Win More With a Delayed Continuation Bet

Every good poker needs to have a delayed continuation bet in their arsenal.

Continuation bets are part of every good poker player’s repertoire of tricks. It is a powerful move that continues preflop aggression and helps build and win pots. A delayed continuation bet is another move to have available in your arsenal. Why? You are about to find out.

Firing a continuation bet (c-bet) takes advantage of two main factors. The preflop aggressor almost always has the strongest range of hands of any other player in the hand. Two, we know it is difficult to connect with the flop. A well-timed c-bet often ends the hand there and then and takes down the pot uncontested.

The poker players of today are more knowledgeable and are aware not all c-bets represent strength. This leads to good players check-raising c-bets to put the initial aggressor in a tough spot. Furthermore, floating a c-bet, which is calling with the intention of betting on latter streets, is another common tactic. The continuation bet is a victim of its own success.

What Is Meant By a Delayed Continuation Bet?

A delayed continuation bet is the same as a traditional c-bet, but it happens on the turn, not the flop. You raise preflop, an opponent calls, and you both check the flop. You test the waters with a bet on the turn, meaning you have made a delayed continuation bet. Congratulations!

Why should you make a delayed continuation bet, we hear you ask. A standard c-bet is very effective, so why change it? Because delaying your aggression until the turn keeps your opponents guessing.

First, a delayed continuation bet strengthens your checking range. Only checking when you are weak, or drawing makes you easy to exploit. Observant players will eat you for breakfast.

Imagine you raise with pocket kings, one opponent calls, and the flop falls Kc-8s-4d. A delayed continuation bet here is a great idea. There are not many turn cards that weaken your hand or strengthen that of your opponent. You have the board sewn up. Getting to the showdown with your set of kings after not c-betting the flop will stick in the memory of your tablemates. They will not know whether you are weak or strong the next time you check the flop.

A delayed c-bet helps prevent you from c-betting too wide a range of hands. C-betting too often makes your ranges saturated with too many bluffs.

In addition, a delayed c-bet helps make your bluffing more effective. Your opponents’ range of hands narrows if they call your standard c-bet, meaning they are probably stronger on the turn. Delaying your c-bet until the turn means you get to play against their wider range on fourth street.

Ideal Scenarios For a Delayed C-Bet

We already touched on one situation where a delayed continuation bet is perfect. Flopping a powerful hand on a dry, uncoordinated board is a shining example of when to slow down. Checking such a board opens the door for your opponent to bluff the turn. Additionally, your opponent is very unlikely to check-raise your c-bet on such a flop and will mostly fold.

Hands that you are not comfortable betting all three streets are another spot to look out for. For example, raising Ad-4d on the button and the big blind calling. Your opponent checked the As-7c-2h flop; you can check behind. You have top pair but a weak kicker. Checking behind here allows you to go for value on the turn or even call your opponent down because they will not put you on an ace.

Finally, holding a medium-strength hand on a wet board is a good spot for a delayed continuation bet. C-betting with very strong hands (which you are happy to call with) or weak hands (which you are happy to fold with) are the best options on wet boards. Mediocre hands can check behind and see how things pan out on the turn.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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