What is a Continuation Bet in Poker?

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The continuation bet is a popular strategy in online poker tables, especially in Texas Hold’em. When you raise before the flop and still make a continuation bet, your opponent will likely fold, meaning you stand to win more pots on the flop than if you had simply checked. However, this is not the only factor required for success with this bet. A continuation bet can also be made when a player has missed the flop but has entered the pot as the preflop raiser.

How does it work?

The basic idea of the continuation bet is that a hand is often not fully improved by the flop, so going on the offensive may result in you winning the pot. This strategy also works as a reverse bluff for players holding a stronger hand to increase the pot. The c-bet is usually more effective when you are playing against fewer opponents — if you are playing against more than one opponent, it makes it harder to make a prediction in the game.

How to make a continuation bet and bet sizing

It is important to decide on the size of your stake before you make a continuation bet.  You should consider learning your opponents’ play style and behavior, the bet sizes, and your image on the poker table. At brick and mortar casinos, physical tells play a major factor. Online, the information you get from your opponent is the time and money spent on the table and what they say on the chat. 

There are two reasons why players need to balance their bet size:

  • You do not want to bet too small because it may result in your opponents calling 
  • You don’t want to be reckless and put all your bankroll in. To avoid giving the other players a hint, you also want to keep consistent and bet the same stakes pre and post-flop. For instance, betting small invites calls, and bets will become more costly if your opponent has a good hand.

You also don’t want to fire a continuation bet on every occasion. If your opponent becomes aware of your strategy, they might be able to trap you. When you place a continuation bet, the goal is to have your opponent fold. The idea is to take advantage of the pre-flop raiser and forfeit all the money. Another important thing to note is that some boards will be better than others.

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When is a good time to place a c-bet?

You should only decide to place a continuation bet when you know the type of opponent you’re up against. Are they an aggressive poker player or have they folded on the continuation bets made by other players? Remember that your opponents will often miss the flop completely, making this strategy even more effective. Just remember that this doesn’t guarantee you a win every time — sometimes your opponents may try to trick you.

The best continuation bet is the one that helps your hand. In a situation where the opponent puts you on big cards when you raise pre-flop, you are more likely to win your bet. Aces and kings are good to have on the board, as they make for perfect continuation bet situations. Your opponents are likely to assume that they have hit the pre-flop raiser if they haven’t given up because they do not have a decent hand. A great continuation bet is 2/3 to 3/4 the size of the pot. This is an effective strategy to make your opponent think that you have a much stronger hand and scare them out of the pot. If your bet is very low to the size of the pot, your opponents are likely to call, thinking that they have a better hand, or that you are most likely to draw.

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When to avoid a continuation bet

Any strategy used 100% of the time will not be effective. Even with continuation bets, there are bad flops. This is when the c-bet helps your opponent’s hand and gives them a reason to call. In this kind of situation, you want to avoid making a continuation bet. Online poker is a game of prediction, and you can never know which boards will help you and which won’t. You need to predict the hand your opponent is likely to have called with, and if it is strong enough for them to stick around. You don’t want to bet if they have high ranking cards — for instance, a straight hand with 7, 8, and 9. In that case, you’re better off just checking.

You may also want to avoid continuation betting if you’re playing against many opponents. Your c-bet is highly unlikely to work if multiple opponents call after you have raised before the flop. The more opponents there are, the higher the chances of you getting called. Also, if you have a ‘calling-station opponent’ (a player who calls in every turn), it’s best to keep your continuation betting to the minimum.

Always remember your position. It becomes more difficult to c-bet when you are out of position. If you fire a c-bet in every turn and suddenly give up when your opponents call, they are likely to notice and forfeit the pot by calling your raises in position and calling your flop bet. Always keep your continuation bets to the minimum if you raise before the flop is called in position. Aggressive opponents are most likely to make your playing strategy more difficult.

Playing in a good position gives you the advantage to measure the strength of your opponent’s hand. In that case, you can make continuation bets more often.

Can you make a continuation bet outside the flop?

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The continuation bet can be made outside the flop. In fact, it tends to be more successful on the turn. The reason is that most players are likely to call a bet without a strong holding hand on the flop, given the popularity of the c-bet. If your opponent unnecessarily checks you in position on the flop, you can check to see their action on the turn. If they repeat the same move, you can make your c-bet. With only the river betting round left, it will become difficult for them to bluff, call, or check-raise. This is your opportunity to collect the pot!

Play poker online for real money

Continuation bets have become popular in Hold’em poker, and it only makes sense for players to familiarize themselves with the strategy and use it when they play poker games online. BetMGM is home to the best casino games. If you’re looking to play poker online for money or join in on the biggest online poker tournaments, register with BetMGM.Our tables offer daily and occasional poker tournaments where you get to compete with popular professionals and new players alike. New players are spoilt for choice with a variety of cash games. We have guides to get you started on Texas Hold’Em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, and more. Play online poker at BetMGM!