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You are here: Home arrow Poker Strategy arrow The continuation bet
The continuation bet
Written by P. Listings   
Tuesday, 28 February 2006

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It's a well know fact that in Texas Hold'em, most flops miss most players. This is something you can turn to your advantage using the continuation bet. This strategy is effective in all kinds of poker, but maybe especially so in Sit-and-Go's with no limit structure. Aggressive play is normally highly rewarded in these types of poker games.

So you missed the flop again?
Imagine that a couple of players limp in before you. You look down at A-J and put in a nominal raise, say 5 BB. The player in the big blind and one of the limpers call. The flop is K-8-5, it missed you completely. Now your two opponents check to you. What do you do? As will be explained below, checking after them is usually not the best choice here.

Taking the initiative
If you play a reasonably aggressive style, which is the standard advice in most situations in Sit-and-Go's, you will often come into a pot raising before the flop. The player who raised before the flop is said to have the initiative. When you have the initiative, the other players will often check to you on the flop, to see what your action will be. Most of the time, they haven't hit anything on the flop and they are not looking to challenge the one player who has shown strength thus far. This is when you make the continuation bet. By putting in a normal sized bet here, you tell your opponents that the strength you showed before the flop is still valid, and that they should go away if they haven't hit anything.

A lot of the time the continuation bet wins you the pot right away.

Positive side effects
Apart from letting you pick up a lot of pots, regular use of the continuation bet gives your game added strength in another way as well. Other players will notice that you are betting more flops than the cards can possibly justify. They will start realizing that you probably don't always have such strong hands as your betting suggests. And so, when you finally hit a flop, which is not impossible after all, they tend to give you more action than they would if you only bet when you hit something. So, by making frequent continuation bets, you will be able to value-bet your strong hands.

Moderation always
Of course, when your opponents see you betting every other flop, not only will they give you action on your monster hands, they will also try to stop you from picking up pots you don't deserve. They will start re-raising you with nothing, and you will have to fold your hand if you havenít hit the flop. This is a reason not to overdo it, just like you should not overdo anything in poker.

You need to develop a feeling for how much you can use the continuation bet before your opponents react. You need to feel what your table image is at every moment. If people complain that you steal too many pots, try checking a few times to keep the balance.

Dangerous flops
Besides this, it may be a good idea to give up the continuation bet at flops whose structure invites slow playing. For example, when there is a pair on the board, a player who has hit a full house may very well choose to check in order to trap you. Also, if there are high cards on the board and no flush or straight draws, the chances increase that a player who checks is actually slow-playing a strong hand. Finally, if you yourself check some of your good hands on the flop, not only do you keep the balance in your betting frequency, you also become more unpredictable.

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Article courtesy of Poker Listings

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