Defending Against the Continuation Bet With Stephen Krex

The Continuation bet, or C-bet, is the strongest bluff commonly used in poker. I went into more detail in the previous post, but basically the c-bet is a continuation of pre-flop aggression. The pre-flop bettor takes advantage of the 70% chance that his opponent didn’t hit the flop. This works often enough to be profitable and many players will do it 80% or even 100% of the time. Learning to recognize and defend against the c-bet is important yet difficult.
It would be an understatement to say that Stephen must have position to properly defend against the c-bet. Though it is important that you defend against c-bets, you will still need to fold to them most of the time. Too many defended c-bets will lead to exploitation by opponents the same way that too few will. My rule is 1 out of 5 times.
Stephen Krex says you must first put your opponent on a range before you try to defend against his continuation bet. It’s always possible that he hit the flop hard and is making a legitimate bet. So why should you defend against the c-bet? There are two reasons: one, to prevent your opponent from stealing every pot from you. Secondly, you need to disguise your hands so that it isn’t obvious when you do hit the flop. The 1 out of 5 rule will help with this.
To put your opponent on a range, you need to gather some information on him. Whether you take mental or paper notes or use a program, check out his stats. If he’s a tight player, odds are that he’s got a good hand. Likewise, if he’s a loose player, it is more likely that he’s just making a c-bet. In addition, note his position. A player who raises under the gun or in early position is more likely to have a good hand than one who raises on the button or in the cutoff position.
So if you have determined that your opponent is making a continuation bet and you want to defend, you now have two options: call or raise. Just calling is a good idea against tight players, who are likely to check/fold to you on the turn. Call rarely, as a player who notices your line might fake weakness by checking on the turn and then proceed to re-raise you. Keep in mind what hand you’re representing. Against these tight players consider calling on a flop with an ace or king, because your opponent will likely put on you a pair. If you call on a low board, though, your opponent will probably put you on a draw. This will make it hard to raise on the turn if the “draw” isn’t completed and you will almost certainly be facing another barrel.
Raising is a good option on low boards that aren’t likely to have hit your opponent, like 268, or flops that look like a draw. If you raise a tight opponent on such a board, he may put you on an over pair and fold.
Be careful and remember that defending too often is a mistake.