Check Raising: How to Avoid Being Predictable

February 18, 2013 By: KasinoKrime

Here’s The Exact Board Textures And Opponent Types To Check Raise Against

Check Raising Based on Board Textures in PLOSomething I’ve found to be weird is how at in the entryway for most of the poker rooms in Las Vegas, they have a sign that says “check-raising is permitted in this poker room”.

What the hell is that all about?

Was there seriously a time where players weren’t allowed to check-raise?

They probably outlawed it because all of the nitty old men got bitter when tourists came into the game and check-raised them too much.

Well, fortunately for us, we’re allowed to check-raise however much we want to in PLO, which is a good thing because when used properly, check-raising makes you much tougher to play against.

But before I get ahead of myself, let me make a couple of things clear…

…the first one is that in this context, I’m only talking about check-raise bluffing here, NOT check-raising when we actually have the stones. It’s not that check-raising with the stones is necessarily bad on these boards, but I want to save the part about check-raising with equity for another day.

Now, let’s discuss a few different board textures that are good candidates for check-raise bluffing.

Monotone boards are good for check-raising because hands that are not flushes are drawing practically dead…which translates into most players giving up easily when they’re faced with aggression.

Check-raising with a set on monotone boards is also a good option, because you have one of the few hands that actually has equity on a monotone board. When you consider the fold equity that stems from your check-raise, this can be a VERY profitable line to take.

Here is something else that’s critical to keep in mind…

…the dynamic on monotone boards changes dramatically as you develop history with someone.

One of the main concepts I discuss in Lesson 8, “Boarding School”, of PLO QuickPro Elite, is how the play dynamic on static boards is very frequency driven, so once two players get to the level where they both know the other probably doesn’t have a flush, you’ll be forced to get more creative if you’re trying to make them fold.

Like monotone boards, paired boards are good for check-raise bluffing because beside trips, there aren’t that many hands with enough equity to call you (that is, assuming they think you have trips). Similar to monotone boards, the dynamic on paired boards changes once you develop history with a player. Also, most players won’t give you nearly as much credit when you check-raise on a 224 board compared to when you check-raise a JJ8 board, so don’t just fire at the hip for no reason, or in other words, make sure your bluff actually makes sense.

Now, you know that check-raising paired and monotone boards works well, but what happens when players start to pick up on our strategy, and adjust by re-bluffing and calling us down lighter?

In my opinion, we should look for more boards that fit our requirements.

Remember, we’re looking for boards that players c-bet with a high frequency, but that DO NOT flop equity on very often. High/low/low boards (e.g. K♥4♠5♣, K♥8♠6♦, Q♠5♥7♦) fit this requirement perfectly, and even though boards like this provide more equity to players than the textures we covered last section, there’s still a wide range of hands that people will fold.

Any pair below the top card is drawing poorly against the top pair with side cards, and additionally, players won’t just peel you with a wide range because of the threat of future bets.

High/low/low boards are much different than high/high/low boards, because the latter contains straight draws that are more likely to connect with the ranges of hands players open with pre-flop, or is what we call “heavier” boards. It’s also important to note that you’re not limited to check-raising only air on these boards.

…for example, if you have a pair and a straight draw on any of these boards, both check-raising and donk-betting on these boards is a good line to take depending on your opponent’s c-betting tendencies.

Other boards that are cash money to check-raise are the lockdown boards, which as explained by Phil Galfond, are boards where there are very few hands that have equity against the current nuts (e.g. 5♦6♠9♣, 4♠5♦8♣).

Now, up to this point…

I’ve covered the different opponents and board textures that meet the requirements for good check-raising opportunities. But there’s something else that you can use to increase the success rate of your check-raises, as well as your overall hand reading skills.

What you must do, is start to lock on to the ranges your opponents play preflop, and how their opening ranges fit into each board texture.

Let’s use an easy example to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about. Let’s say a solid regular that’s playing a 22/15 opens from UTG. What do you think his UTG opening range consists of?

Mostly big single-suited and double-suited pairs, as well as the premium connected rundowns right?

***What this means is that it’s probably a BAD idea to check-raise bluff on the boards that have a lot of broadway cards. (Tweet This)

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