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The Check Raise

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Haciendo check-raise

Although the "check raise" is considered by some as a dishonest move and many card rooms have even banned it, there is no doubt it is one of the most effective moves in poker Texas Hold'em and a strong weapon in a player's arsenal.

You make a check-raise when the action gets to you and you check because you want to raise if your opponents bet, this is why the move is called 'check-raise'.

On one hand, you show weakness by checking and on the other hand, you show strength by coming over the top of your opponents. This is the reason why it is considered a dishonest move, because trick your opponents into betting into the pot.

Why using the check raise?

The check raise comes in handy when you bluff your opponents out of the pots and also when you want to get more money into the pot because you have a strong hand. Sine you become more unpredictable, the check raise is also useful to introduce a dynamic element to your game.

Only expert players use this move, which means that if you use it your opponents will know you know how to play good poker and they think it twice before making a bluff on you to get you out of a pot. Below you'll find examples of how to use the check-raise to bluff and to get more money into the pot.

An example of check raise

  • Check-raising as a bluff and semi-bluff

Many argue that check raise is the strongest move in poker, which makes it really useful when you are trying to bluff. The more opponents you have, the less effective the move is, which is something you can also say about any kind of bluff. You need to meet three different criteria in order to make a good check raise:

You need to be in first position because, obviously, you have to check into your opponents to force them to bet.

In case your opponent bets, you'll show a high level of strength if you raise your opponent and you force them to fold if they hold marginal hands.

A check raise only works when you are the first player to act, if you are not then you are just raising.

If you want the move to be successful you require the following:

  • You should be positive that the other player has a marginal hand.
  • You should re-raise a minimum twice the amount of the other player's bet.
  • The pot should be moderately small.
  • It is better if you hold a drawing hand or a marginal hand.
  • Be positive that the other player has a hand they can fold

First of all, if you think that your opponent has a monster hand, then check-raising can do little or nothing to get them off the hand. However, a check-raise will most certainly work if you are sure your opponent tends to bet when a person checks to him even when he has no hand or small to middle pairs.

Make a strong raise

In second place, you should re-raise an amount that is twice your opponent's bet, at least. Suppose your opponent bet $5 into a $10 pot, then you should bet $15 and re-raise another $10. This happens because a minimum re-raise will probably have no effect on your opponent since if they want to see the next card they'll only have to call a small amount compared to the size of the pot. If your re-raise is twice their bet or more, they'll have to think harder if they want to pay so much money just to see the next card.

Try to re-raise at least twice the size of your opponent's bet and don't give them good odds to call.

Check raises are usually more effective in small pots

In third place, when the pot is small your bluff is more likely to work because in order to call your opponents must bet an amount which is large compared to the pot and this will give them the wrong pot odds. As a result, the check-raise move works better when you use it in the first betting round, such as the flop in poker hold'em. If nobody bets on the flop then you can use the check-raise on the turn and it will be as effective as on the flop since the flop still has the same size.

Finally, having a drawing hand will allow you to lose less money in the long run because your opponent may call your re-raise from time to time. In case you have no hand, you'll be forced to check and fold to any bet in future betting rounds and you'll lose the money you used to raise.

On the other hand, if your opponent calls and you have a good draw, then you'll still have a chance of winning the pot when you make the draw. Besides, you'll probably get a free card after you check-raise on the flop, since your opponent will think it twice before betting into you in the future and this will give you more chances of making a draw.

Check raising for extra money

A check-raise is especially useful when you get a monster hand in poker, because in this situation you want to get as much money into the pot as possible. In this situation, you'll want to use the check raise in a not so aggressive way so as to prevent your opponents from getting scared and leaving the hand. Just like when you sue the move to bluff, you need to follow certain criteria:

  • Check-raising to get extra money works better against multiple opponents.
  • You need to be in first or early position.
  • Avoid check-raising too frequently.

You should check raise when you want extra money if you are facing several opponents in the pot or otherwise you'll show too much strength and you'll scare the opponents who have marginal hands.

Generally, it is better that you bet straight out instead of going for the check raise but, when the time is right to use it, it is good to have it in your arsenal.

You should try the check raise when you are in the first position or in one of the early positions of the hand since when you are last to act in one of the late positions, you can't be certain if the players who come behind you will bet and allow you to raise.

Your aim is to get as much money from your opponents as you can but if you make a large re-raise you are taking the risk of making them fold. When you raise a minimum amount, your opponents will be more motivated to put more money into the pot since they don't have to pay much to see the next card.

If you decide to check-raise to get more money from your opponents, you should be certain that your hand is practically unbeatable. You should avoid making re-raises when your opponents have hands that could eventually out-draw you.

Check raise evaluation

You can get many advantages from the check-raise move if you use it correctly and when you hold or not a strong hand. Learning how to use it it's worth your time because it will add extra value to your poker game.

You should never overuse the move because you'll lose credibility when you use it often against the same opponent. You also need to have certain information about your opponent in order to check-raise.

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