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What Is a Continuation Bet or C-Bet in Poker?

Poker is more a game of skill than chance, and knowing when to bet and when to fold is crucial to play and win big. But you may not always be sure about your betting options or when to use which bet. We can help by discussing a type of poker bet, the continuation bet or c-bet.

A c-bet is made when the last preflop aggressor continues their play by betting again on the flop. It’s one of the most effective ways to win a pot, especially in poker varieties with community cards like Texas Hold’em or Omaha poker.

While it’s helpful gameplay in poker, you should know in what situations to place a c-bet that will be optimally beneficial for you. You don’t necessarily have to have a good hand, but you will have to be good at bluffing. Read and learn much more about c-betting in poker.

What Is a Continuation Bet in Poker?

The continuation bet is a poker strategy of placing an opening bet on the flop after raising the bet in the preflop. It is called a continuation bet, or c-bet for short because it is a continued aggressive betting strategy. It is a useful strategy, as many opponents find it hard to continue their play if they have a weaker hand or have no connection to the flop. The main reason for a c-bet is for the aggressor to raise and bank on their strong starting hand.

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How to Apply C-Bets with Different Poker Hands

The c-bet option is directly related to knowing your hand, how it connects to the flop, and what you think your opponent is holding. Depending on your hand, you can either check or make a c-bet.

✅ C-Bet & Strong Poker Hands

If you have a strong poker hand, like a high pair or better, you stand an excellent chance to benefit from a c-bet. In such a case, it is a more suitable strategy than bluffing because you can entice your opponent to call and build the pot to its maximum potential.

The other option is to check, in which case you allow your opponent to bluff or check. If they choose to check, then you won’t get the outcome you are after, like prompting them to build the pot or to fold.

C-Bet & Strong Poker Hands

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✅ C-Bet & Medium-Strong Poker Hands

A medium-strong hand in poker is considered a middle pair with a weak kicker. With such a hand, the decision to place a continuation bet after the preflop is trickier. You should be aware that if you place a c-bet, the opponents that will call your bet are likely holding hands that are stronger than yours.

Depending on the strength of your and your opponent’s hands, you might be better off checking instead of making a c-bet. If you and your opponents check, then you can wait for the turn and the river to take additional action.

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Placing a Continuation Bet as a Bluff

There is a best time to place a c-bet, and this is closely related to the flop. If you raise the bet preflop, you are giving away your hand, showing your opponent that you have a strong hand that primarily includes kings, queens, and aces. In the case of the flop involving one of these cards, you will appear to place a continuation bet for value. Our poker experts advise you to carefully follow the flop and try to keep your c-bet to about 60-70% of your bets.

However, if the flop includes middle cards like 9-8-7 in different suits or a K-9-7 in the same suit, you should refrain from bluffing or making a c-bet. It would be best if you thought about what your opponent may have if they call or raise preflop, as it is common for them to have suited connector cards like 7-8 or middle hands like a 10 and J, a J and Q, or a J and A. When the flop has one or more of these cards, we advise you not to resort to bluffing.

When Not to Place a C-Bet

There are also situations where you should not place a c-bet. One case is a bad flop that is likely to help your opponent, or it has cards that don’t work in your favor. The c-bet is a strategy intended to make your opponent fold, and if the flop has favorable cards for them, you are better off calling instead of c-betting.

Of course, one never knows for sure which option will help your opponent and which one won’t. It comes down to making an educated guess: think about the possibilities where your opponent will be likely to call or raise, and if you think the chances are high, then don’t place a c-bet.

✅ Don’t C-bet Against Multiple Opponents

Above, we talked about playing poker against a single opponent, and in that case, the c-bet is a viable strategy. However, if you play against multiple opponents, you should avoid placing c-bets. The c-bets are intended to make your opponent fold, and you collect the pot money; playing against multiple opponents is far riskier, as when the players see the flop, they’ll be more inclined to see the turn and will call your c-bet.

If you raise in the preflop and gain some fold equity, then the c-bet acts as a bluff strategy during the flop. But, when you play against multiple opponents, like playing an online poker game, there are more chances that at least one (or more) player will call your bet, and you’ll lose the advantage. In such cases, it is safer to bet on made hands and avoid bluffing altogether.

C-bet in 22Bet

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✅ Don’t Place A C-Bet If You Are Out of Position

The position you play at makes a difference in your c-bet strategy. If you play in position, you have more chances to gauge your opponent’s hand, and you can place c-bets more often, as you are likely to benefit from them.

If you play out of position and make a c-bet, you will give your opponent the chance to call your flop bet and even take the pot. In such cases, place c-bets less frequently as you will guess on your opponent’s hand; you may end up being forced to check-fold if your c-bet fails on the flop, thus making unnecessary losses.

Should You Use C-Betting as a Viable Poker Strategy?

The continuation bet in poker is an excellent way to increase the pot size to a much higher amount but only in certain scenarios. This list of pros and cons may help you identify when to use it.

✅ C-Bet Pros ❌ C-Bet Cons
Increase the pot amount and collect dead money Not a suitable strategy when playing against multiple opponents
Reliable strategy against aggressive players You may become predictable
Maximize the advantage of a strong hand Not viable when playing out of position
Maximize your in position by considering everyone’s actions before you make yours

The Bottom Line

The c-bet is a strong poker strategy of increasing the pot money and forcing your opponents to fold. However, things are not as straightforward as one may seem, as there are finesse and factors to consider for placing effective continuation bets.

A strong case for c-betting is when you play in position, you have a strong hand and play against one or two opponents, and the flop is favorable. Such circumstances give you good chances to win the pot. The opposite is also true, so you should skip making c-bets or bluff when you play out of position, you play against multiple opponents, you have a poor hand, and the flop is unfavorable towards you.

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When to Make a C-Bet?

The best time to make a c-bet is when you are playing in position, so be cautious when you are betting out of position. The best c-betting chance is when you open-raise preflop and the big blind position calls. In this case, you play with a positional advantage, and you can employ aggressive continuation betting. You will want to place c-bets when you have strong hands, especially when considering the flop. For example, you have a strong value hand, like A and K, and then flop comes A, J, 6. In this case, you can make a c-bet, as you have a very favorable outcome.

How Much to Bet in a C-Bet?

The goal of the c-bet is to create a higher-value pot while making your opponent fold. However, you are also risking the chance of getting your c-bet called, and you’ll be forced to enter more chips into the pot. A general rule is to keep your value bets and your c-bets of the same or similar value so you don’t give away your strategy of placing higher c-bets and becoming predictable.

What Is the Difference Between a Value Bet and a Continuation Bet?

The difference between a value bet and a continuation bet is very subtle; it is the same bet but called differently depending on the strength of the poker hands and the cards in the flop. The value bet is the poker bet you make when you expect to be called by players with poor hands. The continuation bet is made when you raise on the pre-flop and bet on the flop, and it is done to maximize the pot amount. Basically, when you have a strong hand and wish to maximize your winning potential and the pot amount, you make a bet to increase the value of the pot.

How Often Should You Fold to A C-Bet?

There is not an exact recipe for this, as it depends on the current hands and opponents. If you are playing against an aggressive opponent, then you should c-bet less frequently, and a check-and-fold strategy may work in your favor, as you won’t be burning your budget in building the pot. If you have a strong hand pre-flop and the flop works in your favor, you can make a c-bet or call, but if you have a medium hand, then it is better to fold and not fall prey to your opponent’s c-betting strategy.