Sports & Gaming


Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 07:08 min

Learn how adding the check-raise to your toolkit can open up bluffing opportunities, extract extra value, and keep you from getting run over when you’re out of position.

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Topics include: Keep People Guessing With Your Check-Raising • Balance Your Check-Raises With Check-Calls • Quiz: Check-Raising • Quiz: Check-Raising #2


Check-raising is a deadly weapon, and it must be used occasionally. And a lot of benefits come from check-raising. Obviously, you know, you get value when you have a good hand. It allows you to bluff in certain situations. But most importantly, it stops the opponent who has position on you from just running over you, right? If you're a player who doesn't really ever check-raise, well, then your opponent can always feel free to bet the turn, you know, and know that there's no fear of you check-raising him off of his draw or anything along those lines. So what this will do for you is, if you start to check-raise occasionally and people know that you're capable of it, sometimes it'll get your free cards. Because people are afraid. Like, I don't really want to bet here because if I get check-raised, I don't know that I can call. So that will allow you to see some rivers that you may not otherwise. Ideally, the image you want to create is someone to be feared. You want to be feared in all situations. When you check, you don't want necessarily that to be a signal for everyone to say, well, I'm just going to run you over. There's too many players who play so straightforward that a check means exactly what you'd expect-- I don't have a very good hand. And a bet means-- I think I have a very good hand. You don't want to be that player. In some home games, especially when I started playing, check-raising? Hey, that's not legal. We didn't even allow it, right? It seemed like, hey, man, you checked. You don't get to raise. But it's actually a pretty important weapon for the player that is out of position. As we've, you know, established, obviously, being out of position forces you into being more defensive. Well, one of the weapons you can use is a check-raise. But you need to be really smart about how you're doing so because, if you're check-raising too often, you're making the pot bigger for an opponent who's going to be in position and call a lot, and you're going to put yourself in a lot more difficult situations. The other problem with check-raising is doing it in a balanced fashion. OK? So if you calls from the big blind a raise, and the button raise to 3x and you called, and the flop comes King 7, deuce, rainbow, you know, and you flop Kings and 7s. That's a really good hand. Yeah! You check, button bets, and you check-raise. Well, first of all, your opponent probably didn't have that much since you block, as we say. You have a King and a 7. So that's one less card that they could have to continue with. In addition to that, the question is is, are you going to only check-raise when you have good hands and then just check fold when you don't? What happens when you check call? So if you're check-raising too many of your good hands, it means that the hands you check in call with become weaker, as far as a range goes. So it's a very dangerous game to play. It certainly plays a role on flops, turns, and rivers. There's a lot of situati...

About the Instructor

Put yourself across the felt from Daniel Negreanu, the biggest live tournament poker winner of all time. The six-time World Series of Poker champion teaches poker strategy, advanced theory, and practice through hand-reviews of his winning games. Learn how to sharpen your mental game through demos on reading opponents and spotting tells. Join Daniel at the table to increase your win rate, grow your ROI, and get your game “in the money.”

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Daniel Negreanu

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