The continuation bet is one of the most common bluffs in online poker. A continuation bet literally means to make bet the flop after being the last pre-flop raiser.
There are many advantages to continuation betting flops. Most of these generally fall under the category of “aggressive” play. When you play aggressively in any poker game it generally gives you a better chance of winning. You can bluff more pots against opponents, range balance your hands, and even semi-bluff potential drawing hands or even Ax or over cards.
A typical situation when you will continuation bet the flop is when there is only one or two other opponents in the pot. In my experiences continuation betting isn’t profitable enough when there are more than two players in the pot since the chances that one of them manages to connect with the board is a lot stronger. With only one opponent in the pot however, the chances of them connecting strong enough with the board to call your bet is around 40%.
A standard bet-size for a continuation bet (also known as a cbet) is half-pot. If you pot size if $40 on the flop than a typical cbet should be $20. This is considered the optimum bet size for bluffing the flop since it is large enough to fold weak opponents yet not too high as to be needlessly risking chips. Bear in mind that if you place a half-pot continuation bet than it only needs to be successful one in three times to break-even. Of course you may wish to adjust the size of your continuation bet for different boards and opponents. For example, you’ll need to bet a little bit more against LAGs because they will be happier to float your bets.
A relatively unknown advantage of continuation betting is that if you make a continuation bet you are unlikely to get re-raised. This makes it a lot more profitable than bluffing in other streets. Think about this for a second, if your opponent has a very strong hand such as two-pair or full house than he is not going to want to play it thick and fast so early in the hand since it will give away his strength. Contrarily, if he has a weak hand than he is more likely to fold or “float” your call in the hope of catching something on the turn than to actually re-raise you. Re-raising you with a bluff is probably the worst thing that he could do right now, since it isn’t possible for him to have any read on you and you showed massive strength by raising pre-flop anyway. If he did try bluffing you with a re-raise than it would be negative EV from him.
A lot of people suggest that in the micro-stakes games in online poker (i.e. $0.01/$0.02 – $0.25/$0.50) you should be cbetting 80%+ of your hands. This is way too high in my opinion. Micro-stakes games are no where near as fishy as they used to be and most micro-stakes players will know what a “continuation bet” is and how to counter it. Generally speaking a continuation bet of 50%-80% is about right.
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