In this edition of Poker Jargon Explained, we take a look at the continuation bet. Whether you play online poker cash games or are tournament player, you will make or be confronted with C-bets on a regular basis.
Today, we will explain to you what a continuation bet is, why you should make them and give you a simple strategy for making them.
What is a Continuation Bet?
A continuation bet, also known as a C-bet, is when a pre-flop raiser makes an opening bet on the flop in Texas Hold’em online poker. For example, a player from the button raises and is called by both blinds. After the flop is dealt, action is checked to the button and that player bets.
The continuation bet is one of the most standard plays that you will see on the flop by a pre-flop raiser. Its purpose is to win the pot immediately on the flop or force your opponent to further define their hand.
Simple Continuation Bet Strategy
When deciding whether to make a continuation bet on the flop, considering the following things:
- Number of opponents
- Your position
- The texture of the board
- Your range and likely opponent range
First, let’s address number of opponents and position. The more players you’re seeing a flop against, the more likely that a continuation bet will not work. With more than two players in the pot against you, you will want to C-bet as little as 25% as opposed to heads-up where you want to almost always C-bet.
As far as position, you want to be in position when you C-Bet. Let’s change the earlier example and have you raising from UTG+2. Then a player from the button and the big blind calls. This is a dicey spot to C-bet as you have the button player to contend with. If you C-bet and call, do you have a hand to continue firing on the turn and river?
Next, what’s your board texture? Continuation bets are better on dry flops. If the flop falls something along the lines of Ks-Js-8h, this is a tough board to C-bet. Adversely, a board of 2c-7d-10s is a much better board to C-bet.
Finally, what is the range of your opponents versus the range that you’re opponents are putting you on. Did that flop possibly just hit their hand or do they have a tighter hand range. Are your opponents calling stations that are likely to call your bet? Have you mostly shown big hands or hands with big pairs? The king high flop mentioned earlier might be something that would hit you and that’s a board to bet.
What Happens When You Get Called?
The result you’re trying to avoid in most cases is having your opponent call you on the flop. While this article isn’t about turn play, we felt that addressing what happens next should be mentioned. When your C-bet is called, you need to reevaluate everything all over again. This time, a couple of obvious factors are added:
- What’s the strength of your hand and what are your outs (if needed)
- Number of opponents
- Your position
- The texture of the board on the turn
- What did your opponent call you with
- Do you take a free card or fire again?
With your opponent calling you on the flop, this can help you define their hand and put them on a better range of what they are likely holding. Did the turn improve the texture of the board for your opponent or help your range?
At this point, your hand strength and outs to improve on the river will help you decide whether to make another stab at the hand or maybe take a free card.
To Fold or Not to Fold – That is Their Question
When you continuation bet, you are trying to force your opponents to give up their hand on the flop without further confrontation. Failing to make continuation bets on the flop will quickly signal your opponents that you’re only a threat with a big hand and they will start playing back at your either pre-flop or start attacking you after the flop.
When you C-bet, the pressure is now on your opponent to decide whether this is the hand they want to play for a big pot with or if it is time to move on to the next hand. In many instances, they will fold because the flop will miss us more times than it helps us. When they don’t, you have gained information that will help you on future streets.