The Continuation Bet
In Hold'em you only hit the flop only every third time (= 33 %) and only rarely good draws like flush- and straight draws. The fact, that you only hit every third flop is very important to play successful poker. The reason is that your opponent also misses the flop most of the time and the hand that was best before the flop, is usually still in the lead after the flop.
A player who raised before the flop is recommended to bet often after the flop. Such a bet is called a continuation bet, which is a continued wager and shows -if done properly- a good profit over the long run.
To succeed with a continuation bet if you missed the flop, there are some conditions:
1. The number of opponents should be small
The more opponents there are the greater is the chance that somebody hits a piece of the flop. A single bet won’t get them to lay their hands down. There are lots of players who raise with AQ in middle position before the flop, get four calls and make a continuation bet with only an ace high after missing the flop. This bet has almost no chance to succeed and you're wasting your money.
2. The texture of the flop must be good
This means that the flop should have no or unlikely draws and shouldn't show „danger cards“. If this flop is unlikely to have helped your opponent, the texture is good. If you have TT, raising and get one call in late position and the flop is AKQ then the texture is very bad because it's highly likely that your opponent hit this flop. If you hold AK on a 227 flop then the texture is very good and even if you have only an ace high, you should still have the best hand. Also, if there are possible draws out there like KQ8 or TJ3 with two cards of one suit, the likelihood that your opponents hit some kind of draw are high and your continuation bet has little chance of success.
3. Your opponents
If you have a very loose opponent who keeps calling and calling every time, it makes no sense to make a continuation bet because you will get called. If your opponent is very tight and folds a lot, he's the perfect victim to continue betting on the flop. Most of the time, he will just fold, even with good hands.
Of course, all of those three points should be considered altogether. But if there's one bad factor (for instance, plenty of opponents, or a very bad flop) you shouldn't make a continuation bet and save the chips.
The size of the continuation bet should be about half of the pot. If there are 100 in chips in the pot, you should bet about 50. If you do so, you give yourself very good pot odds, so that you only have to win every third pot to make a nice profit.
What if you hit the flop? Then your continuation bet isn't a bluff or a semi-bluff but a value bet and you make profit if called. In most cases you should also make a half-pot-sized bluff. If you do so, your opponents can't figure out whether you hit the flop or not. If you make bigger value bets than continuation bets as a bluff, clever opponents will figure out what you're doing and you won't succeed. Then you would show a so called “betting pattern” and you would be easy to read.
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