How Often Should You CBet? (Optimal Percentage)

How Often Should You CBet?

Something that people ask me a lot is how often should you CBet in poker.

And this is because a CBet is a powerful play in poker because it really forces your opponent to have a strong hand. The reason why is because this "line" as we call it shows incredible strength.

But how often should you CBet? What is a good CBet percentage? These are the questions that I am going to answer for you in this article.


What is a CBet in Poker?


First off, what is a CBet in poker though? A "C-bet" or "CBet" stands for continuation bet in poker.

Basically this means that you raised the pot preflop (or re-raised it), and then you "continued" with the aggression on the flop by making another bet.

The reason why this is such a powerful play in poker is because it shows a ton of strength. By raising preflop you are basically saying to your opponent "Hey look, I have a strong hand, you should consider folding."

And then when you continue betting again on the flop you are basically saying "Hey look, I have a really strong hand, you should strongly consider folding now."

And in most cases you will get people to fold by taking this line if they have nothing at all. Many tight players will even fold a weak draw or bottom pair in this situation.

Since you will miss the flop completely 2 out of 3 times when you play poker, you can probably already see why a CBet is such a profitable weapon in poker.

And that is why I highly recommend you use it often.


How Often Should You CBet? What is a Good CBet Percentage?


So let's start by talking about how how often you should CBet in poker. Now this is firstly going to depend on what type of player you are up against.

Are you playing against:
  • Tight passive?
  • Loose aggressive?
  • Recreational player (fish)?

All of these different player types will react differently to your CBet. And so depending on your desired result (building a pot or simply getting them to fold), you may want to adjust accordingly.

By the way, if you are new to understanding player types in poker, the best way to get this information in through simple observation.

If you play online then using a HUD like PokerTracker can also help tremendously.

I don't want to get too sidetracked explaining player types in this article though. I have already written the most comprehensive article available online for understanding poker player types.

You can find that article right here.

I also discuss player types even further in this poker YouTube video I recently made:


So despite the fact that how often I make a CBet will vary quite a bit depending on the player type, I do have a general rule of thumb that I recommend.

And that is to make a CBet on the flop roughly 70% of the time.

I should mention that I am talking about low stakes games here where there tend to be a lot of overly tight nits who fold too much to flop CBets and only fight back with a really strong hand.

At higher stakes where you will encounter much higher skilled balanced opponents, your CBet percentage will need to be lower than this, typically 50%.


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Cbet percentage
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How Often Should You CBet Versus Multiple Opponents?


Now I do need to be extremely clear that when I recommend having a CBet percentage of 70% on the flop, I am talking about when you are facing a single opponent.

If you are up against two, three or more players on the flop, then you need to tone down your CBetting frequency tremendously.

And the reason why is because when there are multiple players in the pot with you the chances of one of them having something good go up considerably.

One of the most important points when determining how often to make a CBet in poker is finding that sweet spot where you are making them fold enough but also getting value when you want it.

If you try to make a CBet 70% of the time versus two or three players on the flop you will be lighting money on fire for sure.

So versus two opponents I would recommend making a CBet 50% of the time at the most. Versus three or more opponents, your CBet percentage should drop even further.



What is a Good CBet Sizing on the Flop?


Alright, so next let's talk about what is a good CBet sizing to use on the flop.

Now there are many different schools of thought with this and if you have read my best selling poker strategy book Crushing the Microstakes, then you know that I recommend several different CBet sizings in the book.

Most notably I recommend making large adjustments to your CBet size when you are playing against recreational players (fish), as opposed to regular players (regs).

For example, check this poker hand I recently reviewed against a poker fish:


However, once again let's try to find a rough rule of thumb to go by here.

I would recommend making your flop CBet size about 60% of the pot in most small stakes cash games.

In poker tournaments you should size down a little bit here. I would recommend making your CBet size no larger than 50% in a tournament due to the shallower stack sizes.

And in 3-bet pots, whether you are playing cash games or tournaments, your CBet sizing should always be 50% at the very most.

Once again 3-bet pots is something that is a bit outside the scope of this article and playing them is a unique skill that you need to learn if you want to be successful in poker.

I have already written the #1 most comprehensive poker 3-betting strategy article available today online as well.

You can find it right here.

And lastly, I also want to be clear that in this article I am only talking about small stakes poker games (which is what 90% of the people reading this article play).

If you play mid or high stakes poker games, where there is a much higher emphasis places on game theory and balance, then CBet sizings of 30% or 40% of the pot are very common, and usually correct.


What Flop Textures Should You Make a CBet On?


Next let's talk about what flop textures to make a CBet on.

Because the truth is that when I recommend to make a CBet "70% of the time" or something like that, it doesn't actually mean anything unless you know which 70% of the time to make that CBet!

