This guide is for new players looking to understand the basics of continuation betting or the C bet.
When a pre-flop aggressor continues their aggression on the flop with a bet, this is referred to as continuation betting or in short, c-bet or c betting. Many times this is done regardless if the player has actually made a hand or not and can often win the pot uncontested.
Like most strategies however, many players mishandle or abuse this strategy and use it every time they were a pre flop aggressor. Well, as you can imagine there is bound to be a player or two, if not the whole table, that catches on and starts to call these c-bets. This of course defeats the purpose of the c-bet and can result in lots of money lost.
So with that in mind, we have come up with a few things that players should keep in mind when deciding whether to continuation bet on the flop or not.
Factors to Consider When C-Betting
Your Poker Table Image
A continuation bet is similar to bluffing and if you have been doing both quite frequently at your table, who is going to give you respect for potentially having a hand? Well, no one will.
It is important to think of the image that you are portraying to your opponents. If you have been very tight or tight aggressive, then it is more likely that a c-bet will work. On the other hand, if you are loose or maniacal, then your c-bet will be worth just as much as the cards you are trying to bluff with.
Poker Opponent’s Image
Aside from your own table image, it is equally important to consider the image or playing style of your opponent. Ideally, you will want to only continuation bet against players who are smart enough to lay down their hand if they feel they are beat. These players are generally tight or tight aggressive.
Players that you do not want to attempt a continuation bet against would be calling stations. They could care less that you were the pre-flop aggressor; they have something and want to go to showdown. Obviously, this is the exact opposite of what you want and you are only wasting money.
Loose aggressive players are more difficult because many times they will call a bet just to see the turn to try to improve their hand. Combined with the fact that they play a wider range of cards and this can prove to be a hairy situation. Against these types of players it is probably much better to check and see a free card to try to improve your own hand as opposed to making a bet and not knowing if you will be able to get them to fold or not.
Number of Player sat the Poker Table
When it is only you and one other player going to see a flop, it is very likely that you will both miss which will increase the likelihood of a continuation bet working. However, this is not the case with multiple opponents. The more players that are in the pot, the higher the chances that someone has caught a piece of the board. In these situations, it is just best to check-fold instead of creating an unnecessary risk.
Flop texture is important to consider when continuation betting simply because you have to keep in mind that your opponent called your raise pre-flop. Meaning, just because your hand may have bricked the flop does not automatically mean that their hand did.
So with that in mind, it is best to c-bet on rather dry boards such as 4-5-K, 10-2-6 or similar so that you can represent top pair or an over pair. If your opponent has caught a smaller piece of the flop, they will almost certainly have to let their hand go.
It is rather dangerous for obvious reasons to continuation bet on a board that is all connected, suited or full of high cards. More times often then not, your opponent will have made a hand and it will be difficult to push them off it if at all.
Another thing that should be noted is the fact that there needs to be a card or two on the board that makes sense. In other words, if the board is completely uncoordinated, say 2-4-6, it is very hard to get someone to believe that you connected with that flop. Just like attempting to bluff, your bluff needs to make a little sense to be creditable.
Everything is much easier in poker when you are in position. This also holds true for continuation bets. By being in position and being the pre-flop aggressor, it is more likely that your opponents will check it to you if they miss. Of course they could be slow playing their hand and decide to check raise you, but if they do that out of position you can then fold and get out of the way much cheaper then if the tables were turned.
Overall, being in position will allow you to have a better idea of the strength of your opponent’s hand, which in turn will allow you to decide if a c-bet is the way to go or not.
Learning How to C-Bet
Learning how to c-bet is very important and can become another money making tool in your poker weaponry. However, at the same time it is equally important to understand when and when not to make a c-bet so that over time, your continuation bets continue to win you easy pots uncontested as opposed to costing you chips.