The check raise; a powerful play in poker strategy

The Check Raise.

Advanced poker strategyThe check raise is a great move and is high in the list of poker tips and tricks, which if nothing else puts your opponent into a state of confusion. It’s a move which represents strength and will always make the other players think about what might be going on. It happens like this; you are the first to act in a hand and you check (What does ‘check’ mean in poker? You don’t bet or fold, but do no action, generally in the hope of seeing another card freely. But in this situation its part of Texas hold’em poker strategy). A player who acts after you either thinks they have a reasonable hand or reads you as having weak cards and then they bet. When the betting gets around to you again you raise significantly more than the first players bet (as part of the check and raise, in this situation the raise meaning is, you increase the amount the other player has bet by at least double). When you have the nuts and he calls then you are getting more chips in the pot, so you are getting great value, or else you use it as a bluff and he throws his hand away. Like any hand, you play the player. If the opponent is loose and aggressive and inexperienced you probably wouldn’t do this as a bluff, as they don’t understand your move and will call anyway, but great to use against them if you have the nuts. Against tight, conservative and even experienced players it’s a great move, they will interpret your action as representing strength and fold.

You should find a spot to check and raise at every table you play at in a tournament. You need to make sure though it doesn’t become a ploy that loses you chips.

Advanced poker strategyCan Check Raising be a problem?

The check raise is a difficult move to pull of without the nuts because you generally have to do it out of position, because you need someone behind you to bet. And you can’t afford to do it too often or players will work you out and start to call you down – and you will be losing chips. So as a beginner in poker you should be using the check raise for value more than you use it for a bluff. When you think you have the best hand, you need to get as many chips into the middle as you can. This is the best strategy for beginners.

Another advantage of using the check and raise is it balances your checking range, because once you have checked-raised once, your opponents don’t know whether you will have a weak or strong hand the next time you check, making them less likely to try and bluff you.

Advanced poker strategyThe wider benefit of check raising.

Check-raising will affect your opponents play, which is a good thing. After you have checked they will bet a wider range of hands to try and win the pot against you, despite having weak cards. If you have the nuts it forces them into making a mistake. The check raise works really well against aggressive players because they are always looking for opportunities to take advantage of weakness. Check-raising will make your strategy less predictable and players will be more wary of how they play against you.

The only thing to note here is that if you have the absolute nuts, you don’t want to overplay your hand. You want to bet enough to get value but not too much to force the player to fold. This is where reading a players range becomes a critical skill.

Advanced poker strategyCheck raising as a bluff.

This is a very powerful move in the arsenal of Texas hold’em tips and tricks . The best place to use it is in a heads up situation. If you have multiple players in a pot there will be too many chances that one of them will have a hand to call you with. But heads up, even against a pre-flop raiser, you have a chance of knocking them off the hand, because a pre-flop raise will be thinking they have to C-bet, even if they have nothing. And that is when you can force them off the hand with your check-raise. This works especially well if the flop has the possibilities of a straight or flush which are likely to be outside the range of the opponents betting.

Advanced poker strategyConclusion

The check raise is one of the great poker tactics in Texas hold’em poker. It’s a good Texas hold’em strategy because if you are drawing to a flush or even straight, it becomes a semi-bluff and allows you to potentially pick up the pot right then, or if the right card comes down you get maximum value, and if it doesn’t you still have bluff equity because you have already bet. Just be careful who you use this technique against, if they are good at reading your range, you could be in trouble. Otherwise, this is a great move to use and will reap you lots of chips.