Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Poker Drivel: C-Bet No Evil

Usually I write a new Poker Drivel post when I've observed something relatively new (to me, at least) that seems to make my poker game better. This post, however, is more of an open observation and an invitation for comments... Please feel free to contribute.

I'm terrible with detail when it comes to where I've seen or heard something, but I'm relatively confident that I've read from reputable sources that one should always C-Bet a preflop raise, especially when you're in position and it's checked to you. In thinking and observing, though, I'm not sure that's absolutely true. I'm sure this is the best policy most of the time, but consider the following situations:

  • Say you've raised with AK. You're playing tight, so the table has reasonable expectation (whether or not they're actually paying attention) to put you on a strong hand when you come in with a preflop raise. When the flop comes small, a lot of players are going to be relatively certain you've missed and will call a C-Bet with a lot of different hands, including many that have you beat (weak pair with the board, small PP). In this scenario, you gain very little information when they call and, to my observation, all you've really succeeded in doing is growing the pot with a weak hand. You might be setting up a bluff on the Turn or River, yes, but is it really effective to do this every single time, given the downsides?
  • What if you have a solid read on a player in front of you and it looks like he's hit a hand. Do you C-Bet into him, throwing money into the pot and setting yourself up to lose more on his subsequent value bets? I suppose this one partly depends on your confidence in your ability to read hands.
  • How about if you've raised in late position with something like TsJs and the flop comes 8s9s2h? The flop has technically missed you, but you've got draws out the yin-yang. Do you C-Bet and potentially set yourself up for being raised or do you take the free card? I'm likely to bet here personally, but I can see strong reasoning for opting to see the Turn.
Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?

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