Continuation Betting Strategy In Poker (or C Bet)

Continuation Betting Strategy In Poker (or C Bet)

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Poker is fraught with mind games, and the continuation bet is one of the best tools in a poker player’s arsenal to play this game. It gives them a chance to trick the opponents into cursing their luck, while the truth is that the player taking the continuation bet barely has his luck playing in his favour. Endowed with its fair share of risk, the continuation bet is a double-edged sword that must be employed with great care and stratagem. Read on to learn more about this interesting tool professional poker players use.

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What Does A Continuation Bet Mean?

A continuation bet, or a c-bet, is when the player follows up the preflop raise with a bet on the flop. It is a mini bluff encashing the fold equity that the player has gained during preflop. It does not matter if the player hits the flop, but it is more about taking advantage of the initiative by being the preflop and the flop aggressor. This often gets the opponent to fold or forfeit the pot due to the aggressive stance taken by the player. These bets are quite successful, as most poker hands often miss the flop.

Purpose Of A Continuation Bet

The goal is to win the pot immediately and bag all of the dead money by attacking the opponent regardless of the player's holding.

On a micro level, the motivation to c-bet could be for protection, value or bluffing. If it is for bluffing, then it makes sense to employ the c-bet if you can ensure the opponent can fold better hands than yours. Value betting is when you get a player with a worse hand to fold.

When Must A Player C-Bet?

In the face of continued aggression from a player, most weak players will fold, adding value to the player with all the dead money in the pot. But mindless aggression will alert the opponents about your façade, and they will likely catch you in the act. Repeated acts in the same game leave a wide gap for exploitation by other players.

The odds have been mathematically calculated to be as follows –

  • Winning the pot with a c-bet is almost 100% when heads up.
  • Winning the pot with a c-bet is 50% when against two players.
  • Winning the pot with a c-bet is 25% when against three players.
  • If there are four or more players, it is better to hit the flop before risking this, as a check is highly probable.

Optimal Conditions For Applying The C-Bet

a. Boards with aces and kings

These are ideal for placing a c-bet, as most opponents will play with the belief that they have hit the preflop raiser.

b. Flops that are unlikely to help the opponent

These are ideal for c-betting as he knows his weaknesses and would rather fold than risk them.

When Must The Player Avoid A C-Bet?

  • If there is a high probability that the opponents on the table will call your cards, then avoid the c-bet. If your opponent hits the flop, they are more likely to call. Remember your opponent’s perceived range before resorting to a continuation bet.
  • If the flop comes down with umpteen numbers of draws, the player should check rather than use the c-bet.
  • If you are up against a calling station, do not use the c-bet as a thumb rule.
  • They avoid placing a continuation bet if you are not in a position.
  • If ia tricky opponent calls your preflop raise in positionnt; you should avoid continuation bets.
  • With more opponents, the likelihood of getting checked is higher. Therefore, it is best to avoid continuing betting in such a circumstance.

How Much Should You Put At Stake In A C-Bet?

The optimal amount to place the c-bet at depends on each game. But it must be high enough to get the opponent to fold but low enough to prevent the player from putting too many chips at stake. Usually, the c-bets and value bets are of the same quantum, as variations in the same might give away the player’s position to their opponents.

Experts opine that the ideal quantum would be two thirds of the pot flop bet due to three main reasons –

a. It is economical and would not result in any information leak;

b. It will be enough to start building the pot when you have a really good hand;

c. It will be more than enough to collect the dead money.

Some considerations that must be factored in are – the stack size, the opponent’s playing tendencies, and one’s table image while deciding the amount to be placed as the continuation bet.

Double And Triple Barrelling

After one c-bets, one may follow it up in the turn or river with more bets. This is known as a double or triple barrel bluff. To illustrate, if you raise the preflop, got one caller and bet the flop, turn and river, with your opponent calling each time, that would be a triple barrel. This strategy, however, is unsuitable for weak games.

Countering A Continuation Bet

Reverse engineering is how a player can decide whether his opponent is playing him. The following questions must be raised to ascertain that –

a. do they regularly c-bet? If so, does their bet warrant a call from your side? Does your hand permit you to take that call?

b. Is your opponent trying to steal the pot? If so, should you raise, call, or fold?

Observe to understand your opponent’s play and motives. Try to discern patterns in their play and make decisions based on the information gathered.

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Just To Wrap It All Up

As a preflop raiser, it is an excellent opportunity to use a continuation bet and collect the dead money your opponent misses. But do so with utmost caution and choose the games you want to apply wisely.

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What Is A Continuation Bet In Poker?

  • A continuation bet, often abbreviated as c-bet, is when a player who raised pre-flop continues their aggression by betting again on the flop.

What Is The C-Betting Strategy?

  • The c-betting strategy involves betting on the flop after raising pre-flop, aiming to maintain aggression and represent a strong hand.

How Often Should You Fold To C-Bet?

  • The frequency of folding to a c-bet depends on various factors such as board texture, opponent tendencies, and your own hand strength. Generally, folding too often can make you exploitable, so it's essential to mix in calls and raises strategically.

What Is A Good C-Bet Percentage?

  • A good c-bet percentage varies based on the game type, opponents, and dynamics. However, typically a c-bet percentage ranging from 60% to 80% is considered effective in most situations.

Should You Always C-Bet?

  • No, you should not always c-bet. While continuation betting can be a powerful tool, it's essential to consider factors such as board texture, opponent tendencies, and your own hand strength before deciding to c-bet. Adapting to the specific situation is key in poker.
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