The Continuation Bet
One of the most common and effective plays in poker is the continuation bet. The continuation bet (or C-bet) is when the pre-flop raiser bets on the flop in an attempt to appear strong, often when the flop missed their hand. What makes continuation betting effective is the fact that 70% of the time the flop will not improve your opponents hand and by simply betting there is a good chance your opponent will not want to continue with their hand and fold.
When you decide to continuation bet when you miss the flop you want your bet size to be just enough for your opponent to fold to limit your amount of risk. This is because the larger you make your bet size the larger your success rate will have to be for your continuation bets to be profitable. If you make a pot sized continuation bet your success rate would need to be greater than 51% for this to be a profitable play, but if your bet is half the pot your success rate only needs to be 34% to be profitable. You should generally vary your continuation bet around 1/2 the pot. However, if your playing at a low stakes no-limit hold'em game your continuation bet will need to vary around 3/4 to a full pot.
Things to consider when continuation betting when you missed the flop
The more preflop callers in the hand the less likely your continuation bet will work and your bet will be called. So you should limit how often you continuation bet in this situation.
When you know your opponent to be a calling station it is almost never a good idea to continuation bet.
When the board is draw heavy or is likely to have hit your opponents hand like J Q K your opponent is more likely to have hit their hand or be drawing to a straight or flush. Therefore, they are more likely to call your continuation bet in this situation.
From the poker online micro stakes to the main event of WSOP, the continuation bet should be an important part of every poker players game and can be done a large percentage of the time. If a good player believes you are continuation betting when they think you missed the flop they will try to exploit your continuation bet by raising your continuation bet, which is called floating. Floating is when a player calls a continuation bet, regardless of what cards they hold, in an attempt to steal the pot on the turn if they are checked to (Read more on floating). Keep this in mind when you decide to continuation bet against good players and make sure you're vary your bet sizes.