There are many concepts in poker that all add up to help you build a solid and sound game strategy. Once you move on from mastering preflop play and hand selection, however, it is not as easy to categorize them exactly and say which concepts are more important than the others.
However, c-betting and barreling are two concepts that go hand in hand and are certainly near the top of the priority list. It is often said that poker is a game of aggression, and knowing when to c-bet and how to size your continuation bets properly is a big part of the game, both when playing cash games and in tournaments.
For that reason, it is always good to put in some study effort and take a look at some new poker tools and resources to see things with fresh eyes, even if you have been playing the game for a while. For me personally, at least, there is no such thing as too much knowledge, and even if you feel like so much of poker theory repeats itself, all of those bits and pieces usually fill small gaps in your poker knowledge that you likely didn’t even realize existed but that have certainly cost you some money over the years.
The Advanced C-betting and Barreling course by My Poker Coaching is a two-part video series covering all the relevant aspects of these concepts. The mini-series is split by position, i.e., continuation betting in and out of position, which is a good way to approach things because position plays a huge role when deciding whether to barrel on the flop and/or turn, and in how to size your bets.
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Part 1: C-Betting in Position
The first video kicks off with some general considerations and how many players often make mistakes when c-betting. So, it doesn’t only cover what you should be doing when barreling, but it also touches upon tendencies of other players and teaches you how to take advantage of them, which might be equally as important.
The first minutes of the video cover some of the theory, laying down the foundations. Building one’s preflop range is, of course, important for all later decisions because all of your later decisions, including c-bets, heavily rely on this range. Furthermore, the video explains a very important idea about putting your opponent on a range once they just call your preflop raise, which is something many players struggle with. By eliminating certain hands from your opponents range by what they decide to do preflop, it is easier to create a successful barreling strategy.
The video goes on to emphasize the importance of being in position, because better position naturally makes it easier to play the hand and realize your equity more often. Then, it moves on to reasons for betting which, again, is another great point. Blind c-betting just for the sake of betting won’t get you far with more competent opponents, so the video asks a simple question – are we betting:
- For value
- Or as a bluff
Once there is this fundamental distinction, you can proceed to consider other factors, such as the number of streets you’re expecting to get paid on or what hands are you hoping to get folds from when bluffing. The video goes in detail explaining all of these points.
After making these points, the lesson continues with how you should construct your barreling ranges, dividing them into several big groups. This is a particularly interesting section that gives good insights tying back to reasons for betting. Mentally categorizing a hand in one of these categories will certainly help with your decisions.
The video also covers times when checking back is the right option, which is definitely a nice addition, and there are some great points there explaining why you don’t need to c-bet all the time. So, checking actually needs to be a part of our c-betting strategy and this lesson perfectly underlines and explains the reasons why, as follows:
- Very strong hands that can afford to give a free card
- Strong hands that can’t get value on all three streets
- Trash hands with no equity some of the time, etc.
The rest of the video contains numerous examples of hands from these different categories, with detailed explanations as to why specific decisions make sense at certain times and the math behind them. These examples really help get theoretical points from the first part of the video across, making them easier to understand and use at the tables.
Part 2: C-Betting Out of Position (OOP)
The second part of My Poker Coaching’s Advanced C-Betting and Barelling course is much more hands-on. All the general theoretical considerations from the first video still apply – reasons for c-betting, constructing ranges, etc. – with the critical difference in this video being that it emphasizes the fact that playing out of position is much more difficult in general. This is especially true when you need to make a decision of whether to barrel or give up.
Some of the theoretical differences are that realizing your equity OOP is harder and players are more prone to attack missed c-bets. Conversely, this means we need to have some very strong hands in our checking range with the intention of check-raising and/or bluff catching.
Additionally, the video covers some interesting considerations about balancing your ranges so as not to become too exploitative. In other words, if we always bet out with strong hands and fail to c-bet with weak ones, it makes things much easier for our opponents.
Before moving on to examples, there is a nice “cheat sheet” that quickly summarizes groups of hands that are fine to check with out of position, once again emphasizing reasons for these decisions:
- Medium strength hands
- Inducing bluffs
- Blocking too much of the opponent’s value range
- Scary boards, etc.
The rest of the video, about one hour long, focuses on several great examples, which really demonstrate various interesting spots you can find yourself out of position as the initial raiser. Every hand is given detailed analysis, presenting checking and barreling ranges on various boards. Apart from considering cards alone, some considerations are given to opponent types, as your c-betting decisions can largely depend on how likely your opponent is to give up or continue in the hand.
Conclusion: It’s a C-Betting Guide for Everyone
My Poker Coaching’s C-Betting and Barreling course is definitely great value for money, for novice and experienced players alike. The course really builds up from some basic concepts and sound theoretical considerations to more advanced ideas, which means that even less-experienced players should have no problem keeping up.
Given how c-betting and barreling represent an essential part of Texas Hold’em, this course can really help anyone improve their profitability at the tables. By learning the reasons why you should or shouldn’t c-bet in various spots and understanding the advantages and disadvantages of playing in and out of position, you can take your game to a whole new level!
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I’d say that this course is great for newer players looking to improve their game because it opens eyes to some very important concepts and ideas that are fundamental to poker. That said, it is also very useful for more experienced players as well, as they can really relate to and review specific examples in the course and improve their game plan moving forward.