Many times, you’ll pickup a most commonly sought-after hand, A-K, and you’ll be in position to put in a raise, only to find you have several callers. When the flop hits the board and misses your hand, you’re faced with an immediate and critical decision.
Because of your preflop raise, you’ll most likely be the first to act after the flop as players respecting your raise will check to you, and accordingly, the continuation bet is used.
Keep in mind, however, opponents are aware the flop (texture) probably didn’t help your hand and one or more of them will be reluctant to fold if they hold any pair, big draw or overcards to the board.
How aggressively or cautiously you proceed with a raggedy flop (or dry board), holding two premium overcards depends primarily on the number of opponents and their quality. Should there be two or fewer opponents, the continuation bet, so aptly named as you’re continuing the aggressive betting you used preflop, is made.
The correct play here is to bet again in spite of missing on the flop, unless one of several conditions exists within the texture of the flop.
If it contains three to a flush, three coordinated or running cards for a straight or a pair in the playing zone (cards others would hold if calling a raise) and your holding doesn’t fit with the flush cards or straight cards, you must consider options other than a continuation bet.
To be clear, if you held A-J offsuit and the ace is in the suit of the three-flush, continue to pound the pot, and if your jack extends a run of unsuited cards (10-9-8), continue your betting sequence. Occasionally, the ace or jack will provide another draw (longer odds), such as a gutshot straight draw with a flop such as K-10-2, or 8-10-7. To continue the bet would be a semibluff, as you have many outs that can improve your holding, though presently you have only ace-high.
More experienced players using the continuation bet will use this technique even with more than two opponents, especially if they feel opponents consider them a solid-aggressive player. More next time as we build a solid foundation at the $1-$2 tables.
— Al Spath is the former Dean at Poker School Online and his YouTube videos (Building a Bankroll at the Micro-Limits), are free to any subscriber to “Al Spath.” His TwitchTV Channel is Al Spath. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for coaching and mentoring.