• July 31, 2021

Continuation Betting

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If you are an advanced poker player then you already know what a continuation bet is but if you are new or have never heard of it before then here is what it means. A continuation Bet is when a player bets before the flop and continues to bet after the flop it’s that easy. Your strategy as an advanced player is different than a novice. Your position at the table, the board texture and getting good reads on people are all going to be factors when you make your poker strategy.
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Betting 60-80% of the pot is normally a good place to start, if you bet less you seem weak and this will leave room for you opponents to raise the pot. If you bet more than 80% you will have a hard time getting out of the hand if the pot is too large.
Your position at the table is also a huge factor in your poker strategy. In poker being the early position, that is the three seats to the left of the dealer at the table you’re at a disadvantage because you have to act first and you won’t be able to know how your opponents will play after you have checked,raised,or called. Being in the last position which is also the dealer at the table you have the advantage as this position allows you to have a lot of information about how the hand is going to be played and can change your strategy accordingly.
The board texture will play a huge part in your continuation betting. A lot of thought needs to go into the board texture because you will have the greatest chance of winning if you pay attention to it. Board texture has many factors to take into consideration but it’s pretty easy to understand. The community cards can help you figure out the card that might be in the other player’s hands. The continuation bet should be made to represent any of the cards that might be in the other player’s hands.
Being able to get good reads on the people at your table is almost as important as the board texture. Everyone has a tell. A tell is something that a person does when they have either a really good hand or a really bad hand and every tell is different. If you play the same people often enough you will get to know their tells. When you fold you should still stay alert and watch how people play knowing how they act under stressful situations is a great way to learn how to beat them.
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nuances to consider when deciding whether to follow up your pre-flop raise with a continuation bet on the flop.
Opponent Tendencies  – This one factor swamps all of the others combined, so you need to consider it first. You can have a strong range, great barreling opportunities, and tons of outs, but if your opponent shoves all-in anytime anyone bets the flop, then you shouldn’t try to bluff him. Similarly, against a nit who won’t call a bet with less than top pair, you should bluff even when nothing stronger than the 18th nuts is in your range, you have no outs, and you are out of position.
In other words, all of the advice here is subject to your judgment and may even be irrelevant if your opponent is as blatantly exploitable as those above. If you are playing online and using a HUD, the most important statistic to look for here is your opponent’s Fold to Continuation Bet %. If the number is high, you should bluff often.
If it’s low, bluffing could still be correct. You should look next at how often he folds to turn bets. If he rarely folds the flop but often folds the turn, then he is a good candidate for a double barrel bluff, which could prove to be even more profitable than if you had simply succeeded in your flop bluff. We’ll talk more about setting up multi-barrel bluffs in a moment.
Board Texture- What are the best kinds of flops to bluff? The cop-out answer is that it depends on your opponent’s tendencies. Against a level-one thinker who will fold if he doesn’t have a pair or a good draw, then the driest flops are the best to bluff. You can expect such an opponent to fold almost always on a 3 [diamond] 3 [spade] 3 [club] flop.
A level-two thinker will realize that this flop probably didn’t help you either. He isn’t going to fold an Ace, and he may even bluff-raise you with weaker hands.
That said, if you forced me to give you an answer other than “It depends,” I’d tell you that the best flop to continuation bet has one big card and two little cards, with no obvious flush or straight draws. K [heart] 7 [club] 2 [spade] is a good example. This is a particularly tough flop for your opponent to hit, since he can’t have a draw and he probably isn’t playing too many hands with a 2 or a 7 in them. At the same time, the K gives him something to be afraid of. If he decides randomly to peel the flop with T9, he could be drawing nearly dead if you have the hand you are representing.
