C-betting is such a big part of the game that nearly every strategy forum has threads upon threads dedicated to when, how much, when not to, and why to make a continuation bet.
Let's take a simple look at a common situation. Someone limps, you hold AKs on the button and raise, the blinds fold, and the limper calls. You are in a Heads Up situation, in position.
The flop comes J52 rainbow. Villan checks to you. You have Ace high, great kicker.
♠ Bet Size - Fold Frequency
If you're cbetting without a made hand, and that is going to happen frequently, here are some numbers to consider when deciding to bet, and deciding on the amount to bet.
Below is a chart of typical continuation bet sizes
and the number of hands you need to win in order for your cbet to break even.
♠ Commonly Profitable Cbet Situations
|Bet Size||Win Percentage Necessary|
|1/2 Pot|| 33%|
|2/3 Pot|| 40%|
|3/4 Pot|| 43%|
|Full Pot|| 50%|
♠ Commonly unProfitable Cbet Situations
- Heads Up - as you can see by the chart, a continuation bet can fail more times than it succeeds in taking down the pot, and still be a profitable play. By only having to fold out one player, a continuation bet can usually yield profitable results.
- Dry Boards - the idea of a dry board is one where there aren't many draws that are available. For instance, K93rainbow presents no flush draw possibilities, and no straight possibilities. It would be harder for your opponent to have caught a part of that flop, making it more likely that he will fold to a continuation bet.
♠ PokerTracker Stats
- Multiway Pots - In the example, the hand was heads up. The same numbers hold true for multiway pots, but because of the additional players involved in the hand, it becomes harder to fold out everyone with a continuation bet.
So, players often find cBetting to be unprofitable in multiway pots.
- Coordinated or Wet Boards - the idea here is that when it is more likely that your opponent has either made a hand, or caught a draw on the flop, they will be much less likely to fold to a single continuation bet.
A board like QJ9 with two spades offers a lot of drawing possiblities, plus the potential of landing a solid hand immediately. Boards like these are often make it harder to achieve a high cbet success rate.
- Calling Stations - some players are simply prone to calling bets. Trying to knock them off of a hand through continuation bets will likely prove to be unprofitable against these players. The profit against this player type is found in waiting until you do land a hand, and then betting for value.
Players who play using a system like PokerTracker will often have stats on their opponents cbetting practices available to them. So, if you know that your opponent folds to 74% of all continuation bets, you may be able to make use of that information when deciding whether to make a continuation bet.
Inversely, if you know that your opponent makes a continuation bet 94% of the time, you may use that information as well.
♠ Commonly Doesn't Mean Always
Continuation betting may be one of the most common "player dependant" moves in poker. While the guidelines I've put forth have merit based on their history of success, it doesn't mean that they work in all situations.
For example, you might find a player who fears draws, making cbetting a wet board very profitable against them.
Use the information regarding the bet size and the necessary success rate to make cbetting a profitable part of your game.