Continuation bet (c-bet) is a common move when a player who opened the pot pre-flop continues to represent a strong hand after the flop and bets no matter what he has. Although this is a fairly standard move it’s not something you should do by default, without knowing your next move if your opponent calls or raises you. Here are some advices that will help you to always make the best of your continuation bet or create an exit strategy if you think your opponent has the best hand.
Analyze the flop before make a c-bet
The structure of the flop is very important when deciding whether to make a c-bet or not. If you have a strong hand things are pretty simple – you bet and hope your opponent will call. If you, on the other hand, didn’t hit anything then you have to make sure that there’s something to represent before c-betting, otherwise a good player might call you just to confuse you and use your insecurity to attack you on the turn or river. Always analyze the flop, compare it to the hand range you’re putting your opponent on and act accordingly.
Another important thing to look for in the flop are straight or flush draws. If you’re on a draw than it will be much easier to continue betting because you get great implied odds if you hit. On the other hand, if there is a draw on the flop, you bluff c-bet and get a call, you will have to be very careful on the turn and river.
Your table image will be one of the most important things for your opponents when deciding whether to call your c-bet or not. If you’re playing too aggressive then most players will call your c-bet with the smallest pair and any draw, or they might even start raising you with nothing. In both cases this will cost you a lot in a long run, so use your aggressive image to c-bet your strong hands and get paid.
C-betting from tight players gets more respect and you’ll easier scare your opponents and often make them fold a stronger hand. Also, pay attention to your opponent’s image. Bluffing a calling station is never a good idea, but you can take a lot of chips from them when you do have a strong hand. You’ll chase away tight players much easier but if they call then you might be in a lot of trouble.
If your opponent calls your pre-flop raise and your c-bet, you have to slow down and think about his hand range. Not many players will call both your bets without good hand, unless they have a really good read on you. So when you do get called there’s a big chance you’re up against a stronger hand, so you might consider backing out from that hand. There’s nothing bad in folding if you get raised, especially if you know the player and know his hand range. This way you’ll save some chips and live to fight another day.