Check-raising and slowplaying are two methods of playing a tough hand to deceive your rivals and win more money from them. Yet, they are not the same. Checking your hand with an aim of raising on the same round after your rival bets is a check-raising. Slowplaying, which will be discussed more in detail in the next chapter, is playing your hand in the way that may give your rivals no idea of its strength. It can be checking and then calling the rival who bets, or it can be calling a person who bets in front of you. If you slowplay your hand, you use deception to keep people in for a little while in order to make your move in a future round. Precisely, a hand you slowplay has to be much tougher than a hand with which you check-raise. Check-raising may drive rivals out and may also help to win the pot right there whereas slowplaying gives rivals either a free card or fairly cheap card.

The Principles of Check-Raising

There are some learners poker players who find something guilty about check-raising. They find it tricky and deceitful and contemplate people who use it to be less than polite. Check-raising is tricky and it is deceitful but this is the thing what one wants to be in a poker game, as meant in the Fundamental Theorem of Poker.

Checking with the object of raising is one way to do that. This means checking and slowplaying are contradictory to bluffing, in which you play a weak hand strongly. If check-raising and slowplaying were not allowed, the game of poker would lose just as it would if semi-bluffing and bluffing were not allowed. Perhaps, the two kinds of play supplement one another and a good player should be expert at both of them. The check-raise is a strong weapon. It is another weapon with which a poker player practices his skill. Not permitting check-raising in your home game is something like not permitting the hit and run in a baseball game or the option pass in a football game. Without it poker loses an essential portion of its strategy, which rather than winning money, is what makes the game fun. I am enthusiastic to congratulate a rival for trapping me in a check-raise than for drawing out on me on a call he shouldn't have made in the first place and if I am annoyed on anyone, it is at myself falling into the trap.

Essential Conditions for Check-Raising

To check-raise the value, two conditions are required that is you desire you might be called by a worse hand. First, you should think that you have the best hand but not a great hand that slowplay can be proper. Second, you must be sure that the person behind you will bet if you check. Suppose, in seven card stud, on fourth street someone bets with

showing and with

you get enough pot odds to call. Now on fifth street you chase a king to make kings up. Here you may check-raise if you are definitely sure the player showing queens will bet.

This second condition - that is someone behind you will bet after you check is very significant. When you think to check-raise, you should remember that you are making a severe, double-edged mistake if you check and no one bets behind you. You give a free card to your rivals who have folded your bet plus you are losing a bet from those who have called. Therefore, you have to be very sure the check-raise will work before you try anything else.

Check- Raising and Position

When you think to check-raise with many players already in the pot, you need to consider the position of the player you expect will bet because that position suggests the sort of hand you check-raise with, to a large extent. Suppose, you have made hidden kings up on fifth street , and the player showing queens is to your right. Kings up is not the great hand but reasonably a good hand and you desire to get everyone out so that they don't draw out on your two pair. You check, and the player with queens bets, you raise. You are forcing everyone else in a hand to call a double bet, the original bet and your immediate raise and they will surely fold. You won't object the queens calling your raise, for you are a big favorite over that player. However, even if he folds, it is fine too.

Now, we will place the player showing queens to your left instead of to your right. In such situations, you should bet with kings up even though you know the player with queens will bet if you check and you think you have the best hand. When you bet at this moment, you hope the queens will raise in order that the double bet will drive out the other players in the pot, just as your check-raise was meant to do in the other cases. And if your rival raise, you can even re-raise.

Let's say instead of kings up, the king on fifth street gives three kings to you. Now, you are very much stronger than with two pair, and your hand can bear callers. Thus, you can use the reverse approach you retain with kings up. With the possible bettor to your right, you should bet, and after everyone calls, you expect that bettor raises so that people will be calling a single bet twice (which they are much more possible to do than to call a double bet once). However, if the possible bettor is to your left, then you check the three kings, and after that player bets and everyone calls, you raise. Again, you invite your rivals to call a single bet twice and not a double bet once.

Additionally, the way you bet or check-raise rely on the strength of your hand concerning to what you can see of the other hands and the position of the player you hope to bet or raise behind you when you check or bet. Having reasonably good hand such as kings up or aces up in seven stud, you try to make rivals call a double bet because you want to drive them out. Having a good hand such as three kings or three aces you play to persuade your rival to call a single bet; then you challenge them with having to call another single bet. In such situation, you won't object their staying in since you are a big favorite over them.

Check-Raising With a Second-Best Hand

While you check-raise because you think you have the best hand, it is often correct to check-raise with a second-best hand if the play will drive other rivals out. The concept here is same to the concept of raising with what you think is the second-best hand as was explained in Chapter Nine and Chapter Thirteen. If the possible best hand is to your immediate right, you can check, wait for that player to bet, then raise so that the rest of the table will fold rather than call a double bet. If you are not the favorite, you still have increased the pot, and you have the extra equality of whatever money is in the pot from earlier rounds of betting.

Nevertheless, you can check with a come hand like a four-flush if there are already many players in the pot and you do not expect a re-raise, as you are getting sufficient odds, especially if you have two cards to come. Such play should be made only when the possible bettor is to your immediate left; then the other players will call that bettor before they realize you are putting in a raise. You do not want to drive players out because you want to get the correct odds for your raise.


When you plan to check-raise, the following reasons you must consider:

The strength of your hand

Whether someone behind you will bet after you check.

The position of the possible bettor

For check-raising with a hand that you want to thin out the field, you want the possible bettor to your right so that the people will call a double bet to stay in. Holding a very strong hands and with most cards come hands, you want your possible bettor to your left so that the other players in the hand may call that bettor's single bet in poker and then be invited to call your raise.