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Should you Bet or Check Raise?

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Bet or Check Raise?

Picture this situation: you are playing for a pot with another poker player and you have confidence that your hand is better than his, but the fact that you are first to take action does not help you at all.

You are not sure what move to make but you are certain that you want to get as much money into the middle. You have two possibilities: bet and hope that they will call or check-raise them and help increase the money that goes to the pot. So, what is the best option?

First, we need to see the pros and cons of betting versus check-raising.

Check raising

You help increase the amount of money that ends in the pot when you check raise because as you raise your opponent’s bet, you force them to put more money into the pot if they want to see the next poker card. The more they bet, the more you could win.

However, it could happen that your opponent does not bet and you’ll miss the opportunity to increase the pot. Besides, when you check-raise you are using a powerful move that will reduce your opportunity to force your opponent to contribute more money to the pot in future rounds or in the current round.


  • The chance to get more money into the pot.


  • Your opponents may be forced to fold.
  • If your opponent decides to check behind you, you won’t have the opportunity to check raise.

Betting out first

When you are the first player to bet out instead of checking with the aim to raise, you are eliminating the option of giving a free card to your opponent when they would check after you. Besides, a check-raise shows much more strength than a bet, which will give a hand an air of mystery, which can be really profitable.

By betting our first, we are restricting the amount of money that we could force our opponents to contribute to the pot. This is the advantage check-raise has over betting out.


  • A good chance to get more money in to the pot.
  • You can conceal your hand better than if you check raise.


  • You may not be able to get as much money in to the pot.

When you are first to act, should you bet or check raise?

There two ways to build the pot and the choice to bet or check raise depends on the situation you face. Most of the time, you’d be better off betting first instead of getting messed with a check raise. It’s not that check-raising is the most extravagant and stylish play, but a bet is simpler when you are the first to act and is also the best choice in general.

Betting out it the option when you feel you have the best hand because when you bet out you get rid of the risk of giving a free card to the other poker hold’em player and at the same time you don’t reveal too much information about your hand. These two points are far more important than the possibility of using check raises to get more money into the pot in the long term, which means you should use the check raises in special occasions only.

Generally, it is better for you to bet out when you are in first position than to go for the check raise.

Choosing safety is better than choosing the risk of going for the big win from time to time.

When is it best to check raise?

The best use for the check raise is when you are bluffing and semi-bluffing as opposed to using it when you want to increase the amount of money that goes to the pot when you think you have the best hand. Check raise has the ability to show the strength of your hand and it’s not so good to potentially force the other players to contribute more money to the pot.

You could use it as a way to build the pot when you face weak poker Texas Hold’em players who do not know what the check raise means but it’s not a good move to use when you are playing against experienced players and you want to show them that you have a really strong hand.

For example, you should use the check raise when you feel comfortable that your hand will not be outdrawn and that the other player will not call your bet. As a result, you give them the chance to bet out and try to steal the hand, although you know you have the strongest hand. However, if you decide to bet out, you’d be better off if you call and induce a bet in a future betting round that if you end the action with a check-raise.

Bet or check raise overview

Check raise is a resource you should use from time to time since there are other plays that will be more profitable to you. Check raise can be effective when you use it occasionally but when the simpler option is the best (and also maximizes value), you don’t need to get fancy with your game.

If you are out of position it won’t be easy to build the pot but you have to work with the situation in the best possible way. In general, if you don’t know what to do, just bet out.

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