Forcing other players to fold is probably the most efficient way to collect chips in poker. While winning a big pot against another opponent is always great, it cannot be counted on, as a big pot requires some combination of big hands, aggressive play, and intestinal fortitude. The big pot will be a sporadic occurrence, while forcing the fold will be oneâ€™s main method of collecting chips.
The continuation bet is one of the most useful tools in forcing others to fold. The continuation bet shows that one is confident in their hand and is willing to stake their chips on the assumption that their hand is indeed the best one. While it is a common enough tactic to make opponents wonder whether the player is trying to steal the pot, most players wonâ€™t risk their chips to find out unless their hand improved or they want to counter with a steal attempt of their own. Because of this, the continuation bet will oftentimes pick up the pot, even if the playerâ€™s hand did not improve.
Of course, making a continuation bet requires that a player have raised or bet on a previous round of betting. The most common type of continuation bet occurs when a player raises before the flop, receives one or two callers, and then is the first player to bet upon the flop. A player will usually only make a continuation bet if there are only one or two callers, as it will become much harder to win the pot outright if there are anymore players in the hand, as a call becomes more likely with each additional person in the hand.
A continuation bet should be large enough to scare players out of the pot, while being small enough so has not to raise suspicion. Generally speaking, this amount should be mathematically calculated so that the other players are not getting proper odds to make a call. Pay attention to the board cards and what possibilities they bring. If there is a possibility for a flush draw on the board, bet enough so that the odds are not in the favor of anyone who would want to chase the draw.
Of course, if you are playing Limit Holdem instead of No-Limit Holdem you will have no choice to make concerning your bet size. You should still make a continuation bet on the flop, as this shows more confidence than checking on the flop to get to the turn where so that you can make a larger bet to give worse odds to any potential callers. Doing this takes the risk of an opponent improving their hand or even just making them believe that they can put pressure on you due to your timidity on the flop.
The continuation bet is an incredible tool when properly used, but, like most tools, it wonâ€™t work as well if abused. Be calculating when you make a continuation bet and start looking for a large amount of small pots to come your way.