top of page

Stop c-betting so much!

OK OK, in my last article I asked you if you were continuation betting enough.

So you're probably thinking, "Now he wants me to STOP c-betting so much... wtf?"

Quick question: What's your OOP c-betting %? If you don't have a database, what do you think it should be?

While you should be c-betting a lot when in position against the big blind, the same cannot be said for when you're out of position as the preflop raiser.

C-betting too frequently when out of position is one of the most common leaks that I see when working with new clients.

You min-raise from the Cutoff at 30bb, the Button calls and the blinds both fold. The flop comes Ks 3d 2s. How often should you c-bet?

The answer is around 15%!

Now obviously I've chosen this board because I know it's a high frequency check spot. But why do we c-bet so infrequently?

The answer to this question comes from the reasons we c-bet so frequently against the big blind when in position.

Can you remember what they are?

It's because very often we'll have an equity advantage and a nut advantage. The big blind's range is incredibly wide and he has to play the whole hand out of position. It behoves him to overfold on the flop when he is at an equity and nut disadvantage because otherwise he gets to the turn with too weak and wide a range. This allows the in position player to profitably c-bet the flop a lot of the time.

When you raise and someone in position calls, you no longer have all the advantages. You have positional disadvantage. The equities run a lot closer together. And, often times you'll be at a nut disadvantage too. So when you have ALL the disadvantages, you don't really want to put money in unless you really have to.

So what's our target OOP c-bet number?

I ran scripts in PIOSolver across 184 different flops to find the average c-bet frequencies for each spot (e.g. EP vs MP, MP vs HJ, LJ vs CO etc). As you can see, the average is just 34.7%. This is a massive difference from our average in position c-betting frequency of ~85%!

Flop c-bet OOP % target from 'Identifying Your Own Leaks' module

By comparing different stack sizes and positions like this, we can pull out incredible patterns. For example, you should be c-betting more frequently the further the flatter is away from you. At 40bb from Early Position you should c-bet 25.6% on average when you're playing against Middle Position, but 49.7% when playing against the Button. So the closer the two players are, the more checking that occurs... on average.

When I work with clients 1 on 1, or take on new members to MTT Poker Academy, I'll always complete a leak finding exercise with them. I've actually just added the 'Identifying Your Own Leaks' video series to my course, MTT Game Changer too!

Identifying leaks is just the start.

Once you've discovered your weaknesses, you have to make a plan to fix them...

I've long searched for the ultimate study system to tackle this leak. And nothing has ever come close to the tool, DTO Poker Trainer. It really is the easiest way to study GTO Poker.

If you want 20% off any DTO product, use code 'COACHGAZ' from their website. Sign up here

So the system is simple once you've identified the leak...

1. Watch the module on 'OOP flop strategy as the preflop raiser' module inside my course (available for all 1:1 clients and Academy members too)

2. Play at least 50 hands per day in DTO (start with CO vs BTN)

3. Review your mistakes and blunders

4. Rinse and repeat

I talked in my last article about the idea of grouping flops to aid the study process. It really helps identify the patterns that are consistent across similar board types or textures.

Here's a quick reminder of the groupings I've come up with:

2 Broadway (KQ3, QJ6)


ABx (AQ2, AT3)

Axx (A64, A97)


J/T high connected (J97, JT8)

J/T high + 2 rags (J62, J83)

K/Q high + 2 rags (K82, Q64)

Low connected (865, 764)

Low unconnected (932, 842)

Paired (AA5, 944)

Trips (AAA, TTT)


Here's a chart looking at flop c-bet frequencies across the different flop textures/types at 30bb CO vs BTN.

Betting frequencies (30bb CO vs BTN) from OOP flop strategy as the preflop raiser module

A few takeaways from this chart... J/T high boards with 2 rags, ABB and Monotone boards are bet the least frequently. Low boards and paired boards have the highest frequency c-bets, but even they are less than 35%. That means we're still checking 65% of the time!

Find some hands in your own database where you're playing out of position as the preflop raiser. What are you doing on these boards? Filter by different board types/textures so you can drill down into what you're currently doing. And if what you're doing is wrong, then you know where to focus your attention.

Quick step-by-step process (basically the opposite from IP vs BB):

Step 1: identify the flops where you should check a lot

Step 2: see what you're currently doing on these boards

Step 3: make sure you understand the 'why'

Step 4: don't continue to just blindly c-bet these boards!

This will probably already decrease your c-bet frequency significantly.

If you're looking for a clear system and framework to quickly identify both preflop and postflop leaks so you know where to start, check out my course, MTT Game Changer, my community coaching experience, MTT Poker Academy or get in touch to discuss my 12-week 1:1 program.

Good luck out there!

Your tournament poker coach, Gareth James

About the Newsletter

3.5k+ subscribers receive one tip to start, improve and accelerate their tournament poker training every Monday morning.

Thanks for subscribing!

Subscribe here

Thanks for subscribing! Check your emails to complete the double opt-in

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Twitch
bottom of page