3 Good Spots to Use the Check-Raise in Texas Hold'em Poker
It can be very profitable, but it can also be very risky.
A well-timed check-raise can help you increase your hourly rate while a poorly executed check-raise can leave you stacked.
Knowing the right situations to make a check-raise will help keep your opponents guessing while increasing your bottom line.
1. Defending Against Serial Continuation Betters
If you're facing an opponent that likes to on a wide range of flops, this may present opportunities to check-raise.
Aggressive players like to continuation bet on a wide range of flops, especially uncoordinated boards. When you're against such a player, consider throwing in the occasional check-raise.
If you aren't comfortable doing this as a pure bluff, make the check-raise with semi-bluff hands such as a flush draw or with marginal hands like bottom pair.
Provided that you haven't been caught bluffing and aren't overusing this move, you will likely take away a large number of pots in this situation.
2. Check-Raising as a Semi-Bluff
A commonly used check-raise is the semi-bluff. For those new to poker, a semi-bluff is when you are betting with a draw or with a hand that you are certain is behind.
The most common semi-bluff check raise is when someone flops a straight or flush draw out of position.
Your purpose for check-raising here is to both build the pot and take control of the hand. You're representing a made hand and making it look like you're trying to chase out draws.
There are times your opponent will fold to your check-raise. If they don't and you hit your draw, you may get paid off in a huge pot or take their entire stack.
This is the case where the semi-bluff can actually help disguise the strength of your hand and make it a bit more difficult for them to get a read on you, especially if you mix up how you play your draws.
3. Check-Raising Fish For Value
Check-raising is another great tool to use against fish and calling stations that are likely to pay you off.
In this scenario, you are going to be slow playing a big hand against a weaker player in the hopes they pay you off when you check-raise.
The success of this is going to depend on your read on your opponent and just how poorly they are playing. You want to try and target the player who seems to be in every pot and calling down until they have no shot of winning.
The flop and turn are where you're going to employ this tactic. If you have a strong hand on the flop, don't be afraid to try the check-raise against a weak opponent.
Calling stations may call you down, especially if you size the bet well. Make it look like you're playing the hand weakly to make them commit chips.
If they call on the flop, they will likely do the same on turn unless the board coordinates in such a way to kill your action.
Of course, make sure to pay attention to make sure they haven't potentially outdrawn you. There is nothing worse than flopping a straight and then losing your entire stack to a runner-runner flush.
In other words, if your opponent pushes back or goes all-in, make sure you have the goods or the right read to make the call.
Check-raising in poker is a valuable move for any poker player to have in their arsenal.
It can help you pick up small pots, bluff opponents off their hands and help you build large pots with your made hands.
By identifying the right opponents and the right spots to incorporate the check-raise, you will become a better player and increase your bottom line.