Conversely, continuation bets tend to be least successful on very coordinated flops. A board of 8 [club] 7 [club] 6 [diamond] gives your opponent plenty of ways to have flopped a pair, a flush draw, or an open-ended straight draw, none of which is likely to fold to a single bet.
Pre-Flop Ranges- Poker is also a math game, and the best way to resolve those “But what if he knows that I know that he knows that I know…” paradoxes is to look for some mathematical grounding for your strategy. In this case, if you can make an educated guess about your opponent’s pre-flop calling range, and if you can honestly identify your own pre-flop range, then you can determine which of you a particular flop is more likely to help.
Suppose that you open raise from first position at a nine-handed table, the opponent to your immediate left calls, and everyone else folds. You know your own range to be your top 7% of hands, which is {88+,ATs+,KTs+,AQo+}. You believe your opponent will call here pre-flop with any pair, most of his suited connectors, and his strongest Broadway hands, and that he doesn’t usually re-raise a first position raiser. Thus, you put him on something like {22+,AJs+,KQs,QJs,JTs,T9s,98s,87s,76s,65s,AKo}.
Using a tool like Poker Stove, we can evaluate how these ranges fare on various flops. On the K [heart] 7 [club] 2 [spade] flop we mentioned before, your range is a 58-42 favorite over his. Thus, this flop is better for you than for your opponent, and you should lean towards betting it no matter which two cards you happen to have this time around. No matter how suspicious your opponent is, there is a mathematical limit to how much he can do about it. His only options are to start calling or raising with weaker hands, which is to your benefit since your range is generally stronger than his, or he can just give up with his weaker hands, which is to your benefit the times that you have nothing.
On the 8 [club] 7 [club] 6 [diamond] flop, however, your opponent’s range is favored over yours 56-44. This time your options are limited. If you just blindly bet with anything, a smart opponent will be able to call or raise often enough to exploit your weak range. Betting only your very strong hands will also be exploitable, so you’ll need to be selective with your bluffs, taking into consideration some of the factors below.
Equity vs. Calling Range- In most situations, against most opponents, the correct strategy will be to bet some but not all of your made hands and bluff some but not all of your misses. Deciding which hands to bet and which to check is where we really get into playing poker.
All other things being equal, it is better to make a continuation bet on an 8 [club] 7 [club] 6 [diamond] flop with 3 [club] 2 [club] than with 3 [spade] 2 [spade]. The former will often have 9 outs to make the best hand when called, whereas the latter will usually be drawing nearly dead. Against an opponent who never raises, if you know you want to bluff 60% of the time that you don’t flop a pair, then you should simply bet the best 60% of your range that isn’t good enough to bet for value.
The possibility of a raise complicates matters, though. When you have a good draw, you would prefer not to set yourself up for a raise that you cannot profitably call. Against an opponent who will check if you check but will always either fold or raise three times the pot if you bet, then you would actually be better off bluffing with your weakest hands and checking your strong draws. This is because your equity when called doesn’t matter: your opponent will never call, and when he raises, the size is too large for you to call.
Your hand does matter when the action is checked around on the flop, though. You have a lot more to gain from seeing a turn when you have a draw than when you don’t. Thus, against this opponent, it is better to bluff with hands that have nothing going for them and to take a free card with your draws.
Multi-Barrel Bluffs – There are many situations where a willingness to fire multiple barrels can turn an unprofitable flop bluff into a very profitable one. You don’t have to plan on bluffing every possible turn card, but it’s good to have an idea of which cards will produce profitable double-barreling opportunities. Usually, you’ll be looking for cards that are scary for your opponent’s range (e.g. big cards likes A’s and K’s or cards that complete obvious draws) and/or that improve your range (e.g. cards that give you a draw you could complete on the river if your turn bluff gets called). Thus, hands with backdoor draws become good candidates for a flop continuation bet, since they will often turn a draw with which you can fire a second barrel.
Realize that if you plan on bluffing more than 50% of turns, then you want your flop bet to get called. Every time your opponent calls the flop with a hand that will fold to a turn bet, you profit, even if that hand is far stronger than yours. Thus, you may want to choose a smaller size for your flop bet.
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Steve Carr

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