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Continuation Betting Strategy in No Limit Holdem

Continuation betting is one of the most common moves in No Limit Holdem and it is essentially very easy and profitable to pull of. 9A continuation bet involves betting on a missed flop after being the raiser pre-flop. A typical continuation bet is 50% – 75% of the pot but you’ll have to adjust this according to your opponent.

Why should you continuation bet? Statistically your opponent will miss the flop more than 60% of the time. This makes bluffing on the flop extremely profitable, and given your pre-flop bet it gives you a lot of credit for having a strong hand. Most weak opponents who miss the flop will insta-fold to cbets. I think there’s also something to be said for cbetting 100% of flops in NL20 or below. Players don’t adapt at this level, and even if you get called you can double-barrel the turn to seal the deal.

As you move up to NL50 however, you’ll need to be more selective with the flops you continuation bet. Below I’ve provided some examples of good and bad flops to cbet with:

  • The Board Shows Kxx
    This is the best board to continuation bet because it is very likely that your pre-flop betting range gives you credit for hitting this flop and your opponent’s calling range is likely to miss it. Realistically his calling range can’t include a K because he would’ve decided to raise AK before the flop and he would have folded lower kickers.
  • A Pair to the Board e.g. Q4Q
    Two pairs to the board is a great flop to continuation bet because it is very unlikely your opponent will have struck it. The downside is that it’s unlikely you hit it too and you’ll get less credit for a cbet. Against clever opponents you’ll tend to get hit back into more and loosen your table image.
  • A Suited Board e.g. Jd-6d-2d
    Against a single opponent this is a great flop to cbet. Your opponent has to fold if he doesn’t have a high diamond and even if he had a great pre-flop hand like AA he knows he could be drawing dead. Against two or more opponents on a suited flop I’m more willing to let this one go, especially once I get called for the turn.
  • Broadway Cards e.g. KxJ or QJx
    This is one of the worst flops to continuation bet because your opponent’s calling range means he’s more likely to catch a piece of this than you are. Since his calling range includes J10+ and QJ, I’m more inclined to check here, or if I’m forced to cbet here than I’ll at least make a bigger raise than normal, probably pot-sized bet as opposed to half-pot.
  • Low Connected Board 563
    This is a terrible flop for me to continuation bet. My opponent could have easily hit this given his pre-flop calling range and it’s almost inconceivable that I’ve managed to hit this given my range. The best I could expect my opponent to put me on is an overpair like KK. Remember that if you’re opponents calling with low pocket pairs he could also have hit his set.
  • High Suited Connected Board Jh-10h-Qd
    Clearly, this is a ridiculous board for me to continuation bet even if there is only one opponent in the hand. The straight draw, flush draw and two-pair are all possible combinations of hands my opponent could call with, given his perceived marginal holding of pre-flop calling hands.