When to Use Continuation Betting Strategy in Poker

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C-betting means raising pre-flop and then betting post-flop instead of checking. It should not be used very often, and in the right place at the right time. In this article, we explain some of the basics of continuation betting. Like when you should use it, and when you shouldn’t.

When is c-betting good?

Now let’s see scenarios when you should use c-betting because you can get away with it, either profitably or without much loss.

On a dry flop

A dry flop is the best time to c-bet, especially with high cards, because there is very low possibility of your opponent hitting something. A dry flop is one where the cards are not connected or close for a straight draw, or of the same suit to give your opponent a flush draw. Usually, it is one high card with two low cards, like Kd, 3s, 8h. It’s unlikely to get a raise on such a board. If your opponent is just calling your bets, then chances are they will fold if your c-betting looks like you’ve hit a higher pair.

In position

When you are playing in position, you have the advantage of observing your opponents’ betting patterns. This helps you make better betting decisions. If you are playing against a tricky opponent who calls you more often, then playing out of position will prove disadvantageous. If you keep raising pre-flop and then folding bets post flop or on the turn, your opponents will take advantage of this. They will raise on the board and take your money. Hence, c-betting is always more profitable and effective in position.

Against fewer players

The more players that are in the hand, the more are the chances of you losing. Use c-betting only when you have one or two callers, not more. A c-bet is a mini bluff, which gives you the advantage of having most opponents with smaller cards fold out owing to your raise. If there are more players in the hand, there are greater chances of your bets being called. In such a case, read the board, see what your opponents are making and if you don’t hit anything, just fold.

When should c-betting be avoided?

Now let’s take a look at the scenarios when you should NOT c-bet.

Against calling stations

Calling stations are one of the most dangerous kinds of opponents to have. They have absolutely no strategy, and play all hands and call all bets. Most of the time, they get lucky, much to the disdain of serious players. If you find yourself up against a calling station, then do not keep betting if you have totally missed the flop. Chances are the donk is playing on cards that are fold-worthy, and luckily hits something.

Wet boards

Boards that have connectors or close cards or suited cards are not good for c-betting (at least high). Especially ones with middle cards because pre-flop calls with middle-value connectors are not as uncommon as you’d like. Flops that almost always give your opponent a strong hand are called wet flops. If you haven’t hit anything here, just check or fold. Don’t lose more money. Observe the board and your opponent’s betting pattern and then make a decision.

Don’t make it a habit

C-betting all hands is not a good idea because it makes you predictable and decipherable. Once your opponent knows that this is your regular betting pattern, he will call you whenever he has something close to strong cards or a drawing hand. So don’t make it a theme. Just like bluffing, keep it for times when you desperately need to recover your stack or have something strong enough.

Continuation betting needs a strategy. These were just some of the basics. Do a little more research, play a little more poker and you will get a better hang of how to use it during game play. Remember that it is finally subjective; although there’s data available, at that moment it is you who needs to make the decision. Ensure that you are prepared.

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