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What Is A Check-Raise In Poker?

What Is A Check-Raise In Poker?

The first step to becoming a great poker player is understanding poker terminology. It can be confusing to arrive at a poker table and not know the different terms. In addition, you might slow down the game and potentially lose money in your pursuit of trying to catch up with your opponents.

As soon as you know what raising, folding, and other poker terms mean, you can slowly start to build up your confidence at the poker tables.

One common question among new players tends to be, “what is a check-raise in poker?” Let’s find out in this Wizard Slots blog post below.

What Is A Check-Raise In Poker?

Check-raising, or sandbagging, is a poker action you make by checking when it is your turn to act in the anticipation that an opponent will bet, so you can then subsequently raise. The action combines two moves; checking and raising.

 A check is an action that doesn't involve putting chips into the pot. When you ‘check’, you decline to place a bet, a tactic a player may use if they don’t want to open the betting post flop. So, other players will have to check themselves or bet. In situations where an opponent has placed a bet, you would then raise to increase the size of the bet, hence the term check-raising. 

Why Should You Check-Raise?

First, the check-raise can be useful as a bluff to try and force your opponents out of the pot. Conversely, they can also place their bets, thus adding more money into the pot. Both scenarios can serve as a potential advantage to your gameplay.

Second, the check-raise move can add a dynamic element to your gameplay. It can also make it hard for other players to read you.

Is Check-Raise Bad Etiquette?

A check-raise sounds like a sophisticated play, but many poker variants and casinos do not allow it. Most casino game players regard the check-raise as deceptive. Some casinos consider the move unfair because it can potentially give players who use it an advantage. The advantage is that they can raise as soon as they get the opportunity, potentially leaving their opponents vulnerable.

Some players use check-raises as an intimidation tactic. For example, they may use the move often in an attempt to make their opponents less likely to win the pot. Consequently, they may scare opponents out of the hand.

Some online casinos enlist special tracking software in their poker games to detect how many times players check-raise.

When Should You Check-Raise In Poker?

The check-raise is one of the most decisive poker moves, so you should know when to use it properly. There are a few pointers to using the check-raise successfully. But the most important would be to ensure you’re the first to act.

Check-Raising As a Bluff

Rarely do some players have a strong enough hand to check-raise. But a valuable skill to cultivate in poker would be the bluff. Here’s what you need for a successful bluff;

  • Confidence

The check-raise, at its core, is a move used to try and intimidate your opponents. Therefore, being confident can go a long way toward the move’s success. The goal is to believe your opponent’s hand is weaker than yours.

  • Consider a relatively small pot

Check-raises are essentially a method used to bluff. Bluffing can usually be more impactful if the pot is small. A check-raise is intended to potentially earn you more instead of losing you money in the long run. Usually, the amount your opponent calls is larger in regard to the pot size. Check-raising tends to be more advisable during the 1st round or the next one if the size of the pot doesn’t change.

  • Raise strong

When you follow through with the re-raise, ensure it is at least twice the rival bet. A minimum raise might not have an impact on your opponent. Instead, they might call your bluff and become confident enough to bet a small amount.

Check-raising To Get Opponents To Add Money

A strong hand can be a good excuse to check-raise. In this scenario, your goal might be to get your opponents to put in as much money as possible. However, if you check-raise too much, you might scare other players out of the hand. Much like the bluff, it could be helpful if you implemented a few tactics before check-raising for extra money. For example;

  • Play a game with multiple opponents
  • Keep your check-raising at a minimum
  • Be the first player to use the move  
  • Remember that you should have a strong hand if you’re using this method as a reason to check-raise.


Although check-raising can be frowned upon in some circles, it remains one of the most superior poker moves. However, it can be challenging to implement without practice or experience. Therefore, ensure you consider your options carefully before using the check-raise. In addition, it might be a good idea to check if your online casino allows check-raising before attempting it.