Check-Raising as a Bluff

Check-raising as a bluff is a powerful weapon to use when you're out of position.

This move seems to be getting more popular, so you also need to know how to defend against it. In this video I discuss a hand where I'm facing a check-raise, which I suspect is a bluff.

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If you're out of position, the check-raise is one of the few real weapons you have.

If you called a pre-flop raise out of position, using the check-raise as a bluff can be particularly effective. It puts a lot of pressure on the pre-flop raiser and it can work out well in cases where you're up against an aggressive player with a high continuation bet frequency.

Check-raising as a bluff against the pre-flop raiser is often more successful than donk leading the flop. Although you have to keep in mind that the check-raise is also more expensive than a donk lead: it can cost you quite a few chips.

Check-raising as a Bluff

Bluffing with a check-raise against the pre-flop raiser will work best in the following circumstances:

  • Your opponent has a high pre-flop raising percentage when he's in position
  • He has a high continuation bet percentage
  • The flop is unlikely to have helped his range
  • The flop is dry and doesn't connect with a lot of hands (for example: paired boards and flops that don't contain any good draws)

Something that you see quite frequently is players check-raising Ace-high flops as a bluff. This can work out well, because if the continuation better does not have an Ace himself, he will often give up.

However, you have to be careful using this move against more skilled opponents, especially if you're a tight player yourself who is unlikely to just call a raise pre-flop with a lot of Ax hands. In that case, your opponent will often suspect that you're check-raising as a bluff.

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