C-Bet Strategy: Frequency and Sizing
Continuation betting is an absolutely fundamental skill. This play is a hallmark of any aggressive strategy, and knowing when to do it and how big to make them will help you win more big pots.
A c-bet, by definition, is a post-flop bet made by the pre-flop raiser (PFR). People typically check to the PFR, so c-bet strategy is something that comes up very often.
While there are a million variables that can affect a poker decision, we’re going to give you some insight about which ones should affect how often you’re c-betting and how big you’re making those bets. Keep in mind, however, that this advice mainly applies to a stack-to-pot ratio (SPR) of around 15, which will usually be when you have around 100 big blind effective stacks heads-up in a single raised pot.
How often you c-bet should come down to these three things:
The first one is pretty obvious. It’s the two cards you have—whether it’s a strong made hand, a marginal one, a draw, or a complete bust. The better the hand, the more we c-bet.
Range advantage is a bit more difficult to grasp. It refers to the advantage that one player’s likely range has over their opponents’ likely range on a given board. While the PFR has a range advantage over the caller on most boards—otherwise the caller would have 3-bet—this isn’t always the case, especially when the board is small, suited, and connected.
This also often comes down to position. An UTG raise contains many more big pairs and broadway hands than an open from the button, so a flop that connects well with those cards will give a much bigger range advantage to the UTG raiser.
How big do you make your c-bets? They can range from small, at half the pot or less, to the standard 2/3 pot, all the way to pot-sized and even overpot. Sizing considerations include these three factors:
The nut advantage refers to who has more “nut hands”--the best kind—in their range. Going back to our previous UTG raiser, let’s say the flop comes AKJ. UTG will have way more premium hands than the caller, so they can bet bigger.
Range connectivity, on the other hand, is all about how strongly a board hits the opponent’s likely continuing range. If it connects well, we want to price them out of drawing, so bet bigger. Otherwise, bet smaller to keep them in the pot chasing.