Continuation Betting in No Limit Holdem

When you raise pre-flop and miss the flop in No Limit Holdem, particularly with AK/AQ type hands it can get you into all sorts of trouble. On missed flops in multi-way pots the value of AK can be worth nothing and by slow-playing them or simply check-calling you can end up losing a lot of chips. With AK you can be caught behind a range of hands including low pocket pairs, flush draws and straight draws, hence you need to be more aggressive and pro-active in your game.

It’s important that when you miss the flop with strong pre-flop hands you continue to keep the initiative in the hand and represent a lot of strength. This also makes you tougher to play against. Since you’re going to miss the flop over 60% of the time with AJ+ you need a Plan B in order to win back the pots that you’ve sunk money into. Hence, you can continuation bet the pot, or c-bet, in order to keep yourself ahead in the hand. By continuation betting, we are betting into missed flops after being the last pre-flop raiser.

One of the best things about continuation betting missed-flops is that we’re unlikely to get re-raised. Most opponents with a drawing type hand or mid-pair aren’t going to re-raise you in fear that you have the nuts or TPTK. And likewise, opponent’s tend to slow-play their made hands more especially when they hit the nut flush or straight on the flop. For example, if I hit a full house on the flop with A10 on a 10-10-A board than I’m not going to be check-raising opponents out of position and giving away too much information about the strength of my hand.

How Much to Continuation Bet

A standard c-bet should be around 50% -75% of the pot, depending of course on the quality and table image of your opponents. Weak TAG opponents at the micro-stakes games will fold more easily when they’re behind so you only need to bet about 50% to push them off the pot. Your typical more aggressive opponents or “LAGs” on other hand will not fold so easily, so you need to be more willing to raise 75% or sometimes even up to 100% of the pot. Just remember that you only have to be successful 1/3 times for a half-pot continuation bet to break even.

When to Continuation Bet

Continuation betting works best against weak TAG players who easily on the flop. For example, if a TAG calls your pre-flop raise with 66 and the board brings AQ8 than he’s probably folding to a lot of your c-bets. A caveat with c-betting TAGs however is that because they are only calling raises with premium hands they are actually more likely to hit something big on the flop such as TPTK. This is why it’s important to understand which flops are the best for continuation betting. If you’re familiar with poker HUD software than you can identify a regular TAG by a 15/10 (VPIP/PFR %) where as LAG’s tend to have a 30/26 HUD stat figures.

By far the best flops to continuation bet are dry boards that bring rainbow and unconnected cards e.g. A28 or Q52. These are great for continuation betting because they’re exceptionally hard for your opponents to hit and make a good hand with. You’ll notice that there are not straight/flush draw possibilities making it harder for your opponent to call you, plus by bluffing these boards you give yourself a pretty strong hand range.

Generally speaking, the “wetter” the flop, the more unprofitable it is to continuation bet. The worst board to continuation bet are those that give your opponents a good chance of connecting i.e. cards that will square up nicely with his pre-flop calling. For example, middling cards on a flop 6-7-4 are extremely dangerous. If your opponent’s pre-flop calling range includes marginal holdings like mid-pocket pairs or suited connectors (6s-7s) than he can easily connect with these. These types of boards are also harder for you to bluff with your range given your initial pre-flop raise. You’re not going to be able to bluff the nut straight A5 on a 2-3-4 board if you raised pre-flop UTG for example. Regulars simply don’t raise/bluff these types of hands out of position.

Strictly speaking, I find that the worst flops to continuation bet are those with lots of high connected broadway cards with a flush draw e.g. J10Q or KQ10. There is a massive chance of these hitting your opponent’s pre-flop calling range and it’s worsened by the fact that your opponent could have so many draws and “outs” to make it profitable to call or float your raise with.

Did you like this? Share it:

Related posts:

  1. Double Barrelling Strategy
  2. Slowplaying In Texas Holdem Poker Games
  3. Guide To Multi-Tabling No Limit Holdem Games
  4. Dumping the Second Best Hand
  5. How to Calculate Pot Odds