Check raising the turn as bluff

If you have read my past Cardplayer articles you know that I am not a big fan of slowplaying. In fact, I think it is one...

Posted Feb 17, 2013


Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

If you have read my past Cardplayer articles you know that I am not a big fan of slowplaying. In fact, I think it is one of the biggest mistakes that people make at the lower levels. However, because the practice is so widespread and rampant we can sometimes use this to our advantage.

A common line that you can take with a medium strength hand after being the preflop raiser is check-calling from out of position. Let us say for example that we raise with J T from mid position and the button calls. The board comes out QT3r. We decide to check call the flop, inducing bluffs and hiding the strength of our hand. If we decided to bet, depending on our opponent, it may be rare that worse would call us. The turn comes an off suit deuce and we check to the button who fires again. At this point we are pretty sure that he does have a better hand--either a Q or a T with a better kicker. We are not giving too much away by just check-folding. But what if we decide to raise and turn our hand into a bluff?

Check-call check-raise lines from preflop raisers are super strong. In all of the years that I have commentated on Live at the Bike I have probably only seen this play once or twice as a bluff and normally with some gigantic two way draw that was picked up on the turn. 

If we put ourselves in the position of the field better, especially when we are moderately deep, it is very difficult to call with just a queen as the preflop raiser’s hand looks a ton like pocket tens. We also would be forced to fold out a hand like AT. Using this play can also be very useful when players continue to blindly bet top pair on the turn. You will find that you start to get reserve free cards if players notice that you have a check raise turn range after being the preflop raiser. I discuss his concept in depth in Episode 21 of my strategy podcast “Seat Open” at

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