How to Play Against Check Raises in Poker

Understanding the Impact of Sizing

When facing a check-raise in poker, the first thing to consider is the sizing. Both the raise size of your opponent and the continuation bet (cbet) size that you used initially play a crucial role in how you should respond. Generally, when your opponent uses larger sizes, you will defend at a lower frequency, and when they use smaller sizes, you defend wider. This principle applies to all parts of poker, not just check raises.

The Big Blind Check-Raising Range

When facing a check raise on a dry and uncoordinated flop like King Seven Deuce (rainbow), the big blind’s check-raising range can be wide. They often have bottom pair hands (like three-deuce suited or four-deuce suited), second pair hands, and backdoor flush and straight draw combos (like eight-six suited or nine-eight suited). As the button, you want to fold marginal hands like Ace-Nine offsuit or Queen-Jack offsuit, but call with hands that have backdoor straight or flush draws, such as Jack-Eight suited or Queen-Nine suited.

Impact of Cbet Size

Your cbet size also affects your opponent’s check-raising range. If you use a smaller cbet, they will check raise at a higher frequency, while a larger cbet will result in a lower check-raise frequency. However, the actual range of hands that check raises remains relatively similar regardless of the cbet size. The difference lies in the frequency of check raises.

Playing Against a Draw-Heavy Flop

On a draw-heavy flop like Ten-Nine-Three (two-tone), the big blind’s check-raising range is narrower compared to the previous example. They have fewer backdoor hands and rely more on immediate equity to check raise. As the button, your value range is more inclined to fast play, while your calling range becomes more condensed, focusing on hands with higher equity. It’s important to adjust your strategy based on the specific board texture and your opponent’s tendencies.


Dealing with check raises in poker requires an understanding of sizing and range considerations. The raise size and cbet size impact your response and should be evaluated in relation to the specific board texture. By analyzing your opponent’s range and adjusting your own strategy accordingly, you can effectively navigate check raises and make the most profitable decisions in your poker games.

Leave a comment