The Continuation Bet

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Jeffrey | Poker Articles, Poker Strategy

Submitted by Adam, this article belongs to the Poker Strategy series.

Continuation betting
One of the most profitable and fundamental features of poker, including cash games and MTT strategy, is the continuation bet. Succinctly put, this is when you bet the flop regardless of the cards you hold, after raising preflop.

The continuation bet and its intrinsic value is based on the fact that your opponent(s) will miss the flop more often than not, so a continuation bet, usually of around half to a full pot sized bet, will make your opponents fold.  The stats are that 60% of the time your opponents will miss the flop; and this is where the value of continuation betting comes from.  Utilizing elements of the bluff, a continuation bet plays on the hands of your opponents, rather than the hands of yourself.  This means you’ll make money in the long run from continuation bets because your opponent won’t be able to call your bet unless he makes a hand.

When to Continuation Bet?
Some recommend that you should continuation bet 100% of flops in NL20 or below.  The reasoning is that your opponents are so poor that they won’t adapt, and won’t actually realise what you’re doing. They’ll simply assume you have a hand and fold if they have nothing.  The continuation bet is particular important, and should be ulitilised as often as possible, in hands where there are less than two opponents in the pot – this inevitably makes the continuation bet an important strategy in short-handed and heads up games.  Any more than two players in the pot will usually mean your chances of the bet working are low, because the odds are one of your opponents will have hit something – or be drawing to say the least.  In NL50 and above, it is recommended to limit the number of continuation bets you make because your opponent is cleverer and will hit back at you.

Best Flops the Continuation Bet On
This is a pertinent question.  As a player you have to remember that because you were the preflop raiser, there is a certain range of hands you must have – and as such there are flops you could have palpably missed or hit.  The best flops the continuation bet on are when you could easily have hit a big hand.  For example, Kxx could easily win you a pot with a continuation bet because this flop is one your opponents will give you credit for hitting.  Other flops worthwhile betting include those with 3 suited cards, Axx and a flop with a made pair.  A flop with 3 suited cards is a great flop to bet because your opponents needs a card of that suit to call – even if he’s hit something like top pair or two pair, because he could well already be beaten and it will be difficult for him to call.  A flop with an Ace or a made pair is also a good flop to continuation bet because you could have hit something, and it’s likely your opponents will have missed.

Worst Flops to Continuation Bet
The worst flops to continuation bet are those where it is either extremely unlikely you’ve hit something, or one where it’s very likely your opponent will have hit something.  Flops with connectors like 910J for example are very bad to continuation bet.  This is because there is a massive range of hands your opponents could have called with that could have made something here.  QK, 89 suited, A10 or even a single Q or 8 will propagate a call for pot odds.  Thus, unless you actually have something with outs that could beat a calling opponent, I wouldn’t recommend betting here.

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