With one card in your suit Should you bet and if so how much

Answer: A continuation bet of $350 to $400 would be a good move here. It's possible that the king hit your opponent's hand, but more likely it didn't. If your opponent called with a hand like a pair of sevens, he may see the two overcards on the board, realize that his chance of improving on the next two cards is very slim, and throw away the best hand.

A continuation bet is a kind of semi-bluff. It's a move which can work in several ways. You may have the best hand, and the bet builds the pot. You may have the worst hand, but the bet chases your opponent away. Even if you have the worst hand and your opponent correctly calls, the bet may cause him to check on a later round, giving you a free card.

For a continuation bet to be a profitable move, the amount of the bet has to be carefully chosen in comparison to the pot. In essence, you are hoping to buy the pot right now. If you overpay, you '11 lose too much money when your opponent calls with a hand better than yours. If you underpay, you '11 be offering your opponent correct pot odds to stick around with a drawing hand. Neither situation is good, so the exact amount of the bet is very important.

I like my continuation bets to be about half the size of the pot, a small enough amount so that I don't lose too much when I'm called, while still being large enough to chase out a lot of drawing hands. When you bet half the pot, you need to win only one-third of your bets to break even. At the same time, you're not giving great drawing odds to your opponent. Suppose you bet $100 at a pot of $200. From your opponent's point of view, he would now have to put in $100 to call a pot of $300, so he's getting only 3-to-1 on his call. Most drawing situations need better odds than that.

Why not bet a little less to get even better odds? If you made a continuation bet of, let's say, one-third of the pot, you'd need to win only one time in four to break even. But now you're offering better calling odds to your opponent (4-to-1 on their call), so many players will now call your bet. On the other hand, if you bet more money to chase people out, you'll lose too much money when you actually are called. Betting about half the pot is a balanced play which gives you the best risk-reward ratio in most situations.

Remember, however, that as with all other bets, you must conceal what you're doing from your opponents. Although a half-pot bet is an ideal size, your actual bets should vary randomly around that number, say from about 40 percent of the pot on the low side to 70 percent on the high side. On average you'll be betting the amount you want, but the range is large enough to prevent your opponents from getting a clear read.

A flop doesn't need to consist of just low cards to be a good flop for a continuation bet.

Example No. 2. In fourth position you raised before the flop with

The player in sixth position calls, and everyone else folds. More often than not, calls from players in late position indicate low to medium pairs. A player with a high pair or ace-king would tend to raise, while many other high card hands would fold.

The flop comes

This is a favorable texture for you, and you should lead out with a continuation bet. In the most likely case that your opponent has a low to medium pair, he has to assume that the flop helped you, and his hand is now no good.

In the same situation, even though a flop of

would be very scary, you would still usually make a continuation bet, since your opponent can still have a hand that he would fold.

Example 3. You raised in sixth position with

♦é *

*

and were called by the button. The flop came

This is a very poor flop for you, which may have hit your opponent's hand in various ways. Don't try a continuation bet here. Just check and hope to get a free card. Fold if he bets.

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