MCU poker tip: Hold ’em danger on the flop

When you’re check-raised on the flop, be prepared to surrender often unless your hand has promise. It’s tempting to bet aggressively when checked into and you hold a moderately strong hand or sometimes a fairly weak hand.

With the semi-strong type of hand, your decision is between value betting and accepting a free card. With the weaker type of hand, your decision is between accepting a free card and taking advantage of a possibly good bluffing opportunity.

Win now

So, betting is okay sometimes, because you might win the pot now. Or you might win the pot against other opponents who call with weaker hands. Or you might get lucky and beat superior hands that called.

It’s often profitable to stretch the limits of value betting when checked into. Usually, you don’t need a hand as strong as you think you do in order to want a call.

But an opponent’s check-raise in such cases can mean even more trouble than expected. Although check-raising is sometimes used as a bluff by aggressive opponents, it usually means what it represents — great strength. It’s tempting to call, because (in a limit game or against a reasonably sized raise in no-limit) the price is cheap considering the amount of money already in the pot.


But figure it’s likely to cost a lot more money to chase your opponent to the showdown. Unless you’re against a tricky and sophisticated opponent who often check-raises as a bluff, you should usually fold. You’ll save money. — MC

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

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