Friday, November 02, 2007

Pot Sized Continuation Bet

Pot Sized Continuation Bet. What does it mean? This has continued to be on my mind since my last post which included a hand from the Mook against Astin . The basic gist was that there was an UTG 3x raise with a flop of Axx which included both potential flush and straight draws. UTG led out with a pot sized bet. The question of the day is what do you make of this bet?

But before, we go onto that, I'll breifly mention my 1st day of SNGs for the month of November. Again, I played my typical set of 6 SNGs. Unfortunately, I have started off on the negative side of things as I went 2 for 6 and again I am starting off badly regarding bubbles. I had 1 1st and 1 3rd and 2 4ths and 2 others. One of the bubbles I went out with AA vs KJ. KJ was better on this occasion. 2nd bubble, I was behind; but hoping for a push with my A7 going against A8.. Ace on flop along with 2 over cards.. 8 on turn sealed the deal. So I am a whopping 3 dollars down on the month. I will stay with the $10+1 SNGs this month until I see positive results.

Plus, Full Tilt is having some kind of SNG Madness thing this weekend. I won't be around too much over the weekend; but it will be interesting to see how this turns out. Some of the things they will be doing is taking part of the prize pool and dividing that up in to bountys. I'm not sure I like that as I am not usually they guy knocking people out early. We'll take a look and see as I'm sure this will bring many more people to the SNG tables.

Back to the Continuation bet thing. I discussed this topic a bit on 2+2 and had some interesting comments; but I placed in the Single Table Tourney forum as I wanted just a general discussion on this.

Back to the hand. This will be, by the way, hopefully both theoretical while still using this hand as an example. In this hand, Astin puts out the pot sized bet on the flop on a semi dry board. What does this mean? Here is some of the things that I think it could be (particularly with a EP
raiser with a pot sized flop bet while still being in position):

-He has a big Ace and is protecting against straight and flush draws
-He has a mid to little Ace and is protecting
-He has a big pair and didn't like the Ace but is putting a big enough bet to deter a call.
-He has nothing but maybe broadway cards.

I can't speak for Astin other than to say he is (to me) an aggressive; yet solid player. He has been known to raise a bunch. So, now we are making this case a little more specific saying that we are playing against an aggressive player.

Perhaps, plenty of people throw out pot sized bets as continuation bets as a standard operating procedures; but I don't agree with that.. especially if you are strong. Now, I do believe in protecting your hands on non dry boards; but my C-bets are typically around 1/2 pot to 3/4 pot. That doesn't mean that is the correct to play them. I tried to do a quick poll of my Hand Histories to see how often I did pot sized C-Bets but couldn't find an easy way to do this Poker Tracker; but I'll bet that I only do it when I have a monster hand or a hand that needs protecting such AQ or AK or JackAce.

Of course alot of these type things are read dependent; but recently, my first thoughts when I see a pot sized bet on the flop is weakness. Again, especially with a dry board. So, the question comes down to how to act when you see this. For me, it goes back to my hand, my stack, and my position.

My hand. In order to call or raise, I need to have something. I hardly EVER push with air. If I do raise or call, I want to have some outs or some implied outs based on betting patterns. In other words, what if that straight card or flush cards come. I can easily take control of the hand and lead out.

My Stack. What is my stack compared to the preflop raiser. This is a huge deal for me in a tournament. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to know that more chip equals more power. If you put pressure on somebody that will cost them all of their chips, it makes it much more difficult to call.

My position. We all know that position is the all important ingrediant in poker; but in these type situations, it is not as big of a deal for me and alot of times, I would rather be the first one to act. If I'm in steal mode, I want to be the person who first gets to put on the pressure. I don't want to give the original raiser the chance to put pressure on me or even draw a free card that might help him. Of course, I wouldn't mind too much a free card since I was drawing; but in these type cases, I don't necessarily want a showdown to disguise what I am doing.

We all know about the different levels of thinking in poker and it is important to tell your story with some cosistency; but sometimes just shoving on the turn when you perceive somebody does not have a made hand can be worth it. I need him to believe that by calling preflop and calling a pot sized bet that I have something... but at the same time put in his mind that I may be bluffing. So, what do you typically put a person on when they call two bullets and the turn card is a card that most likely doesn't help anybody? I think it shows monster strength or bluffing with a draw as I did this time.

Truthfully, the most reaction was that I played the hand terribly and that I was being results oriented in my thinking. I don't think so; but that is OK.

Some final thoughts. I'm not sure why you put in pot sized C-bets on the flop unless you want to scare some people away. If you have a strong hand or if you want to see where you are at a smaller bet can achieve the same thing. Again, unless it is a very coordinated board, there is no need. Now, I'm not sure what Astin had other than I know that I was behind as he comment on the previous post. He also mentioned that he thought that I could be a big draw; but it wasn't worth all of his chips to find out.

Boy, there is so much that you could talk about when it comes to these type bets on the flop; but I have run out of time.

Have a good weekend!!!



Fuel55 said...

Potting the flop in the first 10 levels of a tournament is too much IMO

Astin said...

I try to mix up my betting a bit during a game. Too many people stick to hard-and-fast rules based on their cards. I could have just as easily bet out 1/2 the pot there or checked and risked you filling your draw.

I think, as you've pointed out, I also had a bunch of factors coming into play when decided to pot the flop. My stack was starting to get small, and you had me covered by a small amount. That bet was probably my last chance to make a strong non-all-in shot at a pot if you don't fold. In short, I wanted you gone.

Who links to my website?