Poker / poker strategy
The continuation bet - How it works and why you should use it
The continuation bet is when the pre-flop raiser bets on the flop regardless of being in or out of position. Although professionals hold mixed opinions on this tool for your arsenal I believe it holds more value than most other plays. Mostly because it holds more positive outcomes than negative and masks your hand. Firstly let's see an example of a continuation bet Here is an in-position continuation bet. (please excuse min raises, the example bots wont call 2.5 or 3x pre flops raises). Why this has value The pre-flop caller to your raise checks it to you on the flop. Here is the continuation bet which should be used as 2 options, Value or semi-bluffing. You are covering the two negative outcomes. 1. they are trapping 2. chasing a hand (straight draw, flush, 2nd pair). Why to not be bothered about the trap? The continuation bet act as a feeler, like your asking the question of their hand, if they call or raise it's giving you information alongside what you may already have (preflop calling range vs 3bet range) you can begin to build a sense of the situation down the streets. A stone cold bluff firing several barrels shouldn't concern you too much, you can't make perfect decisions and you will call or fold either way in relation to you EV. The other side isn't favoured at experienced tables Out of position continuation bet This is also considered a continuation bet, leading first on the flop with a bet into the caller. I'm not a fan of this because it allows more smooth play by the caller. Also if you don't improves you rarely gain free turns and your showdown value will be weaker on a long-term basis. Semi-bluffs working from continuation bets The opposite player in the above video makes multiple mistakes. 1. Not 3x betting pre-flop. 2. not raising the flop and 3. Raising the turn. All 3 options saw a lesser downturn or upside. Focusing on the other side the semi-bluff means I'm betting the flop either as a bluff to win Q high or get called by A8, flush draw, 9T, QT. The semi bluff works because even here against top set I have outs, betting 67% on the flop allows high action on the turn thus allowing me to stack with the nuts gaining full value. The clip above is worst case scenario general you will run into much weaker hands, Q high has some showdown value to the gutshot straight draws that may call. Problems with not using the continuation bet after your pre-flop raise As you can see from the example above you not only sell yourself as weak but get yourself into a position where calling for value is the right thing to do. The opponent is giving you 4/1 with 3rd pair on the turn with what looks bluff after a check on the flop. Also it is a draw heavy flop and turn. The small bet could make sense to have 67, 36, 63, A4, JT and more. the river also is no help and puts you in a position to call the 8+/1 bet. All the action could have been avoided if I used the continuation bet, asking the question of the opponent, obviously the opponent would call the flop and give me an answer. This allows me to check the turn, if they have a draw checking is the best option, if they bet it is my que to fold thus saving value and decisions. Ofcourse many never listen but the proof is in the pudding. Amusingly I hate tournaments and consider myself terrible at them. Also I believe I have been running really bad for almost a month and yet still hold a 22% tournament winrate over 245 better 1/5 played is ok. Also as you can see my hand win % is insanely high at 91.78% which clearly shows I get the better of hands through the streets regardless of being caught here and there I get good value and have decent long-term results. Hopefully this can be useful insight to some strategy and understanding for beginner's of those looking to start playing. Scorumpoker.com and the SPL (scorum poker league) is a great place to start and win free SCR. Remember you will never have a perfect game/results but you can always have a better long-term growth with a wider perspective.