When Not To Use The Continuation Bet

While we definitely want to use aggression to our advantage, they key word there is advantage, and blind aggression, like blind play in general, is never a good strategy. The whole idea behind good play is to select our moves as appropriate, and never just default to simple mindedness.

Why making a continuation bet

The whole concept of the continuation bet is a rather flawed one in the first place. It originated from the idea that if a player has put in the last raise on the flop, he or she can be expected to have the best hand, and therefore is in the lead so to speak.

While they are in the lead as far as aggression goes, this isn't the same thing as being in the lead hand strength wise. It is true that if the opponent had raised instead of just calling, they often will have a better hand than if they just call, we must also keep in mind that it takes a better hand to call a bet or raise than to make one.

In addition, by their just calling, we can be more assured that our opponent has a real hand and just isn't looking to take things down.

So what happens here is that the player in the lead is actually at a disadvantage hand strength wise post flop, although they may have the benefit of position. If they don't, continuation betting out of position is definitely something that must be used with care. We see a lot of players who rarely fire out at pots out of position doing this just about every time with the lead, without a whole lot of rationality behind it.

In fact, that's exactly what's wrong with continuation betting. People will make them without putting a lot of thought into them. Continuation bets are good to make, they are good to make most of the time, which all translates into they are good to make without much thought. No poker move is good to make without much thought though, as it induces predictability.

When not to c-bet

In order for our strategies to be effective, they have to be made with regard to both the situation in the hand and the tendencies of our opponents. If an opponent is loose enough that we don't have enough fold equity, and we don't have much of a hand either, or if a flop looks like it hits him or her harder than ourselves, then this is certainly no time to blindly fire out.

In the end, paying attention to whether a bet would be a continuation bet or not will only really lead us astray. It can also create some patterns that even fish will be able to pick up on if we abuse it too much.

We don't want to suggest that we not bet out on the flop as much when someone checks it to us, in fact we may not even be betting enough, given the player. It really does come down to the situation though, and not some pre-conceived notion of what sort of percentage of times we need to be betting here. The answer is that it depends, it always depends, it must depend.

With all of the money you will save from avoiding c-betting at times and the money you will win from c-betting more at other times, learn and practise this play as much as possible. Also make sure that you test the concepts in this article.

If you want to learn more about check raising, ask Maria Ho, a gorgeous Asian poker pro who plays often at PokerStars and Bodog Poker.