Last week we took a look at continuation betting and I want to carry that forward somewhat this week by continuing with that theme. I read a very interesting article in Flush magazine the other day by Full Tilt pro Andy Bloch about continuation betting. Andy said that he normally raises pre-flop to three times the big blind and then puts out a bet on the flop of the same amount.
This would mean raising to $60 in a $10-$20 game for example and should you get called by the big blind, this would mean that there was $130 in the pot on the flop and then betting $60-$65 on the flop. I can totally understand Andy’s philosophy here as he can afford to make many continuation bets like this when his flop bet is so small.
You are not putting very much at risk here when you play like this and if you get played back at then you are well and truly done with the hand. Like he says in the article, most of the time his opponents will have missed the flop and a continuation bet will normally take it and especially in heads up situations.
Well I certainly am not going to write an article for this forum about some other article and how I agree with it….how boring would that be? To be fair to Andy, his article was very short so he did not have the necessary space to expand on what he was saying but I can just feel an army of no limit players rushing out to try this tactic after reading that.
But I feel that to implement a tactic like this all of the time is asking for trouble because sooner or later you are going to run into players who simply will not stand for it. Choosing the amount of your continuation bet is not straight forward and like most things in poker, the only real answer to the question of “what is the correct amount to continuation bet” would be as it normally is with poker questions…..it depends.
Firstly I think you need to be looking at who has actually called your raise and what type of player they are. If they are the type of player who sees a half-pot continuation bet on a 9-6-2 rainbow flop then that can be like a red rag to a bull with certain players. Certain other types may actually think that you are not overly confident about your hand and are afraid of shoving any more chips out there.
Depending on who you are continuation betting then half pot size bets on the flop can encourage more floating by your opponents. Is your opponent one of those who likes to get fancy by mimicking a slow played monster holding garbage for instance? Each and every single one of us has our own individual style of play and philosophy of how to play the game.
Even successful players disagree and argue about the merits of certain plays. Our own individual philosophies are moulded over a period of time by what games we have been in, what books we have read, what opinions we have listened to, magazines we have read, poker sites we have played on, opponents we have faced etc etc, over time this all congeals into making our own particular playing style.
Whenever you sit in any poker game then you are obviously assessing and watching your opponents or at least you should be but I try and take that a step further and try and assess just how each of them actually play poker and what they are trying to achieve at the table.
This is why you simply cannot have a universal rule when it comes to continuation betting or for most things in poker for that matter. Its so easy online to be aggressive, you don’t have to physically move chips and you have almost complete anonymity if you mess up or do anything stupid.
But when I watch my opposition and I see someone raise pre-flop after I have folded and their raise gets one caller, I am then also watching how the hand plays out as well. If that pre-flop raiser fired out a half pot bet that made his opponent fold then I know straight away that this is a guy who will fold to half pot bets if they have missed. But sometimes you just get the feeling with certain people what they either will or will not stand for and this is when you sometimes need to make two thirds to three quarter pot size bets on the flop. It can be very annoying to lose a pot after getting floated and getting turn raised or raised on the flop when in fact a three quarter pot flop bet could have taken it down there and then.
This is the type of bet that tells your opponent that you are serious about the hand and your bigger flop bet has also escalated the pot so if they wish to float or come over the top then they are risking a much higher amount of money than they would if you had fired out a half pot bet.
Of course if your opponent refuses to get involved with small pots or does not try to get cute or fancy then why bet more money to win the pot when a half pot continuation bet will achieve the exact same result. Once again it comes down to watching your opponents but that means working hard at the table... but I guess you already knew that.
Carl “The Dean” Sampson can also be found playing free poker