Over the past couple of weeks I have been discussing continuation betting. By the way, just like to say thanks for the comments on the forum and the PM’s and e-mails. This week I want to look at some of the situations where I will forego continuation betting and check it back and take a free card.
Whenever I play in six handed NL games then I am not trying to dominate the table. When you are not overbearingly aggressive then I find that my bets tend to get more respect and my bluffing ratio is higher. In games above a certain level then many players will have Poker Tracker so they are going to have very reliable information on just what type of player you are and over aggression fares less well these days in online poker.
But if I have been folding a few hands either through being dealt junk or because of poor position or action before me or a combination of, then I will make a play with a hand like 9c-7d from the cut-off for instance. Lets say that it has been folded to me in a $5-$10 and I raise to $30 and both blinds surprisingly call.
In this situation then I am not just going to automatically assume that the two blinds are going to be putting me on AK or AQ all because I have not played for a while…..no way! They are still going to be putting me on a fairly wide range from that position after it has been folded to me.
Already I am on my guard against continuation betting because I now have two opponents instead of just one. But whenever I play online and I have said this numerous times before, I am not a big fan of multi-tabling. I really like to home in on one game and really feel what the players are doing. This allows me to focus better and also allows me to make plays that would be very difficult to make for a multi-tabler. It is also worth mentioning here that I feel that single tabling helps me to stay ahead of the game as NL Hold’em games are certainly getting tougher online.
I also like to have as much info as possible on my opponents as well and this means checking the lobby to see if they are playing more than one table. When players are multi-tabling then continuation betting is more profitable and especially against one or two opponents because they are less likely to want to get tricky when they possibly have another decision to make somewhere else.
They tend to make the straight forward solid play most of the time and this can be exploited in the correct situation. So where were we? I have raised to $30 with the 9c-7d and been called by both blinds to make a $90 pot. We will also assume that all three of us have decent sized stacks and that no one is short. Depending on the flop then because of that extra opponent, I will be a little bit more selective with my continuation betting here. The continuation bet has no element of surprise as your opponents are actually expecting you to do it and you must always bare that in mind.
If a flop like A-K-6 fell and I was against a single opponent then I would fire a bet of around $60 into this pot almost 100% of the time and my chances of taking it would be high and higher still if they were multi-tabling.
But lets say that the flop came something like 10-6-2 rainbow giving me a gutshot draw and the two opponents from earlier checked it to me then they could be just checking to the raiser and looking to check raise or depending on what type of players they are or how good they are, be looking to put a play on me and my pre-flop raise and continuation bet could get rather expensive. Not to mention that continuation betting when I have a draw to a potentially powerful hand could either lose the players and win me a small pot or force me to fold should one of them make a play at me thus denying me the chance to win a monster pot.
But when the small blind has called as well as the big blind and the flop falls something like A-10-6 then I have a chance here to take a player for their entire stack if they have flopped something and decided to check it to me. If one of them has A-10 or A-6 or better still 6-6 or some other strong holding then taking the free card and refusing the continuation bet is the best play.
It is true that I could bet and represent the ace here but the small blind must have something to call that raise although I don’t like the call but that’s a different story. An 8 on the turn will give me a very nasty concealed straight which has the potential to be a stack killer and is far more potent a hand when there are more opponents in the pot who could potentially pay you off big time. Better still if there were three opponents in the hand.
In general then, I will refuse a continuation bet if I feel that there are either too many opponents, the flop is not conducive to it, I feel that my opponents are fixing to play back at me or taking a free card by checking is more advantageous.
Feel free to either contact me through the forum or through www.pokersharkpool.com if you wish to discuss any elements of this article with me, see you next week!
Carl “The Dean” Sampson can also be found playing free poker