Continuation Bet – The Do’s and Don’ts

continuation bet

What is a Continuation Bet?

A continuation bet is where you have raised before the flop and bet again on the flop. You’ve “continued” betting, hence continuation bet. This is also known as “C betting”. The continuation bet is necessary tool in a poker player’s arsenal. Without it, they will win fewer pots and gain less information on the cards their opponents are holding. Now you know what it is, we will outline the do’s and don’ts of continuation betting.

Do’s

Heads upIt’s much easier for a continuation bet to get through in heads up pots. Your opponent will only flop a pair 1 in 3 times so this makes a flop bet very profitable in the long run.
In positionContinuation betting is pretty much mandatory if checked to you in position. You can put players under pressure far more easily than if you are out of position.
Against fit or fold playersIt’s easy to continuation bet against players that are only playing the cards in their hand. They don’t care if the board is 2-3-9 and hits none of your range. They will still fold if they have nothing, so feel free to continuation bet.
Big card flopsThe flops with an ace or high card are far easier to continuation bet and get through because they hit your perceived range. Who care if you have pocket 3s? They don’t know that.
Dry flopsFlops like K-2-8 are easier to continuation bet due to the lack of flush and straight draws. It reduces the chances your opponent has anything and makes a continuation bet more likely to work.
When you have “it”If you have the hand, fire away too. There’s no use only continuation betting with air or overcards. You want to build the pot and get value so start putting money in on the flop.

Don’ts

MultiwaySimple statistics dictate the more players involved in a pot, the stronger the hand you need to win it. Player’s don’t like folding so if you elect to continuation bet, be prepared to fire 3 bullets to win it.
Out of positionThis isn’t a golden rule, obviously there are many times out of position when you should be betting the flop. It’s tougher to fire continuation bets with success against tough players on some flops, they will float or re raise many flops if the board doesn’t hit your range.
Coordinated boardsThe boards with 3 of a suit or 3 in a row often prove difficult to get a c bet through. People’s ranges are not polarized either, they may be slow playing a monster, prudently playing 2 pair or 3 of a kind. They may just have the ace of the suit.
After lots of bluffsIt’s a tad ambitious to persist with continuation bets if you’ve been showing bluffs or caught bluffing. Tone it down for a while if you have because people will be looking you up.

How Often Should I Continuation Bet?

It depends on the makeup of your table but you should be looking to continuation the majority of the time, particularly heads up. A rough guide below:

Heads up65%
3 Way45%
More than 3 players involved20%

Continuation Bet Sizing

Generally in tournament you want to bet a little less than you may in cash games. I think continuation betting between 49-52% is fine.Cash games afford more flexibility with deeper stack sizes. You are also keen to enforce errors later in the hand and narrow hands down easier. Therefore, continuation betting should be a little larger, between 56-62%.

Conclusion

There’s no way around it, if you want to win at poker, you’ll need to learn how to continuation bet well. To not know about continuation betting is akin to a golfer not knowing about his 9-iron golf club. It’s one of the most important skills to acquire for both cash games and tournaments.