#4 - Continuation Betting

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  Continuation betting One thing when I first started playing poker that I noticed I did not have a good grasp on was betting, particularly continuation betting. Most of this post may be trivial to most but it may be helpful to some, or even just a good reminder to most Why continuation bet???  Well that answer is easy. In a heads up pot any random hand will miss the flop 2/3 of the time. So if we continuation bet at all of the pots we raise we should win at least 2/3 of them  just because the other person hasnt made a hand, let alone made a hand strong enough to call us down with. How much should my continuation bet be???  That question depends on a few different factors. I will try to go through a few different examples to describe my meaning. Well its standard to PFR 4xBB + 1 for each limper. For the time being I would like to keep our post flop to heads up play. In the CO we hold AKo, so we came in for our 4xBB + 1 for one limper and we were called by the BB only. Lets assume our villain in this example plays a semi TAG game at 18/6/1.5. The flop comes 9 4 2 . It is very unlikely that this flop has helped our vilain unless he has 99, 44, or 22. his 18% range is much wider then these 3 hands and we are ahead of almost all of them. We would always come out for a C-Bet in this spot when checked to. #1 reason is to protect what is most likely the best hand at this point. If any further action is pursued then we can readjust our read and make the appropriate play. #2 reason is more of a semi bluff in which we are representing a hand which is stronger then ours really is. (this example will come into play more in a later example) Well I just read all this crap about why I should bet and this part was supposed to be about how much I should bet. Well I felt that getting that part out of the way was very relevant to how much we should bet. On a flop like this it is very drawless against this villain. it is unlikely that he holds 53 for an openender and there are no flush draws out. Our bet sizing does not need to be full pot here. This way we save money when we actually are behind. We only need to bet an amount that we feel is enough to get the job done . In our AK example our job is to get villain to fold. If we feel that 1/2-3/4 PSB is the right amount then that is the amount we should bet; no more, no less. Now lets take the same villain and change our flop around. We still hold AKo in the CO and he is still in the BB. If we say the flop is 10 9 4 now we have a different situation to face. This board has become draw heavy as there are POSSIBLE   flush draws and straight draws on board. Now our villains 18% has become much larger in possible holdings that can outdraw us. We likely are still ahead of his holdings so here we are betting for protection and value. If our villain is drawing to a flush or straight we want him to pay the most he possibly will while doing it unprofitably. If he is willing to call a PSB on the flop with an OESD then we need to make a PSB. (For simplicity's sake im negating the fact that villains possible QJ are also live outs against our AK here). By making a PSB villain loses the most when he does not outdraw us and he was willing to put more money in post flop because how the flop had  helped him. All continuation bets should be no less then 1/2 PSB to no more then full pot. Well I followed your advice but every continuation bet I make gets check raised or called and we chek down  This is ok. A continuation bet is a small bluff and from time to time they will get picked off. This is actually the beauty in a continuation bet (to be discussed later). Sometiems your villain will hit a flop and check raise you. It is then your decision to step back and play poker with AK on the 942r board. Go with your feel. Is there a time when I shouldn't be C-Betting  YES. We do not want to be C-betting in a few different spots. #1 We do not want to be C-betting OOP in multiway pots. We still have a villain left to act behind us and we have no idea where they stand with this flop because they have no acted yet. #2 We hold a hand such as AA and the flop is KQJ. if we have our previous semi TAG villain it is very likely that this flop has helped him in a big way and we need to get our hand to show down as cheaply as possible so we would not want to continuation bet here. #3 A good quote from jjb108 This is an important point to remember…the average donk plays Axo. Why semibluff the donks with an OESD or FD with when you know they’ll call with their TP and better kicker? IMO an A on the flop means that FE can quickly approach 0. The semi-bluff in this situation can be –EV IMO. This quote in our context I'm not only applying to a semi bluffing hand such as a FD or OESD. If we have notes on a villain that says plays any ace from any position in raised or unraised pots then our KQ which we raised from MP should be wary when this villain calls and an ace flops. Opponent dependent and note dependent I will sometimes not C-bet against this villain. I play a semi LAG stayle and love raising SC's so what to do on the flop when I miss?  A continuation bet is also a stone cold bluff as much as it can be a semi bluff or a bet for value against a worse hand. We represented that we had a big hand preflop when we raised so most of the time (again opponent dependent) if I am raising SC's preflop I will be betting them on the flop. C-betting becomes espically important with SC's when we flop our draws. Say we raise 67 4xBB from the button and are called by BB. If villain holds a weak Ace and we flop a flush draw and lead for a 1/2-3/4 PSB on a A 10 2 and are called(say we are playing 25NL) The pot was 2$ on the flop and now between 4-5$ on the turn. Villain will most likely check his weak ace to us for fear of being outkicked/FPS with top pair. We have now bought ourselves a free card on the turn should we need it to complete a draw we may have flopped. Well it seems my C-bets keep getting called and i havent been improving. Should I stop C-betting for a few hands?  The answer here may be yes for some reasons such as an incorrect perception of a player.  When up against a calling station we do not need to C-bet bluff because he will be calling us down. Against this opponent we need to C-bet when we actually make a hand and have him pay us off with many worse hands. Aside from this aspect my main reason to keep C-betting (which I fail to do sometimes when Im running bad) is to set up for later hands. Villain 3 times in a row picked off my AKo C-bet on a Q72r flop. By this time he has me pegged as a bluffer. When we come in for a raise with a PP and flop a set and lead out when checked to it is very likely that said villain will be paying us off from the perception we have given him about us. This here is a double edged sword also. We need to keep C-betting to set our self up for later hands. The same is true when we actually flop a big hand. Reason 1: When we were betting before with AK high it may become very suspicious to some villains if we decide to check behind on a flop where we were checked to when we flop a monster hand. We need to keep portraying the image we have set up with them and bet into the pot. The pot gets big and hopefully said villain who thinks we are donkey of the year pays us off with a nice big 100BB's Reason 2: If we are unknown to villain and we C-bet with a flopped set or TPTK and get to showdown, the whole table sees that we are leading out with powerful hands and not trying to slowplay them. THIS IS THE BEST PART!! This way in the future our C-bets when we have nothing but air will be getting much more respect because of the hands that we have been leading out with! There are so many different reasons for C-betting given certain hands. Against the same Semi TAG villain from the previous examples; with AA on a 942r board we are betting for value since its alomst certain we have the best hand. With AK on the same board we are betting for protection since our hand is most likely the best but could easily be outdrawn. We need to look at our villain, as well as flop texture and size up the appropriate bet. When done correctly you can C-bet your way from one level to the next. There are obviously circumstances where it would be wrong to C-bet that I have not mentioned here but anyone who would like to add some or add some other ideas about C-betting that I did not touch upon please feel free, and I hope you all do!!!
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