Tadas “My Poker Coaching” Peckaitis
Poker players sometimes miss a lot of value just because they do not think about the reasons for a particular play. For example; always know WHY you are choosing to bet or check. One of the most important decisions you will face comes on the flop (assuming you bet pre-flop) when you decide whether or not to make a continuation bet(c-bet). Most of the time it dictates the course for the whole hand so make sure to play it for the right reason.
Ideally, you want to c-bet in one of these situations:
- Betting for value. If this is the case, better make sure that your opponent can have some worse hands with which he would call. Otherwise, it is not a value bet and you can end up overplaying your hand.
- Betting for protection. If you have a medium strength hand, which is vulnerable to over cards, betting for protection is a definite. You deny your opponent’s equity and don’t give away free cards.
- Bluffing. Like in the first point, you need to make sure that you can potentially make your opponent fold a better hand. I see many players who choose to bluff with showdown value hands, which is usually a mistake because your opponent is unlikely to fold a better one. In this case, you’d be better off checking.
When you know what the purpose of the bet is, it is much easier to plan the hand ahead and choose the right play. Moreover, this way you will make more educated decisions, which will add up to a bigger win rate, and that is something everyone wants to see.
Missing a c-bet and checking instead
You should adopt a similar thought process for checking as well. Just like before, understanding why you are checking will help you build a better strategy. Here are the main reasons for making this play:
- You have a very strong hand on the board which completely misses your opponents’ range.
- You block many value hands of your opponent.
- You are not afraid to give free cards.
- The board is much better to your opponent, and you are just giving up.
If any of these statements is true, you are probably better off checking instead of making a continuation bet. In a case where you have a strong hand, you let your opponent catch up, giving you a chance to win more on later streets. On the other hand, when you have nothing, you can see the turn and hopefully improve your holding or even bluff, which gives you an additional chance to win.
Summing it up
Obviously, it is not that black and white and to make the best possible decisions, you need to consider other factors as well. You need to understand how to play on different boards, when you are IP (In Position) and OOP (Out Of Position), when to use GTO (Game-Theory Optimal) or exploitative strategies and much more. Luckily, you can learn all of this reading my detailed guide to making a continuation bet to master this aspect of your poker game.
Check out this video on C-Betting and Barrelling …