Many players new to poker will wonder when they should place a continuation Bet or when they should not place one. Continuation betting is a form of aggressively betting after the flop has been dealt when you have raised preflop. The usual continuation bet is roughly half the current pot size.
An example of this is you have a pair of tens preflop and are seated in the 3rd seat. The blinds are $5/$10. The player in seat 2 folds and you opt to raise the pot 3x the big blind to $30. All other players fold except one other play. The flop is dealt 3, J, 4, which is not at all bad looking from your position. When looking at the flop you see only one card higher than the pair you are holding so you need to fire out a continuation bet. In this care you need to bet a minimum of $30 and the result will be the other player folds, calls or raises. The risk is relatively small in comparison to the overall pot size.
When is the right time or wrong time to place a Continuation Bet?
The answer to this question really comes down to who you are facing at the table and the flop itself. Should you for example have a K-Q and you failed to pair the board and the flop came 10, 9, 3 then this would justify a continuation bet as you have two over cards and a possible straight. Yet if you have 6-7 and the flop was Q-5-K it would be not a wise decision to fire out a continuation bet.
You also need to understand the players you are facing and their playing styles in order to gauge if placing a continuation bet is wise based on how often they play their hands and how they bet into a hand. Based on your cards and the flop it may be wise not to fire out a continuation bet. Another factor is the size of opponents chip stacks as if they are large stacked a continuation bet of half the pot will often not be enough to push them off a hand. This could put you in a position whereby you are now pot committed and may lose a sizeable amount of your bankroll in attempting to push opponents off a hand.
When firing out a continuation bet the image you have on the table will also play a factor on whether players will call you or fold. If you play aggressively you will be seen as a loose player and those who have a hand will call you or will call with a strong potential hand as well.
Hopefully this article has helped shed some light onto continuation betting and the different scenarios you will face when placing one. The goal is to help you stop and think about the different ways a continuation bet can be seen as and how best to think it through prior to placing one.