The answer is that you want to be making your CBet on dry and uncoordinated flops. And luckily, that is the vast majority of them.

In fact, in Modern Small Stakes I identify 11 different flop textures:

How Often Should You CBet? Continuation bet percentage

And as I recommend in the book, you should only avoid making a CBet (with a bad hand) on 3 of these 11 boards.

This is why it is best to memorize what flop textures to AVOID making a CBet on rather than focus on the ones where you should CBet. Because you should CBet on the large majority of them.

Basically, the only flop textures that you want to avoid making a CBet on (assuming you have nothing of course), is a flop that is wet and coordinated.

These are flops like:
  • 678♠
  • 9TJ♣

The reason why you want to avoid making a CBet on these flops with a bad hand is because the chances that your opponent(s) hit these boards is the highest.

There are so many different pair, pair+draw, two pair and made straight possibilities on these flops that it makes your head spin!

These are called "action heavy" boards for a reason because people often hit them. This is especially the case with somebody who just called you preflop.

They will have a lot of suited connectors, broadways and mid pocket pairs in their range like:
  • T9
  • 98
  • KJ
  • QJ
  • 99
  • 88
  • 77

Most of these hands smash these two flop textures extremely hard. So that is why if you have nothing it is best to avoid making a CBet on these types of flops.

You will simply get called or played back at too often.

By the way, if you want a more detailed and mathematically approached solution to flop texture CBetting versus various player types, check out The Upswing Poker Lab.

This advanced poker training system does an excellent job of explaining exactly when to make a CBet and when to just check.


Final Thoughts


So how often should you make a CBet? What is a good CBet percentage?

Well, I would say that versus a single opponent at the lower stakes a good CBet percentage is around 70%. But in higher stakes games, this percentage should be quite a bit lower.

Versus multiple opponents you should tone it down no matter what stakes you are playing. And this is because the chances that somebody hit the flop hard go up considerably.

Finding the right CBet size is a little bit more tricky because it depends heavily on the type of game you are playing and the player type you are up against.

But in general, you want to make it around 60% of the pot in small stakes cash games. Around 40% of the pot is more common in high stakes cash games. And 40% is also common in tournaments.

Lastly, you want to avoid making a CBet on highly coordinated and wet flop textures where the chances of you getting a fold are the lowest.

This is assuming that you didn't hit the board yourself of course.

If you want to know my complete strategy for consistently making $1000+ per month in low stakes poker games, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

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Let me know how often you make a CBet in the comments below. Do you agree or disagree with the CBet percentages that I recommend in this article?

How Often Should You CBet?

5 comments:

  1. What about Cbetting with over-pairs on wet and coordinated boards? Do we Cbet or check. You only addressed not Cbetting when we have nothing on wet and coordinated boards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey AJM,

      This is why I write entire poker books :) There are far too many factors involved to cover everything in a short little blog post like this.

      However, in general, yes you should still be CBetting the large majority of the time on wet and coordinated boards versus one opponent.

      There are certain aggressive player types who I will mix in some check/calls and some check/raises against on these types of boards when I am OOP (out of position).

      This is something that I discuss at length in The Micro Stakes Playbook.

      https://www.blackrain79.com/p/the-micro-stakes-playbook.html

      On wet and coordinated boards versus multiple opponents OOP I will CBet a little bit less often (depends how many players).

      When I am IP (in position) versus multiple opponents I will CBet often on wet and coordinated board textures.

      The stakes that I am playing will also influence my decision making because I use more exploitative strategies at the lower limits and mix in a bit more GTO at higher stakes.

      I hope this helps. And I hope it helps you understand the complexity of the situation. Every situation in poker is different.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the quick reply, and thanks for going into more detail on Cbetting. I switched too playing low (occasionally mid stake) MTT'S 2 years ago. I just recently realized having a Cbet of 70% is too high in these MTT'S especially the tougher ones on ACR. I still feel like I'm struggling when I'm lucky enough to get to HU in a MTT. I seem to come in 2nd more than 1st. Nice to see you cover MTT's in your book. I might have to check it out. Do you have any suggestions on how to improve in HU in MTT'S.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HU is a slightly different beast than ring. I suggest playing HUSNG's for practise. I also suggest learning the known equilibrium strategy below ~12bbs (Proven optimal and described in "The Mathematics of Poker"). Especially in the late stages of a tournament HU play is going to depend very heavily on your opponent so practise is one of the best tools at your disposal.

      Delete
  3. ill probably never cbet against someone esp multiway who buys in less than 50bb poker, cause its stupid once you get called you have to shut down on turn (im talking about cash game), these passive regs are just nonsense they buy in short just to get lucky.

    ReplyDelete