good thing about these boards is that they make it possible to have a strong pair. They also minimize the chance that your opponent has connected on the flop. If they call and improve their hand on the turn or river, you can at least see their raises coming in case you miss on future streets.

You can evaluate whether you actually think the opponent hit a flush based on their tendencies. If they likely did, you can get out of the hand with no additional cost. But it helps to actually have some outs when this does happen. But you should especially target tight-aggressive TAG players, who are more likely to fold to these bets. TAG is a good strategy to employ as a beginner, because you minimize risk this way and only play strong cards.

An even better type of player to use continuation bets on is a tight-passive opponent. These programs offer statistics on how often your opponent folds to a c-bet. More players remaining in the hand means that there are additional chances somebody will connect on the flop.

This means that the fold equity you gained preflop is diminished greatly. But you should wait until you have the perfect opponents, board texture, and table dynamic.

Calling stations, or players who will call just about any raise, are the worst to try and continuation bet against. In these cases, you can plan on both a continuation and turn raise to force a fold. Earlier I discussed why having position is so helpful when continuation betting. They can call you and put you in an uncomfortable position on the turn. Or they could be a highly aggressive player who re-raises you with any pair. Poker players lose most of their money when playing out of position.

That said, you want to minimize these losses by c-betting less frequently in these situations. Sometimes you can force an opponent out by raising enough to give them bad pot odds. But this threat is diminished when you constantly raise on the flop. Did they watch you c-bet and check-call to the river, where you lost with a low pair?

This is where range balancing, or the process of making the same plays with a wide range of hands, comes into play. One example of range balancing is making a half-sized to full-sized pot bet based on board texture. Much like calling stations, aggressive opponents are bad to c-bet against. An aggressive opponent is instead better to check-raise when you have a strong hand and are out of position. You can also simply call them and start building the pot on future streets. This is an amateur move that will quickly be spotted by experienced players.