You raise pre-flop and get called. You whiff the flop. Or maybe you hit a small piece of it. If you c-bet, you may pick up the pot. Then again, you may not. What issues do you consider when determining whether to c-bet or not?
There are times you’re correct to c-bet, other times you’re not. It’s a situationally-dependent option. It’s right when your fold equity, the equity you pick up when you win outright plus your hand/play equity make the cost of betting +EV. That equation depends upon the texture of your opponents, the strength of your hand, the implied odds of your hand should you get called and make a hand, the odds of getting played off your hand, the number of your opponents, your position, and the board texture.
The size of the pot and the size of your bet also come into play. The bigger the reward, the smaller the risk, the higher the c-bet’s value. Obviously, the greater the chances your opponents will fold, the greater the value of your c-bet. But additional value comes from the equity of your hand. How will your hand play against their calling range? Can you hit a good card and obtain value if you’re called? Conversely, will hitting your hand likely get you in trouble? Will they bluff at you if you check? Does your hand have showdown value or can it only win with a bet? What is your opponents’ folding range equity? If you bet and get them to fold a situation in which they have little equity, then you haven’t gained much.
What are the odds you will get raised and be forced to fold? If you’re out of position, they’ll likely bet anyway. But if you’re last to act, c-bet your hand, and get check-raised off it, you’ve lost your hands equity. If you checked, you’d get a free card, one that hopefully adds value. So, be more careful when c-betting check-raising prone opponents’.
Yes, that’s a lot to think about! And it’s just the basics. Reread and think through how each question effects the value of your c-bet. Understand those concepts, and apply the logic to your c-betting decisions.
Another factor for c-betting is the number of opponents, the greater, the more likely that you’ll be called.
Your position is crucial. When out of position, you’re forced to base your c-bet decision with less information than in position. Furthermore, opponents are more likely to call your bet with weaker hands when in position.
Some boards hit your opponent’s range better than others. Additionally, some boards cause your opponents’ to read you for a stronger hand. The texture of the board, how wide a range of hands it hits, and how your opponent’s will perceive how the board hits your range all affect the value of your c-bet. In short, the less likely the board hits their range and the more likely they think it hits your range, the stronger the value of your c-bet.
It’s a lot to think about, and it’s only the basic concepts. But the more accurately you weigh your c-betting decisions, the greater overall EV you’ll obtain. These c-betting situations come up constantly when you play NL, making it important that you get this right.
So, take the time and make the effort to fine tune your c-betting, it will make a big difference in your results!
April 30, 2016 at 10:22 pm
Great post! This is something I struggle with. I get caught up in “defending” my hand instead of focusing on the EV of the C-Bet. This is especially true when I have a small pocket pair with a flop that is showing at least 1 face card.