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Continuation Betting



When someone raises before the flop, and then everyone checks to them on the flop, they have the option of making a continuation bet. "C-betting" as it's called is a pretty standard part of a Texas Holdem game, so I've put together an article that addresses some of the aspects of continuation bets.



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.

  • If you bet 1/2 pot, you need to win 1 out of 3 hands to break even on this play. For instance, the pot is $10, and you bet $5. You get raised and have to fold (- $5). Next hand, same thing (- $10 total). third hand, your opponent folds, giving you the $10 pot ($0 total).

    At some tables a bet of 1/2 pot may not be large enough to induce your opponent(s) to fold.

  • If you cBet 2/3 pot you need to win 40% of the hands to break even.

  • If you cBet pot you need to win 50% of the hands to break even.

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.

Bet SizeWin Percentage Necessary
1/2 Pot 33%
2/3 Pot 40%
3/4 Pot 43%
Full Pot 50%

♠ Commonly Profitable 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.

♠ Commonly unProfitable Cbet Situations

  • 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.

♠ PokerTracker Stats

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.