Understanding the Check Raise in Online Poker
You might have heard the term check raise in online poker, but are unsure as to how and when to use it to get the most money out of your opponents. This video to show you a couple of examples of check raising opportunities, but firstly we should define what a check raise actually is.
A check raise is actually a culmination of three separate plays, by at least two players, in a single round of betting. Sounds confusing, but it really isn’t. Firstly, a player (let’s say, player number one) will check and then another player (player number two) will bet out. So when the action comes back to player number one, he will then raise. All of this must happen in the same round of betting. As you can tell, a checkraise can only happen if the player intending to do the check raise gets a little help from at least one other opponent. In that sense, to pull off a check raise, you have to have a good idea of how your opponents play and be able to predict with reasonable accuracy, if they will bet.
Since a check-raise can only be executed in a single round of betting, you need at least one other opponent to raise behind you, otherwise you won’t get a raising opportunity and the betting will be closed for that round, with nothing going into the pot. Even in multi-way pots, you’ll be surprised how much this happens when you’re planning a sneaky little check raise.
A check-raise has a bit of a dark connotation to it because it used to be frowned upon by traditional poker players, because of its deceptive nature. In fact, there were poker rooms that prohibited check raising at one point, and I’m sure there are some home games that still prohibit it as well. So, I guess it’s a good thing we’re not playing in the wild west anymore though, because check raising is not only allowed, it’s an excellent tactic that adds a surprising element to your game, and can build the pot when you have a strong hand, or even possibly take it down when you’ve got nothing.
Check-raising can also be used when you have a draw to the best hand. Ideally you want to check raise on the flop when this happens, because you’re still in the lower betting round. Once you get to turn or river, betting usually doubles and that is not where you want to be check raising because you’re basically committing yourself to the pot, and turning your hand into a complete bluff.
Even though check raising is a good tactic to have in your poker skill set, you’d do not want to overuse the strategy, because observant opponents will eventually trap you into a very expensive hand, whereby they will read raise you yet again with their strong hands. So use it the next time you think it’ll do something good a poker table and analyze it afterwards to see how effective it is at the level you play.