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Poker Strategy With Ryan Laplante: A Little More Work On The Continuation Bet

WSOP Bracelet Winner Explains Why Your C-Bet Game Probably Needs Some Work

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Ryan Laplante at the WSOPEveryone thinks that they have a good continuation-bet (c-bet) game. It is one of the most common moves in the game of hold’em and because everyone does it a lot they assume that they are at the very least are competent at it.

Unfortunately, almost everyone assumes wrong.

A good c-bet game is crucial to profitable poker, and that’s true whether you are playing tournaments or cash games. It is the cornerstone of post-flop play, and without an in-depth understanding of the theory that goes into it, you will be lost on future streets. This article will focus on the major factors of c-bet, starting with tournament play.

The major factors to consider, for both you and your opponents, are: stack depths, positions, preflop action, ranges, board texture (wet or dry, dynamic or static), range advantage, ability, history, ICM (independent chip model), and situational exploits.

Each one of these factors can influence what size we should bet and with what type of hands we can bet.

Let’s look at an example scenario, and I’ll explain how each of the main factors impact my decision.

EXAMPLE

It’s day 1 of a $600 buy-in tournament at the Wynn in Las Vegas. I have a 20,000-starting stack, and the blinds are 100-200 with a 200 big blind ante. I have ADiamond Suit J in early position and raise to 500. It folds to the cutoff (20,000 stack) who calls as well. Everyone else folds.

Flop: JClub Suit 8Club Suit 5Heart Suit (1,500)

We are deep effective to start this hand, at 100 big blinds deep preflop, or 12 pot-sized bets (PSB). I am out of position. This board texture has a lot of draws possible, meaning it is very wet. It is also a very dynamic board as many cards can hit on the turn or river that will change what a strong hand is. It is also a board texture that we and our villain in the cutoff are very apt to have fairly strong hands on. Being the preflop opener and having more combinations of top pair, and overpairs, we are at range advantage to some degree. We will assume the opponent is also a very skilled professional, so I will use no exploits and focus only on the theory behind my decision.

Deep Stack: Because of how deep we are I want to bet a larger amount than if we were short.

Position: As I am out of position, I want to choose a larger sizing.

Wet: This is a very draw-heavy board, because of this I want to choose a larger sizing.

Dynamic: As many turn cards could change how strong my hand is relatively, I want to go larger.

Ranges: Each of our ranges can hit this board hard, this makes it more wet relative to our ranges, so I want to go larger.

Range Advantage: I am at range advantage here, because of this I can either bet a little smaller or bluff a little more often.

Ability: Being up against a skilled opponent makes me want to choose a balanced sizing and to build my check and betting ranges in ways that are protected and well-balanced to the situation.

ICM: Being in the early stages of the tourney there is almost zero ICM pressure.

As virtually all of the above factors want us to choose a large sizing, I will choose a sizing here around 75-85 percent pot, or 1,200-1,300 into a pot of 1,500. Because I am choosing this large of a sizing, this means that I need to be very careful what I decide to bet with. I don’t want to go too thin for value, and I don’t want to bluff too often either. This means that I will check here a fairly high percentage of the time, around 40-60 percent.

Betting this large with a hand like 10-10 would be a mistake, and bluffing with a hand like AHeart Suit 4Heart Suit would also be a mistake. Being up against a skilled opponent, I also don’t want to bet all of the hands that are profitable value bets as I need to protect my range for when I check. So, I will check some of my worst J-x, I will also check hands like top and mid set and maybe a hand like AHeart Suit Ax or KHeart Suit Kx. I also will make sure that my bluffs are heavily focused on having good equity, being ones able to barrel easily on turns and rivers often.

The above is just a brief look into how each factor impacts sizing and range we choose to bet or check with. If you want to be a very skilled player you need to master each of the factors that go into the theory of c-betting. ♠

Ryan Laplante is a WSOP Bracelet winner. He has more than $5 million in tournament cashes with eight WSOP final tables. His website is PokerProtential.com, and he is a coach for ChipLeader Coaching at clcpoker.com