Continuation Bets

Continuation bets are one of the most talked about topics in
all of poker. Of course, a frequently talked about topic doesn’t necessarily mean that the content is understood. Players
know how to make c-bets and most understand their general functionality, but
it’s difficult to spot players who know how to effectively
implement them on a regular basis. Continuation bets are like
most other elements in poker in that timing is everything. A
perfect c-bet with A7s could be great in one spot and terrible
in another. Your position, hand, the board and more are all
going to come into play when you are deciding how to play the

Pre-flop play is going to be one of the biggest pieces of
information that anyone has going forward in a hand. Because of
this, you need to be able to craft your c-bets to match the
story that you were telling before the flop came. If your
opponent thinks you have a middle pair, a flop with three big
cards isn’t to your benefit. If your opponent thinks you have
big cards and the flop comes AKQ, you can fire away. Gathering
all of the information available to you pre-flop is the first
step towards successful post-flop play.


Position seems like an awfully common theme in poker, doesn’t
it? That’s because it is, and your position will very frequently
be the difference between whether you should or should not make
a move. If you are out of position, it’s usually going to make
more sense to c-bet than when you are in position. The reason
for this is that you’ll be handcuffed if you check to a player
and they fire a bet. Being out of position will cripple you
because you won’t know how to react, especially when you
don’t have a made hand.

Let’s say that you have AQ. You make an open raise and get
called by one or two players. You are out of position for the
entirety of the hand. The flop comes 389. Now, is this a good
spot to c-bet? The first thing you need to do is to determine
what you think your opponents are likely to be holding. If you
have them on JK/QK type hands, you are ahead and will likely
force folds. If you put them on any pairs, you are likely to get
calls. Because of the board, checking here would usually be your
best play. Most players with small/middle pairs will check back
or they will call your bet, so betting doesn’t work unless you
catch a card.

Using this same example, pretend that you were
in position. The other player(s) checked to you, and it’s
now your turn to act with AQ on a 389 board. In this spot,
betting would make more sense. You can get a feel for where your
opponent is at, they are likely to check down the rest of the
way with a hand like 6s, and you can get easier folds from
unmade hands. While you are probably still ahead, the
combination of saved money from middle pairs and guaranteed
money from unmade hands will make a bet profitable. Position
should always be in the back of your head when thinking about
continuation betting.


The hand that you are actually playing is also going to
matter more than you might think. Even when you totally brick
with a hand like AJ you will still have a decent shot of winning
at showdown. Think of all of the hands that could call a raise
pre-flop from middle position suited hands, JK/QK/AT, and so on
and so forth. If you miss the board, there’s a decent chance
that they did as well. Knowing this, checking down will be a
cost effective way to ensure that you aren’t risking any more
money while also allowing yourself the opportunity to win the

One thing that you need to know about hand strength and
continuation betting is that it tends to matter the most with
bigger hands.

If you are playing a suited connector and totally
missed the flop, you can’t realistically hope to win at showdown
without improving. For this reason, c-betting with a hand that
has less showdown value will make more sense. It’s better to
take a stab at a pot with a weak hand than it is to go to
showdown with nothing, provided that you think your bet will
have a decent shot of getting a fold from your opponent(s).


The board may be the single biggest factor that players tend
to ignore the most. They think about continuation bets and are
aware of their value, but they completely disregard when they
make sense to put into play. You can’t blindly fire c-bets and
expect them to work just because you followed up a pre-flop
raise with a bet on the flop. It just doesn’t work this way.

There are a few different things that you should be taking
into account when looking at the board.

  1. First, did you miss, and
    if so, what chances of improvement do you have. Second, is this
    board likely to have hit my opponent’s range. Third, is the
    board draw heavy. Once you have these three crucial elements
    outlined, you’ll be in a much better position to make the best
    move possible.

    If you missed the board completely, you should be more
    inclined to make a continuation bet. Unless you are drawing to a
    ton of cards (which wouldn’t imply that you missed the board at
    all), you should try to take down the pot as fast as you can.
  2. Now, if you are about to place a bet, take a second to think
    about whether the flop is likely to have helped your opponent.
    If you feel like it missed them as well, you could not be in any
    better position to fire a continuation bet.
  3. The third element in
    possible draws will just increase or decrease the likelihood of
    a fold. If the flop comes with three of one suit or 567 etc.,
    you know that there’s an increased chance that your opponent is
    going to call any bet. If you can effectively mix these three
    facets of the board, you’ll be able to better pick your
    c-betting spots.

Who Not to C-Bet

The majority of players, at least online, will be OK to
continuation bet against. The players that you don’t want to
c-bet at any time are those who would fall into the calling
station category. A calling station is illustrated by their
name. Since your objective is to force a fold, you’ll almost
always be wasting your time in betting with nothing. By that
same token, however, you’ll be able to squeeze these players
for the absolute max value possible. Don’t try to get a player
to fold who doesn’t have an interest in anything other than the
next card.