There are various “moves” in poker that can make all the difference for a clever player. Not everything is in the cards. Players who are decisive and know how to make solid estimations will benefit from their actions most of the time.
The check-raise is one of the moves often used in Texas Hold’em poker. Some label it as dishonest, but the truth is it is an important tool in any player’s arsenal. Stay if you want to be quick-schooled in the check-raising strategy.
Things to Consider Before Deciding to Check-Raise or Not
Before check-raising, a player should keep certain things in mind. For one, you should consider how each player’s range interacts with the cards on the flop. When faced with flops that might favour your opponent’s range, one should avoid the check-raise.
For example, if you are in the Big Blind position and the flop is Ace of hearts, Ace of spades and King of hearts don’t check-raise.
Another thing that affects your check-raise potential is your opponent’s c-bet size and frequency. Infrequent c-bets should incentivize you to check-raise in a conservative way.
On the other hand, infrequent c-bets by the opponent mean you may check-raise with a range that is wider than usual.
The Concept of Check-Raising
Check-raising in poker is a form of deceptive play. You do this with a hidden agenda. The idea is to check early in the round. However, the intention is to raise later, once some other player after you opened.
To check in poker means to have the action pass to the player on your left without you making a wager. This is possible when nobody has made a bet on the current street.
So, let’s say you have a strong hand. You suspect your hand is better than anything your opponents could hold. By betting you show this strength.
However, instead of doing that you choose to check and “fake” weakness. At least one of the players after you will seize the initiative and come out betting. When the action gets back around to you, you will raise.
Why One Should Use Check-Raise
How is check-raise useful? There are two major benefits from the check-raising poker strategy. First, it can be an effective tool for making your opponents back out of pots.
Secondly, it allows you to get more money into the pot when you hold a good hand. Additionally, you become more unpredictable if you use this technique in opportune moments.
Favourable Situations to Check-Raise
Keep in mind that the check-raise strategy tends to be more effective in small pots. Like any other tactical play, check-raise can work as a two-edged sword. You ought to know when to do it on unsuspected opponents.
The idea works best when you’re early to act. The later you act, the more difficult it is to successfully check-raise.
Generally, you should check with the intention of raising when you believe you hold the best hand if you are called. If you want to use this move as a bluff, do it when you believe it will cause your opponent to lay down a better hand.