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PL/NL Texas Hold'em >> Small Stakes

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FreakDaddy
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/05
Posts: 2719
Loc: Contemplating the realities
Continuation Bet Article
      #5099097 - 03/17/06 06:20 PM

Perhaps this is more constructive. Let me know.

Continuation bets are exactly what the name implies. They are a continuation of pre-flop aggression, designed to win the pot if the pre-flop raiser missed the flop, or continue to build a pot when ahead. When continuation bets are used successfully, they are an important money making weapon of the solid poker player. When continuation bets are used incorrectly, typically by beginners who over use the concept, they can become a marginal, or even money losing play. This article is going to look at how to maximize your continuation bets by examining pre-flop situations, flop textures, betting sizes, and opponent player types, in order to make your continuation bets as successful as possible.
The primary goal of solid continuation bet play should be to win your missed flops with continuation bets 50% of the time or more. The proper use of pre-flop raises, betting sizes, and balance, are important components in achieving better than break even numbers with your continuation bets. You can however, win only 35% of your continuation bets and still be profitable with them, as long as you make your continuation bet sizes small enough to provide for a higher failure rate. For example, here are the 3 common continuation bet sizes:

(½ the pot) If the Pot is 12BB and you make a continuation bet of only 6BB then you need to be successful only 34% of the time.
(¾ of the pot)If the pot is 12BB and you make a continuation bet of 8BB, then you need to be successful 41% of the time.
(Full pot size)If the pot is 12BB and you make a continuation bet of 12BB, then you need to be successful 51% of the time.

When determining the appropriate continuation bet size when you miss, you want to choose the minimum size you think will win you the pot with the least amount of risk. In a perfect world you could bet ¼ of the pot when you miss, and win the pot over 50% of the time. Then you could bet the full pot size when you connect with the flop and get called over 50% of the time. Unfortunately most opponents that are paying attention at all will soon catch on to your varying bet size. So the best way to combat this is to use two very similar bet sizes for your continuation bluff bets, and vary between them depending upon the flop texture and the types of opponents you face. This will create a randomizing effect that will be very difficult for your opponents to pick up, and at the same time maximize your profits.
At small stakes No-limit Holdem the most optimal play is to vary your continuation bet sizes between ¾ of the pot and the full size of the pot. If you do this effectively enough, you can vary your bet sizes to provide you with slightly better odds when you do miss, and build an effective pot when you do connect. For example, when you miss the flop, if you don’t bet at all ~20% of the time, bet the full size of the pot ~50% of the time, and ¾ of the pot the remaining ~30% of the time, you are keeping your opponents guessing, while remaining intimidating at the same time. Also, if you bet the full size of the pot ~85% of the time when you connect, and ¾ of the pot the remaining ~15% of the time, you are again keeping your opponents guessing, while tilting the odds in your favor. You will however have to adjust these percentages depending upon your own style of play (See “The type of player you are” at the end of the article).
So let’s take a rough example of this and say that your opponent calls half of the time, and folds the other half of the time, which is a fairly rough and approximate representation of small stakes No-limit Holdem. Let’s also say that the pot size is 12BB and we simulate this 100 times. Let’s also assume that you NEVER improve after continuation betting. The net result will look as follows simluate 100x:

20% of the time don't bet/30% of the time bet 3/4 pot/50% bet the full pot
Your opponent calls -N/A- /You lose 120 BB /You lose 300
Your opponent folds -N/A- /You win 180 BB /You win 300
Your opponent bets- You /check/fold = 0 N/A N/A
NET RESULT YOU WIN : 60 BB


Let’s also remember that sometimes we will improve, and sometimes our opponent will fold on the turn. And that’s just when we don’t connect with the flop. When we do connect, and we’ve mixed in our continuation bets effectively, we should be able to net enough because we’ve kept our opponents off balance and guessing. One of the primary keys to effective continuation betting is BALANCE. When you achieve effective balance, you should actually become ambivalent as to whether your continuation bet is called or not. For if it is called and you missed, you’re still achieving the same goal. So the next time you do connect with a big hand on the flop and bet, your opponents have to guess, is he just continuation betting again, or does he really have a hand?
While it is true that a lot of online opponents don’t pay particular attention because they’re watching T.V. or they’re playing multiple tables at the same time, an effective balancing strategy doesn’t care. We’re not concerned necessarily that they are always paying attention, but that we vary our bets in order to provide us the best possible odds considering the given flop and hole cards that we hold.
Keep in mind also that 70% of flops are missed by our opponents. This is one of the primary reasons that continuation bets are so effective. If your opponent doesn’t hold a pocket pair, or have a very small pocket pair, they may not be able to continue if you apply the correct amount of pressure.
(examples later)


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jjigglers
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Reged: 01/08/06
Posts: 1260
Loc: gambooool
Re: Continuation Bet Article [Re: FreakDaddy]
      #5099526 - 03/17/06 07:11 PM

This article has a lot of promise, maybe with some paragaphing and variation of font (bold,size,color,etc.) perhaps.

