From Analytical No-Limit Holdem:

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I don't understand the author's point very well here on why you should tend to c-bet pairs and ace highs (as well as weaker hands that are more likely dominated if they hit). How can an opponent make profit by going all in with aces and pairs against our c-bet?

Question: Why not check the flop in position with pairs and ace high hands? If you have hands like these (that are both weak but still probably best), shouldn't your objective be to get to the river as cheaply as possible (and/or induce a turn or river bluff from your opponent for more value)?


2 Answers 2


Basically what the author is trying to say is that you don't want to c-bet all your hands, because you will have to fold to a shove a lot of the time. Your opponent can abuse you this way. He proposes to use hero's overpairs as bets, since they will not improve on many turns. The hand strength will rarely change, so there is not much value for hero in seeing a turn. To balance out this value range we want to bet the hands that have the least amount of showdown, like JTs, 98s. Ace high hands like AK and AQ have showdown value and can hit a pair or a flush/flush draw more often than an overpair. They benefit more from seeing a turn and maybe getting to showdown, so they should check.

So to get to your question. The author actually proposes to check a lot of ace high hands, because like you said, you have showdown value and want to get to the river. However your overpair hands are very strong. They will rarely be beat, so hero wants to bet for value.

I agree with the author's strategy here, however I would advice to sometimes check aces or kings to have a stronger checking range.

EDIT: so in short (and we can apply this to a lot of situations): bet your strongest and weakest hands to get value and folds respectively. Check your mediocre hands to get to showdown and avoid playing a massive pot, but include from time to time a very strong hand to strengthen your check back range.

  • So hands to c-bet in this spot: overpairs + hands that have very little showdown value (i.e. 98s). Hands to check: everything else, including smaller pairs, ace-high hands, king high hands, etc. Is this about right?
    – George
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 20:44
  • 1
    Yes exactly! You won't have too many smaller pairs, though. They generally don't want to 3-bet these hands pre-flop. But yeah you are right. But don't forget to check back some strong overpairs sometimes or your opponent can bluff you too easily.
    – Raymond
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 20:51
  • For example AA or KK with a spade.
    – Raymond
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 20:58

The wording in the book is a bit confusing to me, and I had to re-read it a few times, but I think I got the gist. My take is that the book is saying this:

  • Continuation betting with any hand in a wide range is a bad idea
  • On flops that are unlikely to hit the opponent's range and our range, select hands that are unlikely to improve on the turn (overpairs like 99 TT JJ QQ) and could be beaten if an overcard comes on the turn.
  • with the bottom part of hero's range (JTs, QJs, KTs, KJs) hero should c-bet because if hero's hand does improve on the turn, it can be dominated by a lot of better hands.

This is all about balancing c-betting range, either player most likely does not connect with this flop, so it is important to know when to c-bet. The book is saying that you should not only bet with your over pairs, but also c-bet with the lower part of your range. That way, you are not only c-betting when you have a good hand, keeping your opponent on their toes.

Hands that you would not c-bet with on a board like this look something like AK, AQ, AJ, according to the book.

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