C-bet stands for “continuation bet” and it’s one of the most common bluffs in poker. A player will usually make a c-bet when they’ve raised pre-flop to continue their aggression. The trouble with c-bets is that smart opponents usually pick up on it quickly, and know how to defend against the c-bet. When they do, you’ll start to hemorrhage money as your c-bets get picked off time and time again. While c-bets can be powerful, there are certain times when you shouldn’t use it. Here are some situations where you should forgo the c-bet.
Against Multiple Opponents Out Of Position
When you’re out of position and facing two or three opponents, it’s too likely that someone has a legitimate hand for you to c-bet. In addition, the pot tends to get big fast when there are multiple people in it. When the pot is large, players are less likely to give it up for a single bet. Most players would consider a large pot to be worth a semi-bluff. In a situation like this, it’s usually best check/fold if you don’t have anything.
On A Very Drawy Board
Let’s say you raised pre-flop and the board comes down 8-9-10 with two hearts. This isn’t the kind of flop you want to c-bet – especially against several opponents. There’s a large range of hands that’ll call or raise you. Anybody with QJ, 67, two hearts, or even a bare Jack could call. Even if somebody raises you on a semi-bluff, you can’t call without a strong hand. It’s best to check/fold.
Against A Super Aggressive Opponent
Some people raise just for sake of raising. They get a kick from pushing people out of pots. If you’re out of position against one of these players, it’s better to just check. If you want to make a move, you could attempt a check/raise. Even super aggressive opponents have a hard time calling a check/raise with nothing. However, a c-bet is a loser in this situation.
Against A Calling Station
Callers call. It’s their defining characteristic. When you’re up against a calling station, you should be thinking value bet, not bluff.
* * *
Don’t misunderstand me, the c-bet is powerful and it should be used often. But you shouldn’t c-bet blindly. Take stock of your situation before you put your money a table. If you’re up against too many opponents, or one of your opponents is likely to raise you with any two cards, you check/fold.
However, don’t become too passive. You still want to maintain an aggressive image. If you have a marginal or drawing hand and you think that you’re c-bet won’t be respected, you should consider a check/raise. A check raise is much more aggressive and will probably win you the pot if your opponent doesn’t have a decent hand.
The c-bet is just a tool in your arsenal. Know when to c-bet, know when to check/raise, and – more importantly – know when to check/fold. Mixing up these three options on the flop will get you more respect and ultimately win you more money.