Beyond the flop in no limit Texas hold’em is where you need to be concentrating your efforts. You need to base your play on factors like fold equity, pot equity, isolating and picking up dead money to have any chance of beating decent levels of play. For example, let us say that you have a hand like As-4s and it gets folded around to you in the cut-off. You make it 3.5bb to go with a 100bb stack and your opponent on the button calls you who also has a 100bb stack.
Both blinds fold and the flop comes 7c-5h-3h giving us a double belly buster straight draw and ace overcard. We bet 5.5bb and get called by an average player who is neither too tight nor too aggressive. The turn card is the 8d and now we have to decide what to do. Our flop c-bet was mandatory with our equity and single opponent and now we really want to be moving our opponent off the pot.
We need to make sure that our non-showdown statistics are positive on the whole and leaving dead money in the pot is not the best way to achieve that. When our opponent calls on the flop then the likelihood is that they have some sort of weak made hand. The two extremes of their range are total floats like with fresh air and slow playing monsters like with sets. The big hands are less likely and because of the nature of the opponent then they are likely not purely floating with nothing.
So in all likelihood then this opponent has a mediocre hand. So the next question is will our turn barrel move them away from the hand? The answer is probably not and so we could check looking to check-raise but if we check then our opponent will probably check back for pot control. However, if we do know that they are weak then we can start to ascertain just how much pressure our opponent can stand with a mediocre hand and increasing bets per street. If they have a lot of draws that they may bet if we check then check-raising now becomes a more viable play in this situation.