When to Check Raise in Poker

When to Check Raise in Poker

Check/raising is one of the most powerful plays in poker because it is a show of brute force. When check/raising, you are announcing to your opponent’s face that you trapped them and they have to either show up with the goods or fold. Because check/raising is such an overpowering move, it can only be effectively used in the following types of scenarios:

  • 1. You have a good hand, but your opponent will bet more hands if you check than they will call with if you bet
  • 2. You have a bad hand, but your opponent will bluff and then fold to a raise a large portion of the time
  • 3. You have a good hand, but your opponent will expect you to show up with a good hand very often, so you decide to be less predictable
  • All three of these scenarios come up relatively rarely in poker, but the pot will be very large when they do come up, so it’s critical to your bottom line that you’re able to play them correctly.

    When Your Opponent Will Bet Lots of Hands

    If you have a good hand and bet in certain situations, especially on the river, your opponents will very rarely bluff raise you. However, if you check, they will bluff fairly often, thinking that you have given up on the pot. You can use this type of thinking to your advantage to pick up an extra bet with your good hands.

    Be more likely to choose a large check/raise size when you are playing this type of situation. Your opponents will almost always fold their bluffs no matter what you do, but will have a hard time laying down a made hand since calling will close the action. This allows you to win the maximum on your good hands.

    Re-Stealing When Your Opponent Will Bluff a Wide Range

    Similar to the above scenario, if you have a situation where you think betting as a bluff won’t work out too well on the river, you can try for a check/raise bluff. The key to making this profitable is for your opponent to be bluffing a lot of hands compared to the number of made hands he or she would be betting. You should typically choose a smaller bet size here since your opponent is rarely going to fold a made hand no matter what, and will simply fold all of his or her bluffs.

    Since their folding percentage doesn’t change much at all if you vary your bet size, you should try to make your bet size as small as possible, but keep all of his bad hands folding. With this kind of bluff, you need to always remember that you aren’t necessarily trying to get your opponent to fold a good hand, just all of his bad hands. Additionally, you should remember that if you have a weak middle pair, it might be better to just check/call to pick off his or her bluffs instead of check/raising so you don’t lose the extra bet when you’re behind.