Continuation bet poker strategy for beginners

Continuation bet poker strategy for beginners

Ok first thing what is a continuation bet ? When a original preflop raiser continues to bet on the flop that is called a continuation bet.  Concept is very simple. A lot of times everybody miss a flop and nobody has a good hand. Than player who showed strength preflop as original raiser continues to bet and takes a pot away.

Most of the players nowadays are aware of this concept and will incorporate it in their game. Problem is that game evolved a lot in last 10 years. Many players improved and  making a continuation bet in wrong spots or not making it in right spots can cost you a lot of money.

 

Wrong usage of continuation bet

Maybe most extreme wrong usage of continuation bet we can see from poker super star Barry Greenstein. Barry is one of the best all time poker players and he made a tons of money. But he comes from era before online internet and before mathematics kicked in hard. He played more based on a psychology and making a good read and good decision than on strict mathematics.

I don’t know is he still doing that but when we saw him play on PokerStars “Big Game” (televised cash game) he always did a continuation bet. So every time he raise before the flop he continued on the flop. This is terrible in so many ways and I see many players doing that still. If you watched a Big Game you can see that players are exploiting Barry. When they have a good hand they just check to him and than after he bets they reraise him. So they get one extra bet. Even sometimes they bluff reraise him because he can not have it in 100% of time. So first thing we gonna learn. NEVER do a C-bet 100% of time. Now let’s see when and why should we make a continuation.

 

barry greenstein continuation bet
Barry Greenstein playing at WSOP

 

When should you make a continuation bet

Ok so let’s try to inject some logic. So when our hand is not good enough for showdown and it is very likely that our opponents does not have a good hand we should make a bluff continuation bet. Simple right ? Ok so when does that happen?

  • We are in a heads up pot (because we need to get through only 1 opponent)
  • We are against two players but board is extremely dry (773 without flush  draw for example)
  • Our opponent is very tight and continues only with top pairs and stronger
  • We do not have any showdown value ( A or even K high is still some showdown value)
  • We have good cards on turn to keep bluffing ( like flush draw or straight draws that will increase our equity )

 

good continuation bet
good board for continuation bet

 

In this situation we are against only one opponent and board is very dry. It is not very likely that our opponent has a 3 so we are only afraid of him hitting a 9 or having a pocket pair. If we make a bluff continuation bet and he calls with 9 or for example 77 we can still hit Q,J or any diamond to give us flush draw so we can still win a hand with bet on the turn or by getting there on the river.

 

When you should not make continuation bet

Ok so I hope you know have some good idea when you should continue. Let’s check for opposite situation. So you should not make bluff continuation bet if it is very likely that your opponent will not fold. Let’s see when that happen:

  • You are in multiway pot (3 or more players)
  • Board is extremely wet(678 with 2 spades for example)
  • Our opponent is extremely loose and will continue with any runner draw and raise and bluff us if he miss
  • We have some showdown value but it is hard to get a call from weaker hand(33 on AKT board)
  • We can not keep betting on the turn card( like in previous example with 33)

 

bad continuation bet
bad board for continuation bet

 

In this example we should make a continuation bet only against very tight opponent who will fold small pairs and weak draws. In any other situation especially in multiway we should just check and give up. Lets see why. First thing we can not pick many good cards on the turn to keep up the aggression. If we turn a K we are probably good but we are still not happy if it is a K of hearts because of the potential flush. Same thing with a Q. We can not turn a runner flush draw because we do not hold any hearts and our opponent can easily have us drawing dead with JT/89/79/56/77/88/99.

Final thoughts

If you want to master continuation bets look carefully for good spots. Do not blindly bet and hope to get a fold. Keep an eye on your opponents and their tendencies. Are they aggressive ? Are they passive ? Can we bluff them off the weak hand ? Is it likely that they hold a weak hand on this type of board and this action preflop ?
Pay attention and it will pay you off.

If you want to continue reading about beginner strategy concepts start with poker position and starting hands here.

Good luck 😉

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