A check-raise is when one player checks his hand on the flop, another bets and then the original player comes back over the top with a raise. It's a very effective play – both as a bluff and with a big hand – but remarkably, check-raising was banned in some Las Vegas casinos for being an example of poor etiquette! Well, the good news is that check-raising is most certainly allowed online at PokerStars in No Limit Hold'em poker – here's how to do it successfully…
Also, if you have been playing an aggressive game so far your opponent may not give your check-raise the credit it deserves. On a flop like this, they could put you on a draw and call down with relatively weak hands. If you have the right table image, check-raising against a curious opponent can pay huge dividends.
The same principles apply when you are check-raising as a bluff, but this time in reverse. Now you should be attacking flops that you think your opponent has missed, not that you hope they have hit! Using the same
flop, this is perfect to check-raise as a bluff. We have already concluded there is a good chance your opponent has missed, so you should take this opportunity to bluff, even if you only have a weak hand like Q-J.
In a perfect world, you will always have some chance of making the best hand when you check-raise as a bluff. This is just in case your opponent has actually hit, or is one of those players that does not like to fold. For example, a check-raise with Q-J on a T-8-2 flop is a good idea because you have lots of ways to win even if you are called. A 9 could fall on the turn and give you the nut straight, and a Queen or Jack would give you top pair. Bluffing with Q-J in this situation is much better than choosing a hand like 6-5, where you are dead when called.
Look to add more check-raises into your online poker game, both for value and as bluffs. Pay attention to your opponents and adjust your poker strategy accordingly. If they are calling too much then check-raise with your big hands all of the time and don't bluff at all. Whereas if they are folding too much then slow play with big hands much more and look to check-raise bluff at every opportunity.