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Continuation Betting - C-Bets

Poker Strategy for Beginners on How to C-Bet and What C-Betting is

Continuation Betting, commonly referred to as C-Bet or C-Betting, is when a player shows aggression pre-flop with a raise and then continues with this aggression post flop. Most times often than not players who generally show aggression pre-flop miss the flop entirely but will bet as if they caught a piece of it to continue representing strength. Many times this will lead their opponents to fold really wondering what their aggressor had.  

However, continuation betting is becoming a standard play with many players C-Betting every time they show aggression before the flop. Well, obviously a player cannot catch a piece of the flop every time they are in a hand so now many players are fighting back at times using a check raise or slow playing a hand that actually caught a piece of the flop. Since continuation bets are not working as effectively as they have in the past, it is important to understand that are some factors to consider before trying to run a successful C-Bet.

Watching the Flop Texture

Flop texture is very important when choosing when to run a C-Bet. When analyzing the flop, it is important to look for any potential draws or straights that could better your hand while at the same time giving you implied odds.
On the other hand, it is also important to look at the flop and compare it to what you think your opponents hand range is. Obviously, they called your pre-flop raise so it is important to look at the flop and see if it may have connected with any of the hands you put them on.

For example, if you are holding onto Kh-Qd and bet pre-flop only to see the flop bring Ad-Ah-9s, then a C-Bet is probably not the wisest choice. There is a good possibility that there are trip Aces out there since someone called the pre-flop raise which discounts any K's or Q's as outs for pairs. The only hand that could possibly beat potential trip Aces is a runner-runner for a straight. Running a C-Bet here would only get expensive and it is completely unnecessary. 
Using the same hand, Kh-Qd, if a flop brought Jd-10h-5s, then this may be a hand to consider C-Betting. There is an open-ended straight draw not to mention that pre-flop and post-flop aggression may indicate an over pair.  

Table Image and C-Bets

If a player has been continuously trying to bully everyone around, the chances of running a successful C-Bet is going to be highly unlikely regardless of the hand you are holding or flop texture. All of the other players at the table are tired of being pushed around and want to put you in your place. Now, this can be a good thing if you have hit the flop squarely with a strong hand. Then it may be possible to extract a lot of value from non-believers.

Tight players or tight aggressive players are going to earn much more respect as they tend to play fewer pots. So C-Betting will be much easier to accomplish especially if there are several high face cards on the flop. Your opponent's table image needs to be taken into account as well. If your opponent is a calling station or maniac, a C-Bet will probably be worthless as you will be called down or re-raised. The type of player to attempt a C-Bet is against a tight player on a fairly uncoordinated board.

Have a Back up Plan

It is one thing to try to C-Bet on the flop and get a caller. It is another to try to attempt the same thing on the turn. If there are opponents who were willing to call your bet pre-flop and post-flop, there should be a light going off inside your head telling you, "I think they have something." Similar to trying to bluff someone, it is ok to do but you need to realize when it is not going according to plan and then resort to plan B. Just realize when you are beat, as that alone will save you chips.

C-Bets for Beginners

One of the most important tips a beginner should take away from this, is to think before they act. It is important to realize that a C-Bet is only going to be successful when all the elements such as flop texture, table image, and hand ranges are working together. If they are, then great, but if not, then get away quickly as C-Bets can be a great tool to have but a dangerous one if utilized improperly.