A delayed continuation bet refers to the preflop raiser betting the turn after checking the flop. It is very difficult to make a hand in hold’em and a lot of times a bet on the flop will show an immediate positive expectation. But we can sometimes risk less by waiting until the turn to bet. Delayed continuation bets are useful tools against tight players who have a very low bluffing frequency. Instead of betting on the flop we can simply check and see what our opponent does on the turn. If they check again we can go ahead and bet and usually take the pot. This is especially useful on boards that should hit our preflop raising range very strongly.
Let’s say we isolate a tight limper in a $5-$10 game to $40 with 5♣ 6♣. We get it headsup and the flop comes out A♦ K♣ J♠. The limper checks to us. What should we do? At first glance it looks like a great spot to make a bet. That board should hit us a lot and we probably can get the limper to fold everything but an A or maybe KQ. However, we know that if we check back the flop all of the hands that would have called our bet will bet the turn. The hands that would have folded to our flop continuation bet will still check. We can see then that actually checking back the flop and waiting for our opponent’s next move is the most optimal play.
We can use delayed continuation betting out of position as well. Say we raise A♦ J♦ under the gun and a tight player calls on the button. The flop is K♣ 7♦ 7♠. If we bet we will get everything but a K or 7 to fold but if we check our opponent will only bet a K or 7. The right play then is to check and if our opponent checks to bet any turn.
Continuation betting is one of the most important aspects of increasing your winrate in no-limit hold’em. There is an entire episode of Deuce Plays Premium titled “Cbets” that covers this topic in depth.