• Poker Stars

    horse poker

  • When To Use Continuation Bets In No Limit Texas Holdem

    continuation bet holdemNo limit Texas Holdem is included in Holdem Mixed and 8-Game Poker mix so I had a buddy (semi-pro NL Holdem player) write some advanced NL Holdem strategy articles. A continuation bet (also known as a ‘c-bet’) is simply a flop bet fired by a player who also raised preflop. The original raiser ‘continues’ his preflop aggression by firing again on the flop- hence the term, continuation bet. The continuation bet is a concept so elusive that very few players ever figure out how to properly use it. If you ask a table of 10 poker players what their biggest leak is, at least 8 of them will probably say “I c-bet too much,” or “I never know when to c-bet.”

    It’s not necessarily rocket science, but it’s not easy, either. Knowing when to c-bet requires careful analysis of a hand’s context; board texture, player types, number of opponents, and previous action are all important factors to consider when deciding whether or not to fire a barrel. Every situation is different, and all require critical thought. Luckily, c-bet situations can be loosely categorized so as to give you a good idea of how to play in common spots.

    In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at how to analyze 6 different scenarios in which you might find yourself faced with a c-bet situation:

    1. Against a tight player.
    2. Against a passive player.
    3. Against a loose/aggressive or tricky player.
    4. In multi-way pots.
    5. On coordinated, or ‘wet flops.
    6. On uncoordinated, or ‘dry’ flops.

    Against a tight player:

    When you miss your hand, you can still c-bet most of the time against this player type. More often than not, a tight player calling a raise preflop has some sort of marginal hand, such as a small pocket pair or more often a KQ, AT type of hand. They will 3-bet the top part of their range, and will fold speculative holdings like suited connectors. As long as the flop misses the obvious broadway cards, you can c-bet every time, and usually you will take down the pot.

    Against a passive player:

    You need to be a bit more careful against calling stations. Why? Because they’re most likely going to call a flop bet regardless of what they have, and you aren’t playing poker to burn money. A c-bet against a passive player rarely takes down the pot, and rarely reveals any information about their hand- it’s almost counterproductive. If you flop some sort of draw, go for a c-bet to drive the pot. Otherwise, avoid a c-bet against these types of players especially on missed draw-heavy boards, as a lot of the time the player will have caught some weird piece of them.

    Against a loose/aggressive or tricky player:

    C-bet when it makes sense to do so given the line you’ve taken against a skilled opponent. If the board comes full of broadway cards, you can usually represent a believably decent hand that most likely has a LAG beat. A c-bet with KQ on an A-5-4 rainbow board, for instance, will usually take down a pot against a tricky player. On the other hand, if you try to c-bet AK on a 2-5-9 twotone board, you will likely either get floated or raised, neither of which you particularly want to deal with. Similarly, if you try to c-bet AK on a 6-7-8 twotone flop, you’re asking for trouble. Lay low against loose/aggressive players, and wait until you hit a decent hand. They’ll pay you off eventually.

    In multi-way pots:

    C-betting into pots facing 2 or more opponents is generally bad news. You’ve probably heard the guideline: 2/3rds of the time, your opponent’s hand misses the flop. Well, when there are three of you in the pot, and you miss the board- guess what? Someone else probably hit. It’s best to step aside in multi-way pots and hope for a free card, or a cheap showdown. You’ll rarely be able to take these pots down without resistance.

    On coordinated, or ‘wet’ flops:

    The more players with you in the pot, the worse of an idea it is to c-bet into a wet board. Say for example you hold AQo, and the flop comes 7-8-9 twotone. This board hates your hand, and especially with more than one opponent, you should refrain from c-betting. I would recommend exercising caution on wet boards even with only one opponent, unless you have reads that help you.

    On uncoordinated, or ‘dry’ flops:

    Go all out, especially if you have reads. Dry boards are hard to hit, and more often than not your opponent will miss them. Note that you should still be careful in multi-way pots, and against LAG/tricky opponents. Against tight players, you will almost always take down dry flop pots, and against passive players, it’s a good bet.