Talking Poker: Continuation Betting
Each week, the Talking Poker series will highlight a particular poker term. We’ll give you a clear, to-the-point definition of the term and an example of the strategic concept to which it refers, so that you can start using the term and implementing the related strategy into your game. This week we will be focusing on continuation bets.
A continuation bet is a bet made by a player after having raised on the previous round of betting. It is most commonly used in no-limit hold’em as the bet on the flop made by the player who last raised preflop. The player with the last aggression preflop “continues” the lead in the hand with this bet.
Hero raises in late position. The big blind calls. The flop is . The big blind checks, and the Hero bets, making a continuation bet.
When considering whether or not to continuation bet, you should consider the strength of your hand and the strength of your opponent’s range. The general rule for bet sizing when making a continuation bet or “c-bet” is to make your bet half the pot up to two-thirds of the pot. Where your bet falls in this range depends on what you want your opponent to do and how coordinated the board is.
If a flop has a lot of straight or flush possibilities, the board is considered coordinated because it is easier for your opponent to have hit a piece of it. On a “dry” board such as in the example (or in the photo above), it is much harder for the opponent to have hit it. That means you should be more inclined to continuation bet a dry board rather than a coordinated board.
Position and number of opponents should also be considered. It is less likely you will win the pot with a continuation bet when you are out of position because your opponents will call with a larger portion of their range. They will do this because they have the advantage of seeing you act first throughout the hand. Also, the more opponents you have, the bigger their combined range is, making it more likely that one of them hit a piece of the board and would like to continue in the hand.
Read and Learn
For more discussion of continuation betting that ably covers several do’s and dont’s, check out Stuart Rutter’s article from the PokerNews Strategy Vault, “Poker Strategy: Keeping the Control in Hold’em — The Continuation Bet.”