The Delayed Continuation Bet
Continuation bets are when you raise preflop, and bet out again on the flop. Your preflop raise indicates that you have a strong hand, possibly as strong as AA or KK. Your continuation bet indicates that you have either hit the flop, or did not need to because you have an over pair. Unless one of your opponents hit the flop hard or is very tricky, they will usually fold to your continuation bet. This is why continuation bets are key to being a profitable player.
I like to make a standard preflop raise of 4x the blinds when I hold TT-AA, AK, or AQ. I start to expand that range if I have good position and everyone has folded before me. I increase the size of the raise, if their were limpers before me. So you make your standard raise, and everyone folds right there, or you get some number of callers. Now the flop comes and lets say that you hit the flop with either an over pair, or hit an A or K with AK, or an A or Q with AQ. A continuation bet on the flop should be automatic in those cases regardless of how many people called the flop. You should also make the continuation bet if you flop a monster in most cases. Now lets say that you missed the flop. You don't have an over pair with your pocket pair, or you missed with AK or AQ. Now things get a little trickier. If you have position and it checks around to you, you probably should fire out with a continuation bet regardless of the number of preflop callers. You will need to be careful if there were a lot of preflop callers, and your continuation bet gets raised however. Now lets say you missed the flop like above, but you are out of position. Now the key is how many people called the preflop raise. If it was one caller, a continuation bet should be automatic. If there were 2+ callers and you missed things get a little trickier. This is where the delayed continuation bet comes into play.
So you raised preflop, got 2+ callers, missed the flop, and are out of position. With 2 callers, you should make the continuation bet about 1/2 of the time. If you have 3 or more callers, don't make the continuation bet. Especially if the texture of the flop looks scary. In this case you go for the delayed continuation bet. You check and see what happens. Your check will seem a little suspicious to the other players. They have seen you make nearly automatic continuation bets every time if you use the criteria above. They will be thinking that you either flopped a monster, or missed. If it ends up checking around the stage has been set. If someone bets, get out of there cheaply. So it checks around on the flop, and a harmless turn card appears. You make the delayed continuation bet. Now, your opponents will think you tried to slow play a monster on the flop, but they did not cooperate with a bet. Unless they hit the flop good, they can't call your bet. They already told you they missed by checking behind you weakness on the flop. You will take it down more times then not.
How big should a continuation bet be (flop or delayed)? I like to bet about 2/3 to 3/4ths of the pot. I will bet more, if my hand is exposed. Like if I flop an over pair with TT or there are some obvious draws on the flop. I like that amount, because you can take it down less than 1/2 the time and still be profitable. Also, it will be easier to release to a reraise, if you are not betting the pot on the flop all of the time.