When To Check Raise in Hold’em Poker
A check raise is aggressive and often a very effective move when playing Texas Hold’em. At first representing a weak hand by checking, followed by a raise after your opponent bets, you are then showing a great deal of strength. The check raise is a vital weapon in the arsenal of winning poker players, but must be used at the most opportune times to maximize effectiveness.
The check raise is used to both bluff other players out of pots and also to get more of your opponents’ money into the pot when you are holding a good hand. It also adds an element of your playing style that makes you more unpredictable, which can confound your opponents and make them think twice when confronted with a betting situation against you.
Checking as a Bluff
Check raising as a bluff is best used when facing only one other opponent in the hand and will lose its effectiveness if there are additional opponents. To pull it off, you obviously must be the in the first position to act in the hand so that your check will allow your opponent to bet.
A check raise on your part shows a tremendous amount of strength that will usually entice your opponent to fold mediocre or marginal hands. However, before attempting the check raise, there are four criteria that should be followed to make a move successful.
What Your Opponent is Holding
First, you should be reasonably certain that your opponent does hold only a marginal hand. If his hand is strong, a check raise won’t cause him to fold. If you have seen him regularly bet in late position with mid-level pairs or some other mediocre hand after others have checked to him, you stand a far better chance of pulling off your check raise.
The size of Raise
Secondly, your raise should be at the very least double the amount bet by your opponent, and even more is usually better. A minimum raise will not have enough of an impact because the amount needed to call your raise will be small in relation to the pot size. A bigger raise will make your opponent think twice about how much money has to be wagered to see the next card.
Size of the Pot
Third, it’s best if the pot is relatively small; this will give your opponent incorrect pot odds to call your raise because the amount needed to call will be too large compared to the amount in the pot.
It is for this reason that check-raising is most effective after the flop. It may also be effective after the turn card if no one bet after the flop because the pot will still be relatively small.
And finally, on the outside chance that your raise is called, it helps to have a drawing hand. If you hold no hand whatsoever and are attempting a total bluff with your check-raise, you may have to check again after the turn card and may lose the amount that you raised post-flop if it appears that your opponent will not be folding. By having drawing possibilities if your opponent does call, you still may win if you catch one of your available outs and hit your draw.
The other instance of using a check raise is attempting to get more of your opponents’ money into the pot. This instance typically occurs when you have a monster hand. In this scenario, your check-raise is not intended to make your opponents fold, but to entice them to donate more money into the pot.
You are not bluffing, and you would like other players to play along with you. There are also criteria to follow in order for this check raise to be most successful.
Number of Opponents
First of all, it works better if there are multiple opponents in the hand. If you have only one other player involved in the hand, you may encourage him to fold his marginal hand rather than put more money into the pot by showing a great deal of strength with your check raise. The more opponents in the hand, the greater the likelihood that at least one will call your raise.
Second, you should be one of the first players to act in early position so that the players acting behind you have an opportunity to bet, thereby giving you an opportunity to raise.
In that regard, you should also be reasonably sure that one of them will bet. If not, you could miss out on making a value bet with your killer hand if everybody checks and gets a free card.
Don’t Scare Them Away
Thirdly, in this situation; a large raise may scare players away when your whole objective is to get more money into the pot. So unlike your check raise in bluffing situations, you would be better off making a minimum raise to give the other player’s incentive and pot odds to call the raise and look at the next card.
For that reason, be sure that the hand you are holding is virtually unbeatable or else you may get outdrawn if you allow others to continue playing the hand on your small raise.
If used correctly at the right times, a check-raise can be advantageous when you hold both a strong hand and a not so strong hand. However, be careful to use the check raise sparingly, or you will lose credibility if you attempt it too often against the same players.
The move also requires some knowledge of the playing styles of your opponents to anticipate how they will react to your check raise. But if you can successfully add it to your poker-playing arsenal, your profits should increase considerably.
Join our bitcoin poker newsletter! When you register, you will receive exclusive offers and freerolls.
>>> Sign Up Today!<<<