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Check-Raising With a Second-Best Hand

While you generally check-raise because you think you have the best hand, it is frequently correct to check-raise with a second-best hand if the play will drive other opponents out. The principle here is identical to the principle of raising with what you think is the second-best hand. If the probable best hand is to your immediate right, you can check, wait for that player to bet, then raise so that the rest of the table will fold rather than call a double bet. While you may not be the favorite, you have still increased your chances of winning the pot, and you have the extra equity of whatever dead money is in the pot from earlier betting rounds.

Sometimes you can check-raise with a come hand like a four-flush if there are many people in the pot already and you don't expect a reraise; for you are getting good enough odds, especially if you have a couple of cards to come. This play should usually be made only when the probable bettor is to your immediate left; then the other players will call that bettor before they realize you are putting in a raise. You do not want to drive players out because you want to get the correct odds for your raise.

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 Poker Games Strategies | Theory of Bluffing | Pot Size and Number of Opponents | Checking in Poker | | Raising in Poker | Reading Hands | The Pace of Play and Position |