INTRODUCTION

Check-raising is the play of checking you hand with the intention of raising on the same round after an opponent bets.

Notice that check-raising and slowplaying are two ways of playing a strong hand weakly to trap your opponents.

However, they are not the same thing. In addition, the check-raise should often be used to exclude opponents from competing for the pot.

Sometimes, in limit hold’em, this is the most desirable characteristic of check-raising.For check-raising to be correct, you usually should:

  1. Think you have the best hand (though not a slowplaying hand).
  2. Be quite sure that someone will bet behind you if you check.

A situation where check-raising probably would be correct is when you flop top two pair, there are many players on the flop, and you are in an early position.

This is especially true if you think that the bet will come from a late position player. (The action before the flop will frequently indicate where the bet is likely to come from.)

Sometimes it is also correct to check-raise with a drawing poker hand. An example is when you think a player to your left will bet and two or more players will call. However, don’t raise if you fear a reraiser or if a reasonable chance exists that your hand won’t win even if you hit it (perhaps a pair shows).online poker ;

Also keep in mind that a four-flush or an open-end straight draw normally should be bet if there is any chance that you can steal the pot.

Two interesting things may happen if you check a lot of good hands on the flop. First, some of your opponents may become afraid to bet.

That is, they may be more inclined to give you a free card, and this free card may win the pot for you. Second, even if a blank hits on the turn, you now may be able to steal the pot.

Your opponents are not going to suspect a bluff merely because you didn’t bet on the flop, as they know you might have been trying for a check-raise.

In fact, some of your opponents might feel smug when you bet, since they “escaped you trap.” (When you are bluffing in this situation, never show your hand.)

However, remember that if you check a lot of hands on the flop, the free card that you give occasionally may cost you the pot.

You also can check-raise semi-bluff. For example, suppose you have and the flop comes you bet and are raised, and you (correctly) call the raise.

             

                          

The next card is the Now the correct play is for you to check-raise. You want your opponent to fold, but with your straight-flush draw, you have a lot of outs even if you are called.Here is another example.

Suppose you hold and the flop comes if any spade hits on fourth street, you can try for a check-raise.

This is probably the right play whether or not you were raised on the flop. However, if your opponent is a “called,” it may be best to simply bet.There is another very important reason to check-raise.

It may be the most important. It is the fact that in games of today’s structure, the bet on the flop is often not large enough, when compared to the size of the pot, to make it incorrect for drawing hands (and this includes hands like middle pair) to call.

This means that you should check-raise a fair amount of time in an attempt to cut down the odds for opponents to draw out on you when the pot is large. (If the pot is small you should be more inclined to bet your good hands, your draws, and your semi-bluffs.)

A good guideline to follow is to consider check-raising if it is unlikely that an overcard can hurt you.

That is, if you flop top pair and your top pair is aces, kings, or queens (and you have an overcard kicker with your queen), check-raising is often the correct play, especially if several players remain to act behind you.

If your top pair is lower than queens, it is more dangerous to try for a check-raise, since a free card can easily beat you.On the other hand, if you flop top pair in a large multiway pot, it still may be correct to check-raise, even if you are in an early position.

This is because the pot is now so large that it you bet, you can expect a lot of callers anyway. Consequently, in an effort to thin the field, it may be necessary to risk the dreaded free card.

Here’s an example. You are in an early position and hold in a large multiway pot. The flop comes:You must consider going for a check-raise.

             

                          

If you bet into many players and the pot is large, you probably will get several callers, and an ace or a king is likely to beat you. But if you go for a check-raise and are able to isolate a late-position player, you still may win even if one of those cards hits.

Your check-raise also is likely to force out hands such as 87, while a simple bet wouldn’t. Now you’ve eliminated the 1-in-5 chance that a player holding this type of hand will beat you.

One other thing to consider is how aggressive your opponents are and whether your hand is strong enough for three bets.

For example, if you flop a very strong hand and a very aggressive poker player who showed some preflop strength is in late position, it might be best to lead and go for three bets, by reraising his raise.