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The Check-Raise: Two Classic Examples

This article walks through two classic situations in which a check-raise can be used effectively.

Example 1: Eliminating the Opposition

You are in the big blind and hold A♣-4♦. Two players call and you check.
The flop comes A♥-4♠-5♦. In this situation, if someone is holding A-K or A-Q, they should be pretty pleased with this flop, meaning you can be pretty sure such a player would bet. Furthermore, if they are holding something like A-2 or A-3, they are holding a gut-check straight draw, which could, of course, crush your two pair.

You are first to act and opt to check. One player bets and the player after her calls. It is your turn again. By checking before, now you have the option to raise, fold or call. You put on the check-raise, the first opponent calls all-in and the player following her folds.

The turn comes 4♥ and the river is 5♣, giving you a full-house and your opponent who was indeed holding A-K ends up with two-pair.

In this case, you held a very good, but beatable hand. Hence, you eliminated one player with the check-raise, increasing your chances of maintaining the lead. In addition, you enticed the player with the second-best hand to risk all of her remaining chips.

Example 2: Milking the Pot

You are, once again, on the big blind with K♥-J♦. There are three callers this time, and then a raise in late position. You call the raise. Now the flop comes J♣-7♥-5♠.

Once again, you are fairly certain that you hold the best hand. If you bet out immediately here with a small-sized bet such as the blind or two-times the blind, you will be giving your opponents great odds, making it correct for hands such as 9-8 and 6-5 to call. If you bet with a large bet, you may just end up taking the pot down right there.

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