Missed the Flop After Raising Preflop -- Continuation Bet or Not?

You Missed the Flop After Raising Preflop -- Continuation Bet or Not?

DECISION POINT: You're in a no-limit hold'em cash game ($2/$5). Preflop it folds around to the button who calls. You are in the small blind with {k-Spades}{q-Clubs} and you raise to $20. Both the big blind and the button call. The flop comes {10-Spades}{8-Spades}{8-Hearts}. The action is on you...

PRO ANSWER: In this hand the button chooses to open-limp while we have {k-}{q-}-offsuit in the small blind.

Offsuit Broadway hands like king-queen play best in heads-up pots where we are the preflop aggressor. The button can be limping with a very wide range of hands and {k-Spades}{q-Clubs} is likely well ahead of that range. One of the biggest mistakes players make is playing far too many hands preflop, so we want to make sure we exploit the button for entering the pot passively with a wide range here by raising.

We make it four big blinds ($20) and both the big blind and button call. The {10-Spades}{8-Spades}{8-Hearts} flop is fairly coordinated and will likely connect often with our opponents' ranges.

The button's range consists of several hands such as {j-}{10-}, {q-}{j-}, {q-}{10-}, {10-}{9-}, {j-}{9-}, and {9-}{7-} that are all going to continue on this board. Even the big blind's range includes many {10-}{x-} hands and pocket pairs.

When out of position against two players on a coordinated board it is quite unlikely that both opponents will fold to our continuation bet. In addition, our hand is not likely to improve on future streets.

Rather than making an unprofitable continuation bet, we should elect to check and fold.

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