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How to Check-Raise in Poker

Learn how to check-raise in poker from poker champion Nick "Nicky Numbers" Brancato in this Howcast video.


Hey I'm professional poker player Nicky Numbers and now I'm gonna talk to you about check raising. The first thing to know about check raising is what it is. A check raise is when you check, your opponent makes a bet, and you raise them. So in order to be able to check raise, you first have to be able to check on a betting round. That can only occur on the flop, turn, and river. There are no check raises pre-flop. Also in order to check raise, you have to be out of position against your opponent, which means that you act first. So if I act first on the flop for example, and I check and then it's on you, you have the option of betting. If you bet, then it comes back to me and I have the option of calling, folding, or raising. If I elect to increase the wager on the flop and choose to raise, then I'm going to be executing a check raise. However I can't control whether or not you choose to bet. So there is some risk with attempting a check raise.

If I check and then you don't bet, I don't have the opportunity to act again on the flop. So now we're going to the turn and see a free card. A check raise is basically a form of delayed aggression. I'm taking a passive action now by checking with the hopes of inducing a bet from you, which I'll then raise. Now I may be hoping to induce a bet from you because I have a strong made hand and I'm attempting to get additional action, or I may be attempting to induce a bet from you so that I can make a bluff because I don't believe that your bet is likely to represent a strong made hand. Either way a check raise is a powerful play that you can make at the table. However it does have liability associated with it because, by definition, when you check to your opponent, you give them the opportunity to not bet and potentially risk having no wagers go into the pot on this streak, which means that you lose a betting round. There are only four betting rounds: pre-flop, the flop, the turn, and the river. If you're attempting a check raise, it means you're already post-flop. So if you try to check raise on the flop and fail, now you're on the turn and you've missed a chance to put chips into the pot.

The same thing would be true on the turn going to the river. So you do have to be careful when you choose to check raise, in that you have to be okay with your opponent checking behind you and going to the next street without any bets being made on this street at all. Now if you're going to execute a check raise, it's important that you have a consistent amount that you raise your opponent. If they make a bet, I suggest you raise three times the total amount that they put out there. So if they bet $500, you would check raise to $1500 (3 times $500 or $1500). If you don't consistently raise the same multiple when you check raise your opponent or when you raise them in any situation really, then you risk giving off betting pattern tells, which could result in your opponents picking up on them and exploiting you.

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