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FreakDaddy
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/05
Posts: 2719
Loc: Contemplating the realities
Re: Continuation Bet Article [Re: jjigglers]
      #5099700 - 03/17/06 07:36 PM

Quote:

This article has a lot of promise, maybe with some paragaphing and variation of font (bold,size,color,etc.) perhaps.




The actual article is 3 parts and has graphs, colors, tables, colored examples, etc... none of which I can post on the forum. It's actually 17 pages long.


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FreakDaddy
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/05
Posts: 2719
Loc: Contemplating the realities
More from article [Re: FreakDaddy]
      #5099723 - 03/17/06 07:40 PM

Good Players to Continuation Bet Against
There are some types of players that are better to continuation bet against than others. You want to identify these players and use the continuation bet against them as often as possible. These common player types are as follows:

 The Mouse – The mouse plays a fairly weak/tight style of play. He doesn’t enter many pots, and when he does he is almost always holding a premium hand. He will almost never continue if the flop doesn’t hit him, or he doesn’t have a strong hand while facing aggression. You’ll have to look hard to notice the mouse because you’d almost swear he doesn’t exist. When you miss the flop, go ahead and take a stab at the pot, you’ll win it uncontested more often against the mouse than any other player type. When you do connect, try and lure him in by beating weak and inviting him to come along. If the mouse does bet into you, fold unless you have a strong hand.
Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 12 / PFR =<3 / AGR =< .5 / WTSD =< 15
&#61558; The Rock – The Rock is very similar to the mouse in that they play very few pots. They differ only slightly in that they will sometimes call with their pocket pairs if they suspect you are betting into them with air. Yet they are nearly as timid as the mouse, so if you continue to apply pressure, and they hold a marginal hand, you will typically win the pot. This is the second best player type to continuation bet against. Apply pressure to them as much as possible, but don’t get out of line if you suspect that the rock has hit a good flop. Test them, but also give them respect of they show too much resistance.
Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 12 / PFR =<3 / AGR =< 1 / WTSD =< 16
&#61558; The Jackal – This player plays a few too many hands, but not enough that we’re worried that non-descript boards hit him hard. He likes to try and sneak into flops cheap, and will sometimes call raises with non-premium hands. If you’ve been playing a solid around game, go ahead and continuation bet into him at a high rate. Jackals like to have fun and be involved in a lot of pots, but they will typically give tight/aggressive opponents the benefit of the doubt more often than other players. Again, if you encounter any resistance then step on the breaks.
Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 26 / PFR =<4 / AGR =< 1 / WTSD =< 20
&#61558; The School Teacher – These opponents play a fairly straight forward ABC style of poker that is quite predictable. They usually won’t continue on the flop unless they have top pair or better, and they do little in terms of applying pressure. They will raise when they have a solid hand, and when they do get ready to release your hand, unless of course yours is very good. You can usually spot them because they’re typically making comments about how (bad) others play, or they’re informing the table about how a hand should have been played. These players typically understand the basics, but not much more beyond that. Apply pressure and test them as often as possible.
Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 20 / PFR =<5 / AGR =< 1 / WTSD =< 22
&#61558; The Look-up Artist – These opponents are great for your chip stack. They’ll typically call your flop bet in hopes that you’ll give up on the turn, or in the off chance their ace high may be the best hand. It will take awhile to spot these guys, but when you do it’s best to bet into them, and then be prepared to fire the second bullet. These opponents typically come in two different player types that you have to be aware of. The first is the fairly passive player that just likes to call and hope he pairs his king or ace on the turn, but will readily fold to a second bet. The other is usually a bit more of an aggressive opponent that typically will call because they don’t believe your flop bet, yet they will fold to further aggression on the turn. Either way, pay attention to players who call too many flop bets, but fold to turn bets. Make sure you have a very good read on this opponent before you commit too many chips to the pot with missed over cards. Don’t attempt fire a second bullet until you get more comfortable with flop textures and turn play.
Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 40 / PFR =<5 / AGR =< 1 / WTSD =< 22


Players NOT to Continuation Bet Against
While there are several types of players you want to continuation bet, there are others that you don’t want to continuation bet against as often. This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever continuation bet against them, you’ll just have to apply much more discretion. Here are a few of those player types:

