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Check Raising – The Big Steal, Making the move.

3 comments ● 2011-05-05

Being creative at the poker table is one of the most fun ways to improve your game and make you a successful poker player. I wanted to share a nice move I made with you all to provide you with all as an example of being creative in the game of No Limit Texas Holdem. I won a decent sized pot at a small stakes game that I was involved in a while ago, this is how it went down.

Location: Star City Cash Game

Blinds are $1, 2.

The table has been pretty loose with raises constantly Pre-Flop ranging from $7- $15, mostly started from when I sat to the table. Most three bets usually get called by the initial raiser, but hardly any get 4 betted. In fact I have yet to see 4th and 5th bets –pre flop. Everyone on the table has a nice stack of around $200 or more. In fact I am the short stack with $160.

From mid position a gentlemen makes it $8 preflop, with everyone calling I look down at my hand to see a nice starting hand 5♣5♦. I probably do not need to tell you how good a small pocket pair can be when entering a multi-way pot, they have the potential to be very dangerous and if I catch my 3rd five I can look forward to an opportunity to get some chips! I already licking my chops and dreaming of going to set city.

I call the raise and 5 people see a flop, putting $40 into the pot.

The board reads:


I check, not quite the board I was looking for. Where is that 3rd five? I should check here right? Maybe everyone else will also check and I’ll get a free turn, spike it then – that will learn them!

The initial raiser makes it $20, 3 people call and one person folds throwing another $80 into the pot, what is going on here? This was not meant to happen at all!

All of a sudden this pot has swelled up to $120. This has become juicy, and that board is pretty draw heavy, however not a single person has really showed any real strength here. I see all of that juice out there and think if anyone has anything there would be a more solid raise and a lot more action going into the pot.

The table has a lot of old guys who love those J 10 sort of hands, or like to hold on to that lone Ace till the river. In fact I think the Initial raiser most probably has AK/AQ type of hand here and has made a good pretty standard C-bet, only to pick up some clinger’s. He has not realised that what he was doing was building a nice pot.

What would allow me to win this pot? As I mean isn't this the point of the game - to win? I haven’t showed any strength thus far. I should probably muck, get out of the way –there’s no shame in that right? But hang on, there’s $120 in that pot, that'll look pretty good against my current stack of around 150… I limped in here… Can I represent strength?

Take your time, breath…. I tell myself. What would I have done having I flopped a set or the nut straight from first position going into a multi-way pot? Check –raise. I love this move. It scares the shit out of people, I like making it when I have it, but I LOVE making it when I don’t.

Can I represent strength here with this move? Indeed. Has anyone else shown strength here? The initial raiser is the only one who has shown any real strength. But not much, betting 50% of the pot into a 5 way pot is definitely pretty weak. And in poker, if you sense weakness – you have to pounce. Just like if in the wild, only the strong survive.

I stack all of my chips and slide them in the middle, a total of around $150 total. If you are going to tell a lie – tell a big one. Everyone does what I thought they would do - fold. I add a nice $120 to my stack.

Why did I decide to check raise here? Was it because I was sure I had the best hand? No. In fact it would be hard for me to have the best hand here.

I made this check raise here to steal this pot. To represent strength. And to let everyone else at the table know – that at any time I could slide my stack in the middle to take what I thought was mien. It was also about developing a strong table image as it was about stealing this one particular pot.

I believed that based on how the hand was played I could steal a very nice pot. If I got called, I wouldn’t have liked it- but I had outs, not many and also there is still the possibility that my pair is still best. The board was a very heavy draw board and would make it very hard for a top-pair type of hand to call or incredibly hard if someone had a middle pair type of hand to call.

None of the last players to enter this pot on the flop that called the raise made by the initial raiser has represented ANY strength and would have to do so if they have ANY sort of hand to prevent seeing a card that will complete a straight/flush. All of the players had a nice medium sized stack behind them and none of them we small stacks/large stacks. This was a major factor in my move here, if any of these player’s we short stacked I would have been a bit more reluctant to make this move based on pot odds for a player to call.

I would not try this move all the time, but be on the lookout for these sorts of spots in your game. If you do get called and loose, it will increase your image and give your opponents more reason to call you when you do have it!

Poker is a simple game to learn, but hard to master. To be successful in winning, you have to be creative in your approach to the game and against the players you are playing against. It is forever changing – so you have to do your best to keep your opponents guessing!

One of your greatest weapons in playing this game is you have to spot for opportunities to capitalise on weak play. You have to be forever on the lookout for these situations to do this and have the balls to act on these instincts. Because that’s what they are – instincts, believe in your ability to find these spots, and have the courage to act on them - you will be rewarded.



Comments (3)

  • TassieDevil
    TassieDevil 05-05-2011 15:04

    pretty sure this is spew at the star city 1/2 game

  • Elvis
    Elvis 05-06-2011 09:19

    Indeed. Am surprised you didn't get snapped off by A9 or 2 spades.

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