Continuation Betting in No Limit Hold'em

The continuation bet is one of the most powerful moves in online poker, and is a bet that has recently increased in popularity. It is a very aggressive play, and fits in perfect with the super-aggressive online poker players of today. This article will explain what a continuation bet is, when it should be used, and the advantages of making the play.

What is a Continuation Bet?

A continuation bet is a bet made on the flop by a player who showed aggression preflop. Continuation bets are usually sized between 1/2 the size of the pot and the size of the whole pot. The easiest way to explain is an example:

Imagine that you're sitting at a $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em table. You have AK suited under the gun, and raise the pot to $8. One player in late position calls your raise, and everyone else folds. The flop comes down A-4-5, and you make a bet of $12 (notice that the pot size here would be $19). This is a continuation bet; you showed aggression preflop, and followed up with a flop bet that was between 1/2 the size of the pot and the full size of the pot.

When to Make a Continuation Bet?

There are basically three situations that call for a C (continuation)-bet. The first is when you hit the flop and want to protect your hand, the second is when you pick up a draws on the flop, and the third is when you totally miss the flop. We'll go over both methods now:

Hitting the Flop Hard

The first and easiest spot to make a continuation bet is when you make a preflop raise with a premium hand, and hit the flop hard. In this situation you've already represented strength preflop, so you should bet out to both defend your hand and show continued aggression. Let's take a look at an example so you can understand better:

Imagine that you are once again playing $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em, and have KQ suited in late position. It folds to you, and you raise to $7. The big blind calls your raise, and the flop comes down K-5-4. The player in the big blind then checks to you.

The above situation is the perfect spot for a continuation bet of $8-$15 (the total pot size is $15). You have every reason to believe you're ahead in the hand, and you should bet out to protect your strong pair. Also, your hand is slightly susceptible to hands like 67 suited or 89 suited, both of which have straight draws. Another possibility is that your opponent has a middle pocket pair, and by betting you will force him/her pay to see the turn.

Betting a Draw

A second situation that calls for a continuation bet is if you make a preflop raise, are called, and kind of hit the flop. Let's take a look at playing a draw so you can understand it better:

You're at the same $1/$2 NL Hold'em table, and have KQ suited again. You raise, one player calls, and the flop comes out 10-J-4. Although you didn't make a pair, you still got a piece of the flop, and should continue showing aggression. Make a continuation bet here, because the best case situation is that he/she folds, and the worst case is that he/she continues with the hand and you have outs to win.

Totally Missing the Flop

Another spot when you should consider making a continuation bet is when you miss the flop completely after showing aggression preflop. Although you don't have a solid hand at this point, you still most likely have outs on your opponent, and you might be able to take down the pot right away. Here's a good example:

You're playing $1/$2 NLH, and have AK suited in the cutoff. It folds to you, you raise to $8, and the big blind calls. The flop comes down 4-8-10 with one card of your suit. Although you really don't have much of a hand here, I'd bet out if the big blind checks to you. By checking they show that they don't have much either, so you should fire out $12 here to see if you can take the pot. Worst case scenario, he/she calls and you most likely have six outs (any ace or king) to win plus the backdoor flush draw.

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