Continuation Bets and Double Barrels in Live Poker

Continuation bets and double barrels are plays that should be
used in live poker, but not with as much vigor as they are
online. The main goal of both of these plays is to force folds,
and of course it’s rare to find a table in live poker that is
full of players who like to muck their hands. You’ll need to
know how to effectively pick your spots if you want a good
chance of becoming a success with these particular plays. The
good thing about c-bet and double barrels in live play is that
they tend to be more cut and dry than what you normally would
expect with these plays. Continue reading and learn how to work
these standard plays into your live poker repertoire.

The first thing that you should note is that double barrels
and continuation bets are very different from each other. A
c-bet is low risk with marginal return whereas a double barrel
is higher risk with an equally elevated return. If you are
taking the same basic approach to both of these plays, the odds
are that you are going to get yourself into trouble. You need to
be able to properly calculate just how much risk is worth taking
in any given situation. One of the biggest problem areas for
players is when they blindly fire double barrels with the same
casual approach that they apply to c-bets. Changing gears is
absolutely crucial in poker and it’s even more important when
you are betting without a made hand.

Continuation Bets

Continuation bets are almost always in reference to flop bets
that follow up a pre-flop raise or
re-raise. If the action was either limped pre-flop or capped
by you, a bet on the flop wouldn’t qualify as a c-bet according
to most people’s definition. The reason that continuation bets
work is because they are using an established aggressive image
to imply strength, even though it isn’t actually existent. If
you are placing c-bets that don’t make any sense given your
pre-flop play, you are going to end up with a much lower rate of

Double Barrels

Double barrels are when a player demonstrates aggression
pre-flop, on the flop, and also on the turn. A triple barrel is
simply an extension of this play where a bet is also made on the
river. Now, a double barrel is going to require a much more
precise read on an opponent than a continuation bet will. The
reason for this is because your opponent has already shown that
they are ready and willing to stay in the hand. If you got a
call on the flop, there’s a much increased chance that your
opponent is going to stay in til the river.

A double barrel is going to be much more reliant on the board
(community cards) than a continuation bet. The turn card will
often times be enough to scare a player off of their hand, or it
can mean that you should be slowing down. The longer that a hand
plays out, the more dynamics that are going to come into play.
Understanding this, we are going to now look at how and when to
place both c-bets and double barrels to the best of your

Understanding These Plays

There are three things that should be of the utmost
importance when placing a c-bet or a double barrel. First, you
need to know how much you are betting. Second, you should
consider how the flop and turn plays into your image. Third, you
should always be aware of the likelihood that your opponent will
fold. If you don’t have each of these under control, there’s a
much increased chance that you are going to get caught over and
over again.

Of these three elements, bet sizing is going to make the biggest difference in the
long run. You might get away with a mistake here and there, but
these small mistakes will add up to bigger mistakes when all is
said and done. Continuation bets in general will allow for
smaller bets than double barrels. The reason for this is that a
lot of players are ready to give up once they see the board.
Unless you bet an amount that’s exceptionally small, a player
who is weak won’t have any interest in continuing (unless they
want to make a play). For c-bets, your best strategy is to bet
around half the pot to three quarters of the pot. This is enough
to force reasonable folds while not wasting too much when you
are called or raised.

Double barrels are usually going to call for bigger bets
because they need to overcome a more significant hole. You need
to be really persuasive, even intimidating to get folds on the
turn. Players, especially live players, are much more apt to see
the next street if they already called a bet to see the current
one. It’s almost like they are sucked into a vortex where they
can’t find any way to fold. Use logic to determine how large of
a bet will be scary, but don’t go overboard in case you are up
against a monster. Usually, a bet should be larger on the turn
than it is on the flop, but you must be prepared to shut down on
the river.

The board itself will be much more relevant with double
barrels than it is with c-bets. Continuation bets are
practically a formality in that you should be making them a high
percentage of the time. Double barrels are a product of a
particular situation. While it would be incorrect to say that a
flop is totally irrelevant when continuation betting, it would
be fair to say that it doesn’t matter a whole lot.

The turn, however, is of great importance when double
barreling. For example, if you c-bet a low flop with a draw, you
could bet when a big card comes on the turn and the draw misses.
Not only is your opponent less interested if they had a draw and
missed, but they may very well also be scared that you paired on
the turn. The turn is where you’ll hear the term “scare card”
used the most, and it’s largely because of how much double
barrels benefit from them.

How your opponent plays is, again, going to be of more
importance when double barreling than when c-betting. The reason
is again because of the greater amount of money that is at
stake. With that being said, however, there are some players that
aren’t worth betting into no matter what (unless you have a made
hand). If you run into someone who you think is folding only on
rare occasions, a super small flop bet will do the job. If they
call a small one, they’ll probably call a larger one, so you’ll be wasting your money if you put any more on the line.

If a general rule needed to be created, it would say that
double barreling should only be done against competent players.
Why? Well because a competent player is going to have the
ability to lay down their hand. There are too many players
who will pay just about anything to see the river if they think
there’s any shot that they have the best hand. Now, you can use
this to your full advantage by value betting with big hands, but
double barreling into calling stations is akin to lighting money
on fire. First the situation needs to be such that a double
barrel is believable, but you also need to ensure that your
opponent is thinking enough to get out of the way. You could
make a perfect double barrel, but if your opponent is incapable
of laying down pocket twos, it isn’t going to matter a whole