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The Continuation Bet
Since the publication of Harrington on Hold ҅m, most NLHE players have learned that when they raise pre-flop and get only one or two callers, they can profitably take another stab at at least some flops that they miss. This does not mean, however, that most players execute this play particularly well. If you believe that one of your opponents is betting either too many or not enough flops after raising pre-flop, than this should affect your pre-flop strategy against him.
Specifically, against a player who doesnӴ bluff often enough on the flop, you can widen your pre-flop calling range both in and out of position. This is because your marginal hands like draws, middle pairs, and top pairs with weak kickers, will face less pressure. When your hand is good, your opponent will often check the flop rather than put you to a difficult decision. If he does bet, you can more confidently fold your weaker made hands and count on better implied odds with your draws, since you know he is like to have a hand that can pay off when you hit.
However, with your strongest holdings, especially your big pairs, you should be more inclined to re-raise pre-flop rather than to flat call a raise. This is because your call is not likely to entice your passive opponent to bluff at flops that he misses.
Against players who make too many continuation bets, it will often be correct to tighten up and enter fewer pots against their pre-flop raises, especially when out of position. It will be very difficult for you to know where you stand post-flop with your marginal hands. If you are in position and are confident in your ability to outplay your opponent, then you can call more often than you would against a player who uses continuation bets more judiciously. This is because you are counting on picking up value on the flop by snapping off bluffs and making well-timed bluffs of you own.
You should also be more inclined to slowplay strong pre-flop holdings against this opponent, especially when stacks are somewhat shallow. Big pairs are virtually guaranteed to earn an extra bet on the flop, but even unpaired hands like AK and AQ that you would usually re-raise can become trapping hands. Although youӬl sometimes get bluffed off of the best hand on the flop, youӬl be able to call unimproved on more benign flops and when you do hit, youӬl be a much larger favorite against his range than you would be putting the same money in pre-flop.