In this episode: Cbet Principles. I discuss the fundamentals behind the most important post-flop play for all of us pre-flop aggressors.
In episode 132 I answered two listener questions about keeping your poker study notes extremely organized and getting beyond your fear of being bluffed.
What is the Cbet and Why Make Them (2:30)
The Continuation Bet, or the Cbet, is a bet on the flop made by the pre-flop aggressor in the hand.
You raised, somebody called, and now you have the lead once the flop hits.
There are 3 key reasons for cbetting:
- You displayed strength by raising pre-flop, your opponent is weak b/c they just called, and now you’re putting pressure on your opponent and utilizing fold equity to win the pot right now.
- Most hands and ranges of hands aren’t improved much on the flop. Most ranges “hit” flops about 35% of the time. By “hit” I mean that they flop TP+ or an oesd+. So, if they “hit” 35%, they miss 65% so your opponents are more likely to fold on the flop.
- If you flop a hand worthy of going for value, and the stacks are deep, you’ve got to get more money in now so you can pile more money in later to eventually get all the money in and stack your opponent.
Value vs Bluff Cbets (5:25)
The most important question to ask yourself before you click that button is: Why am I cbetting? The answer should be for value or as a bluff.
Value Cbets: you must be able to name some hands from their range that you beat and that they’ll call you with. If there’s nothing they’ll call you with, then you may be better off checking instead.
Bluff Cbets: you must be able to name hands in their range that beat you, but can be folded. If they’re not folding, you’re not bluffing.
Most of the time, when we discuss cbetting, we’re talking about it in terms of bluffing or semi-bluffing. Most ranges hit only 35% of the time, so if you’re cbetting 70% or more, then more than half of your cbets are bluffs.
For a great tournament-related discussion of semi-bluffing, PokerNerve.com put out a super detailed article with plenty of hand examples.
This same idea of most flops not helping most ranges is why your opp’s nowadays don’t fold so easily to cbets. You’re cbet bluffing because THEY likely didn’t improve, and they’re calling because YOU likely didn’t improve. It can be a game of chicken. But, if you’re using a HUD and they aren’t, then you’ve brought a tank and they’ve brought a Volvo to this duel.
Important Stats (6:50)
These stats will help you figure out how your opponent is likely to react before you make the cbet.
- Fold to Cbet – the higher the better when you’re considering a bluff cbet. Anything over 65% means they’re pretty flop honest vs cbets and you can push them off more easily.
- Raise Cbet – Some players like to raise cbets as bluffs especially when IP. Anything over 10% is likely a bluffer, and over 20% is surely a bluffer. You only flop strong hands worthy of raising maybe 10%.
- Check-Raise – Same as raise cbet, over 10% is a bluffer. If you’ve played 1,000 hands and you’ve never seen this player check-raise until now, fold the hand unless you’re near the nuts.
Make sure you’re also aware of your own Cbet stat. What does your current stat at this table say about you? If it’s at 35% over 100 hands, then you are pretty straight-forward and flop honest. If it’s at 55%, then you’re mixing in some bluffs and semi-bluffs with your value hands, and if it’s at 75% or greater, then you’re full of it and your perceptive opp’s will notice this.
The main thing with sizing your value bets or your bluff bets is you don’t want to telegraph your hand strength with your sizing. We all know that anything between a minbet to ½ pot is often weak, so don’t bet that small if you’re bluffing. I recommend you size all your cbets at 2/3 to ¾ pot every time (I go 2/3 pot). Keep it the same and they’ll be less likely to glean some info from your sizing.
There is something to say for sizing it slightly smaller with your bluffs to save you some money, and sizing it a little bigger with your value bets to earn more money. But don’t just do so willy-nilly. Consider the opp you’re up against. If they’ll fold to a smaller bet just as often as a bigger one, then make it smaller. If they’re a station and will call a ¾ pot bet just as frequently as a 2/3 pot bet, then bet bigger.
Whatever your goal is, tailor it to the opponent to get the reaction you want from them.
Join me for 28 Days of Poker Study as I celebrate the release of my new book: How To Study Poker Volume 1. I’ll share with you everything I study and every technique I use during my challenge starting on April 2nd. Click here to learn more and to join.
Opponents and Positions (11:10)
HU pots are much easier to gain value from, as well as easier to bluff at; you only have one opponent and one range to be concerned with.
But MW pots are a different story. It’s tougher to bluff MW because so many wide ranges seeing the flop have a good chance of connecting. Getting all these players off the pot with a cbet is pretty tough.
Another thing that makes cbets difficult is being OOP. Give yourself a better chance at successful cbet bluffing by making them more IP as opposed to OOP. People love to float the cbet then take it away from you when you check the turn. If you only want to fire one barrel, and you think it’ll take more than one to get your opponent off their hand, don’t fire that first one.
Board Textures (12:05)
Texture matters. Think about their calling range and how well it hits the board. A calling range comprised of small-medium pairs, lots of sc’s and some broadways doesn’t hit a A43r flop so well, nor does it hit an K92 flop so well. But, this kind of middle card and pp heavy range hits the 578 or T98 flops very well. If the board smacks their range, you should be much less likely to bluff cbet.
Cbetting Checklists (12:50)
For Value Cbetting:
- You must be able to name the weaker hands they can call you with
- If they’ll fold everything you beat and only call with better, don’t make the cbet
- You must look at their HUD stats first to help give an indication of their likely response
- You want to size it to 2/3 or 3/4 pot, and adjust it up or down depending on how likely your opponent is to call
- Be much more careful when cbetting into a MW pot
- Consider the board texture and how their range interacts with it
For Bluff Cbetting:
- If you can list better hands they’ll fold, then make the cbet
- If they won’t fold, don’t bluff
- When the flop board texture smacks their range, don’t bluff
- If you’re OOP, be less inclined to bluff cbet
- And if it’s a MW pot, be less inclined as well.
Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:
Ask yourself the Poker Focusing Question to guide you to your next area of study. “What’s the ONE Thing I can study right now, such that by learning it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Your answer to this question is the next item you must study as it will build a foundation for future studies.
Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.
Thank you so much for supporting the show! It’s incredible poker peeps like you who keep me going.
Smart HUD Purchaser – Robert Diprose
In podcast #134, I’ll hit class 2 of MED #6 and I’ll dive deep into board textures.
Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.