When to Use the Check-Raise
When you check-raise in poker, you opt to check first (pass the chance to place a bet) in a betting round because you hope that another player will open, and later in the same round, raise. This is one of the most widely used deceptions in poker. You may check-raise when you sense that your opponent, (with a hand of low value) will refrain from calling a direct bet, or is bluffing. This will give you the chance to win more at the table than if you were to bet directly.
There are two benefits to check-raising. Firstly, you will be able to build the value of the pot when you check-raise with a hand of extremely high value. In such a situation, if you are in an early position, you will not be able to raise. So, check first and after a player bets, you can raise the table. Secondly, you will be able to force other players to fold. If you do this, and have a two pair, trips or strong pair, you will be able to reduce pot odds in time for draws.
Check-raising should be used only if you are sure that another player will bet in that round. So, if your table has a pre-flop raiser, you can be relatively certain that he will bet on the flop too. Another situation in which you can check-raise is if the flop has a scare card. When such a card, like an ace is laid on the board, the probability that it suits another player’s pocket hand is considerably high. In such a situation, the player will be likely to bet. So, if you check and he bets, you can then raise later in the round.
Position of bettor
When you check-raise, expecting another player to bet, it is essential that you do so after taking into consideration his position at the table. You will be able to get more money in the pot if the bettor is seated immediately by on your side. This way, opponents will have to call a bet twice without folding.
One factor that can change this situation is if the bettor opts to re-raise. If your key intention for check-raising is to force other players to fold, the bettor should ideally be in the last position. This means that he should bet just before you. This will give you the opportunity to raise soon after he does. Also, the opponents will have to pay two bets simultaneously and without getting the right pot odds, they may be forced to fold.
Opportunities for check-raising
There are a few opportunities that are viable for check-raising. One such is at the flop and turn, as you may be able to bring out draws at these streets. If your main intention is to add to the pot, you may benefit by waiting till the turn, where the bets can double. However, you need not wait till the river, as on the fifth street you will not be able to maximize the benefits of a check-raise.
Also, draws are capable of paying at the fourth street, and if it fails, it will not reward at the fifth street. Similarly, another viable opportunity for check-raising is when you have small sets that are a type of well-hidden hands.