Holdem Basics â€“ The Check-Raise
Although this article is about Holdem basics, we decided to include the check-raise here, because – although a tad more advanced strategy move – it still represents a very basic level of poker thought.
The check-raise is a fascinating move: it allows a player to turn an opponent’s position against him by getting more money into the pot when he has the goods. It also allows players to make their opponents fold when they don’t have a hand.
The check-raise is a double edged sword indeed, which is a powerful tool in the hands of someone who knows how to use it. What’s truly impressive about this move – at least on a theoretic level – is that it’s capable of turning the position-advantage around, in a game which is pretty much all about position.
Check-raising is usually done for one of two reasons: the player taking advantage of the power of the check raise may either look to get more money (value) into the pot through it – in case he has a hand, or he may be looking to drive his opponent off the pot, using the check-raise as a bluff.
In order to be efficient, check-raising needs to be done right. Firing out check raises errantly is just not the way to go. How does one do it right though? In order to do it right, one needs to know one thing: what he’s trying to accomplish through it. Poker is a game of forward-planning and nowhere is this aspect more obvious than in the case of the check-raise. Before you begin executing your check raise, ask yourself: are you doing it for value or are you doing it as a bluff?
For beginners, it is recommended that they use the check-raise for value mostly. When used as a bluff, the check-raise is much more difficult to pull off as quite a few additional variables (like proper reads on the opposition) come into the equation.
Before check-raising for value, go through the following check-list: are you the one to act before your target opponent? Is your opponent aggressive enough to bet into you with a wide range when you check? Is the pot a multi-handed one? This last factor is not a must, but it is a proven fact that check-raising for value is most efficient when done in multi-way situations.
When one is using the check-raise as a bluff, he’s essentially taking advantage of his opponent’s c-betting knowledge, but more on that in a different article.