Poker is a game of not just cards, but also strategy and smart moves. While the point of the game is to defeat your opponents and walk away with the pot, you have to do this very strategically and tactfully. It involves knowing not only the rules but also the cards, the players, and their psychology. However, to help you on this journey towards the pot, the game already consists of several power moves that can help you eliminate the competition. One such move is the check-raise.
Now, if you’re a beginner or haven’t been trying out strategic moves, then you might be wondering what this move is. But don’t worry; we’ll give you the lowdown you need to master this maneuver.
Basically, an essential part of a poker game is the concept of betting. Betting is what creates a pot and also incentivizes players to keep playing till the end. The higher the bets placed, the more cash there is for the winner to take home. But apart from this, betting can also be used to manipulate the game and the players. Check-raise is a move exactly like that. Essentially, while the betting round commences, a player checks fairly early in the game. This allows that player to sit back and watch the betting action unfold and draw conclusions about the other players’ cards and mindsets. Then, this player will go ahead and raise the bet in that very round, itself. Thus, the player places a bet and even raises the betting amount, but does so only after watching the betting as an observer and forcing someone else to open the round.
This move is usually pulled by people who either have a lot of experience or have a great poker hand. This move displays a very strong hand range because when a player plays this move, he or she is responding to the bets by a raised bet. This is a fairly aggressive response to another players’ aggression. However, while playing this move, you want to be careful that you don’t bet to any extreme because otherwise, you’ll entirely betray what cards you hold. To ensure that this does not happen, you can include some bluffs into your play and mix things up. This will keep the exact details of your cards safe.
But how do you know when it’s time to play the move? There are two key points that you should keep an eye on if you want to play this move. They are as follows:
Your opponents’ betting frequencies: the number of times your opponent chooses to bet can tell you a lot about their cards. If they bet quite often, you can deduce that they have a wide range, and many hands, which will cause them to fold if they are check-raised.
Your opponents’ cards and the board: ofcourse it is important to note how your opponent’s cards will fit into the board. If overall, the cards are in the favour of your opponent, you should avoid playing this move, because the strength of their hand will make it unlikely that they will fold.
Now that we’ve got the basics of the move down, we can examine why this move is used in the first place. This will highlight the tactical advantages and strategic importance of the move, and make it easier for you to understand when and how it can be used to your advantage.
Reasons to Check Raise In Poker
There are some very pertinent reasons to check-raise opponents when you’re playing a game of poker. They are as follows:
1) Dismisses Positional Advantage: position is of immense importance to a game of poker, especially when it comes to betting. When you’re in an early position, your opponent has the advantage of seeing you place a bet and can deduce whether or not you have strong cards from the amount you bet. However, when you play this move, you deceive your opponent into believing your hand to be one thing when it is another. It lulls them into a false sense of security and causes them to place higher bets than they would have.
2) Makes High Frequency Betters Fold: players who tend to bet often usually bet even when their cards are quite average, sometimes even less than. In such cases, when you initially fold, your opponent will tend to continue to bet even of low-value cards. However, when you raise later in the game, they will have to match the bet, which they won’t because of their inferior cards. So not only will such frequent betters end up folding instead of re-raising, but you can also induce them to bet in the first place and sweeten the pot.
3) Intimidation: This move works well to intimidate your opponents into folding their cards. Check raising opponents can help create the image that you have very strong hands and are willing to raise the bet to support them. It also is a deceptive and unpredictable move that can catch other players off guard and throw them off their game. In this way, it can set you up for an easier journey by making your opponents fold.
All of these reasons make this move a good weapon in your arsenal if you have strong enough cards, or if you’re in the position to pull off a good bluff. But remember to not overuse the move, and save it for the times when it’ll be most effective. You don’t want to use it against an opponent with a very strong hand and have them raising on your raised bet.
Now that we’ve given you all the details about this move, you can try it out and practice before you use it in a poker game. You can practice this tricky move, and play online poker with us at Spartan Poker!