As you develop your poker skills, the delayed continuation bet, or the c-bet, is something you will learn how to use. The c-bet is based on an awareness of two facts. It is hard to make a connection with the flop. The chance that you would flop a pair with a non-paired hand when playing Texas Hold’em is about one-third; also, the most aggressive player pre-flop typically has the strongest range.
However, players looking to capitalize with a c-bet have made the strategy a little too commonplace. It is possible to take advantage of the c-bet by floating and check-raising aggressively. Even so, it’s possible to make the c-bet pay off for you, by using the delayed c-bet.
A delayed c-bet happens when the pre-flop aggressor waits to bet until after the action that was checked through on the earlier street(s). When you check back with some quality hands, then you protect your checking range. It also keeps your c-betting from getting too wide. You won’t be putting too many iffy hands and bluffs out there. As a result, when you do bluff, it will be more effective.
When should you delay your c-bet?
If you have a made hand that lacks the strength for you to bet all three streets with value, then thinking about pushing off your c-bet. Do this when it is not likely that your hand will be outdrawn by hands that your opponent would fold at the flop. If you have a made hand that could be outdrawn, then c-betting on the flop would deny your opponent equity. That will make your opponent fold on unpaired hands that could end up paying off on the turn.
If you flop into a terrific hand on a dry board, a delayed c-bet can pay off. If your top set would block most of your opponent’s strong hands on a dry board, then checking beats betting.
Also, you should delay your c-bet if you have an iffy hand with a wet board. If you’re c-betting too many iffy hands at the flop on a wet board, your opponent can take advantage by turning up the check-raising. You can only keep yourself from being exploited when you have a strong hand, or a hand that you could fold against a check-raise. If your made hand is average, hold off on the c-bet until the turn, or even the river.
To recap – a delayed continuation bet happens when you wait to bet on the turn instead of taking advantage of a c-bet opportunity at the flop.
You can benefit from the delay because your checking range gets stronger; modulate your c-betting rate; you give your bluffs more power.
It is best to delay your c-bet when:
- the board is wet and your hand is nothing special
- when your terrific hand blocks a strong opponent hand
- and when your made hand has some quality but does not offer enough for you to bet all three streets for value.
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