Posted May 21, 2023
Owner and Lead Pro
Professional Cash game trainer Bart Hanson has been producing strategy content for over fifteen years. He first started on Live at the Bike! back in 2005, then moved on to host "Cash Plays" on Poker Road, then "Deuce Plays" on Deuces Cracked and then to CrushLivePoker in 2012.
In his career as a professional poker player, Bart Hanson has:
-6 WSOP Final Tables
-Over 15 years of experience at the table
-Over $1,000,000 in tournament earnings
-Multiple appearances on ESPN and Poker Night in America
-4th place finish in 2019 WSOP Monster Stack
4 Fundamentals to C-betting As The Preflop Raiser
So you’ve raised preflop and gotten one or more callers, now what? Understanding when and why you c-bet as the preflop raiser is one of the most important skills to master in live poker. These common spots can have a big impact on your win rate so it’s important to have a c-bet game plan. Today we’re going to go over four fundamentals that should give you a good understanding of how c-betting works heads up and multiway.
C-bet Bluff Less When Heads-Up
When you’re heads up with your opponent, you should c-bet bluff less with any hands that have showdown value. Especially when you have good non-paired hands like K♥ Q♦ on A♠ J♦ 3♣, you want to do more checking back than when multiway. You’ll sometimes be ahead with these non-paired hands, and you can improve to good pairs or nutted hands on future streets. You also don’t have to worry about protecting your hand as much, since you’re only facing one opponent. As a general rule, you should be c-bet bluffing less when heads-up than when multiway, especially when your hand has a good amount of showdown value.
Structure Your C-bet Bluffs Carefully When Multiway
When c-betting into two or more opponents, you have to understand that your perceived range is much stronger. When you do c-bet, you’re leveraging this perceived strength versus everyone but the last player to act. This means that your fold equity will be higher versus each individual player, because you’re showing more strength by c-betting into multiple opponents. While you’ll naturally take down less pots on the flop when multiway than heads up, your fold equity versus a specific player will be higher when multiway than when heads up.
With this information, we can sometimes fire into multiple opponents with c-bet bluffing hands that we may have just checked heads up. It’s important to remember here that we should choose bluffing hands that can improve on a variety of turn cards, since we likely will have to double barrel in order to win the pot.
C-bet Thinner For Value When Heads Up
You are allowed to c-bet much thinner for value when heads up than when you are facing multiple opponents, because your hand’s equity is greater versus one opponent than versus two or three. For example, if you have Q♥ Q♠ in the Cutoff on a board of K♥ 6♠ 5♣, you could easily c-bet for value versus one opponent, while versus 2-3 you might decide to check back and see a turn card. As a general rule, the more players you’re c-betting into, the stronger of a hand you need to have to bet for value.
Protection C-bet More Frequently Multiway
When facing multiple opponents, we need to deny equity and fold out overcards more when we think we’re usually best on the flop. For example, let’s say we have 9♣ 9♦ on J♦ 2♥ 3♥. Against one opponent we might not need a ton of protection, but versus three opponents, many bad cards could ruin our equity on the turn.
Typically the smaller the pair you have, the more extreme your protection betting should be. Let’s say you have 4♣ 4♦ on J♠ 2♣ 2♠, facing 3 opponents. How many good turn cards are there for you? If we check the flop, we’re almost never going to be happy about the turn, and can even get bluffed off the winning hand after not showing aggression on the flop. Here, c-betting and folding out multiple opponent’s overcards is a pretty good outcome.
If you’d like to listen to Bart’s full breakdown on structuring c-bets in single raised pots, check out CLP Podcast #527 Cbet Structuring in Single Raised Pots Part 1.
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