Continuation bet. What is a c-bet and when should you continuation bet
A continuation bet, also called c-bet, is a tactical and often profitable poker move. It is part of each experienced poker player’s arsenal. In this article we will explain what a continuation bet is and why you should apply it.
What is a continuation bet in poker
A continuation bet is a bet on the flop from the player who has made the last raise preflop. Hence, the preflop raiser continues to be aggressive on the flop.
Online the term is often abbreviated to c-bet. It applies to poker variants in which community cards are used such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Continuation betting was first introduced by 2+2 writers like David Sklansky already quite some time ago and therefore this concept is known by most poker players.
In the following video you can view an example of a continuation bet.
Scott Seiver Is the player who has made the last preflop raise and bets in the flop. Therefore it is a continuation bet.
Why is a continuation bet a good move
A c-bet is often a profitable move. Other players perceive that the preflop raiser frequently has a relative strong hand.
In Hold’em Poker the odds that you hit the board with 2 unpaired cards is around 30%. So, the odds that you miss the board is around 70%. So if you are heads up on the flop with one opponent, he will more often have missed the flop than hit the flop. Consequently against opponents who are weak and only play their own cards, you can often pick up the pot with a bet on the flop. In a weak game where both players have missed the flop, the first one to bet will often win the pot and that’s the reasons behind the success of continuation betting. Your bets don’t always have to work to be profitable. If you for example bet 2/3rd pot and your opponent fold 2/3rd of the times, you will make a huge profit in the long run.
When to continuation bet
Many of your opponents will probably know what a c-bet is and might play against you if you c-bet very often. If you face more skilled poker players it becomes more difficult to apply a winning continuation bet strategy.
Take the following variables into account when placing a continuation bet.
- Number of players in the pot. If you are playing heads up, then the odds that your continuation bet is successful are higher than you are facing more players.
- Board texture. Does the flop connect to your hand range? As a preflop raiser, your hand range is perceived relative strong. If the flop comes ace or king high, than this connects more your hand range than if the flop comes for example 9,8,7. C-betting on an ace or king high flop is therefore more profitable than c-betting on the second flop.
- Your opponents. Do you face an opponent that mainly plays his own cards? Then you should continuation bet very often, since your opponent most often will miss the flop and will fold to your bet on the flop. Is your opponent more skilled and does he tend to play back if you c-bet a lot? Then it might be better to c-bet less.
- Playing in position is easier than playing out of position. C-betting in position is therefore for your opponent more difficult to play against.
Other benefits of a c-bet
Until now the theory of why a c-bet is a winning poker move is based opponents often missing the flop and folding (too) much. Continuation bets have however more advantages.
- By c-betting a certain percentage you will keep your hand range balanced. This makes you harder to play against. If a player only bets when he hits the flop and checks when he misses the flop, this player will be easily exploitable.
- If you hit the flop you want to build a pot. In this situation you hope your opponent(s) will call in order to win more money.
Bet sizing continuation bet
Your bet size is also a factor that impacts the profitability of your c-betting strategy. Ideally your bet sizes are consistent and not correlated to your hand strength. The advantage of smaller bet sizes is that your opponents have to fold less in order for your c-bet to be profitable. The advantage of bigger bet sizes is that your opponents tend to call less.
In live games smaller bet sizes tend to work better as the relative bet size (to the pot) is less clear than online, especially for recreational live players. You might even get away with applying different bet sizes for your continuation bet in recreational live games.
This article offers the basic strategy for c-betting. If you face more skilled players, you will have to develop a more refined, granular c-betting strategy.