&#61558; The Maniac – A true maniac needs no introduction, and you’ll have little difficulty spotting him at the table. He’ll be involved in a lot of pots, raising quite often before the flop, and going too far with mediocre hands. The maniac knows little about calling. He’s usually either raising, raising, or raising. If he just calls, then you should definitely slam on the breaks. Against these opponents you just have to wait for premium hands, and play a little bit of a rope a dope strategy. Don’t be too afraid of chasing them off though. Even check-raises on the turn don’t faze the maniac very often. I’d recommend not continuation betting against the maniac for he’s likely to call or raise you with any two. You can wait for better spots against these guys. That doesn’t mean you should just them run you over of course. If you do continuation bet, make sure you have some good outs.
Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 65 / PFR =<12 / AGR =< 10 / WTSD =< 24
&#61558; The Gambler – The gambler is fairly similar to the maniac, except he won’t be raising as many pots, and he won’t be quite as aggressive. He will however gamble and take shots at gut-shot draws, and overplay his second pair. Both the maniac and the gambler will be easy to spot, as they’ll be involved in a lot of pots. The main distinction between the gambler and the maniac is that the gambler will fold a little more often when he knows he’s beat. If however he has any chance to outdraw you, he will often take that chance. When you do happen to come across a big hand with the gambler it’s best to bet your hand strong. You could employ a similar rop-a-dope strategy of checking your hands to him and letting him do the betting for you, but the gambler, unlike the maniac, will check behind sometimes. Thus the most optimal play is to bet into him and hope to be raised. You can continuation bet against the gambler a little more often then the maniac, but make sure the flop is fairly draw-less if you do.
Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 50 / PFR =<10 / AGR =<7 / WTSD =< 24
&#61558; The Calling Station – Hopefully this should be an obvious one. If you miss the flop, you don’t want to bet into someone who will with any two, or any small piece of the flop. The calling station will gladly call any bet you put in front of him, so don’t do it on a bluff. Just wait for good hands that connect, and bet them all the way to the river, then make sure to say thank you. The calling station is of course easy to spot. They’ll be the person at the table calling and chasing every gut-shot, flush draw or one outer they can find. They hardly ever raise, and if they do, I hope you turbo toss your hands into the muck. Calling stations don’t bluff. I would highly recommend almost never continuation betting your missed flops into calling stations, as you’ll likely night chase them loose, and you may loose most of your chips trying to push them off of a hand.
Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 50 / PFR =<1 / AGR =<.25 / WTSD =< 24


The Type of Player You Are
How often you continuation bet is also very dependent upon your own personal playing style. If you play a fairly conservative style, and don’t raise that much before the flop, then your continuation bluff bets will likely get more respect, then let’s say a gambler type person who raises before the flop a lot. Not only must you be aware of the types of opponents you are facing, but you must also be aware of how you think the table perceives your style of play.
Also, don’t just blindly adjust your continuation bet frequency based upon your playing style that YOU actually play. Make sure that it fits how you’ve been currently playing at a given table. Take into account the number of times you’ve been involved in recent pots, the number times you’ve gone to showdown, how often you’ve raised, and the types of hands that you’ve showdown. EX: You may be a somewhat conservative player who raises around 5% of his starting hands, but let’s say you’ve just had a recent run of great cards. If you’ve been raising a whole lot, and not showing any cards, then you suddenly pick up AK again and raise, don’t go crazy if you miss the flop. You may even just check and give up the pot. A lot of raising by one particular player begins to build a tension at the table that someone eventually attempts to snap. Always be aware of your current play and how others may perceive you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just been playing your normal game or not, it only matters how others “think” you are playing.
Below is a small table with suggested adjustments to make with your continuation bets, based on your current “table image”.


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quarkncover
SSNL Grand Nagus


Reged: 05/01/05
Posts: 3210
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Re: Continuation Bet Article [Re: FreakDaddy]
      #5099843 - 03/17/06 07:55 PM

Freakdaddy-

Did you write this?

NH.


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yad
veteran


Reged: 08/31/05
Posts: 1546
Loc: stealing the button
Re: Continuation Bet Article [Re: quarkncover]
      #5101159 - 03/17/06 11:07 PM

Thanks, this is helpful. I've been struggling with issues of balancing lines lately and it's good to think in detail about the most common example of this.

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Grunch
Bounty Hunter


Reged: 08/25/04
Posts: 9623
Re: Continuation Bet Article [Re: FreakDaddy]
      #5101179 - 03/17/06 11:10 PM

FD - This is great stuff. I'd like to read all of it. May I? I can give you my email address if you like. If you are planning on having it published in the magazine, Ed will probably go gaga for it.

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FreakDaddy
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/05
Posts: 2719
Loc: Contemplating the realities
Re: Continuation Bet Article [Re: quarkncover]
      #5101358 - 03/17/06 11:42 PM

Quote:

Freakdaddy-

Did you write this?

NH.




Yeah, there's about 8 examples I have and some other material. It's kind of long really and the formating, graphs and other things don't come out well on here obviously.

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it.


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FreakDaddy
Carpal \'Tunnel


Reged: 01/10/05
Posts: 2719
Loc: Contemplating the realities
Re: Continuation Bet Article [Re: Grunch]
      #5101365 - 03/17/06 11:43 PM

Quote:

FD - This is great stuff. I'd like to read all of it. May I? I can give you my email address if you like. If you are planning on having it published in the magazine, Ed will probably go gaga for it.




It's already been published, but yes I can give you the whole thing. It looks a lot prettier in it's original form. Just PM me your e-mail.


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Wires
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/29/04
Posts: 1841
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Re: Continuation Bet Article [Re: FreakDaddy]
      #5101422 - 03/17/06 11:52 PM

Great stuff. Nice post.

Thanks.


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