02-18-06 [poker] - 1

02-18-06 [poker]

I've been thinking about when to check-raise. It's something I do so rarely, and I kind of do it randomly, which is bad. I'd like to give myself some specific criteria for when check-raising is good.

On the flop - if I'm the preflop raiser I'll almost never check-raise. I'll usually continuation bet, and rarely check/call or check/fold. If I'm not the preflop raiser, and I hit some kind of medium hand, I'll usually just lead out or check/call or check/fold. Check-raising might be useful for trapping a continuation bet. My first thought is if I suspect he's whiffed but will still c-bet, I can check-raise to win his c-bet. The problem there is if I'm called, I'm out of position in a big pot with a mediocre hand. Check-raising with a draw sucks because if he calls and you miss, you're on the turn out of position and have to lead again or check, which shows weakness and invites an attack. A good time to check-raise is when you want to build a pot but are worried your opponent might just call. For example, you flop two pair or a set and the board has a flush and/or straight draw. If you're sure the preflop raiser will continuation bet, this is a good time to check-raise because if you just lead he can call with good odds to hit his draw and fold all other hands. This is especially good with hands like bottom two pair which are very vulnerable.

On the turn - I like check-raising a lot more here when I have a big hand. If I check/called the flop, he has the betting lead and will often bet again. If I put him on a draw, I won't check for fear he checks behind, but if I put him on like top pair and I have two pair or a set, a check-raise is perfect here. Also, if I was the preflop raiser and I bet the flop, against aggressive attacking opponents an check-raise is very powerful. You raised preflop, you bet the flop, now you check the turn, it shows weakness and many villains can't resist attacking. Of course you have to be pretty sure he's an aggressive attacking type of villain.

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