Check Raise

A play that used to be considered bad etiquette and still is in some old casinos. The check raise is a tricky and powerful move when used effectively in poker.

What is a Check Raise?
It is where a player will check (representing weakness) and then re-raise a bet on the same round of betting. Let’s took a look at an example:

Example:
Player A raises to £10 before the flop and Player B calls from the big blind. The flop comes 7s 8s 3d. Player B checks to the initial raiser. Player A bets £15 and Player B re-raises to £50.  
Notice Player B checked, then raised the bet hence “check raise”.

Why Check Raise?
There can many reasons a player may opt to check raise. It can be designed to build the pot up for bigger bets and value later in the hand. It can also be used to represent a strong hand and in fact be bluffing. It can be used to exploit an aggressive player and it can also be used to semi bluff.

Photo by Amanda Jones @amandgraphc

Perceptions of a Check Raise
An experienced player will usually identify strength with a check raise as the opponent is putting in more chips and money than necessary. Let’s face it, if a player wants to bluff to win the pot – they will usually just bet to try and steal it. I mean, why risk more than necessary right?

A weak player may not read much into a check raise and will probably just play the strength of their own hand so if you are trying an elaborate bluff against a beginner who probably has a top pair or better, it might be worth thinking twice before barrelling off.

Risks of a Check Raise
By checking to your opponent you are risking giving free cards that can beat you. It also makes it harder to bluff if you have nothing as your opponent has less streets to fold to resistance. You need to feel pretty confident your opponent will bet if you are considering a check raise.
Secondly, if you are trying a check raise on a bluff that you are investing more than a standard bet. Let’s face it, if your opponent is strong, the fact you check raised isn’t going to make much of a difference.
There is also the risk that you do this move too often, even an intermediate player will pick up on tendencies so be careful not to over use the check raise.

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