Checking for Value

by trikkur

The term “checking for value” is not used by many other poker players. I came up with this term when I was trying to describe a situation where I wanted to check a hand because it would earn me more money than betting would. It may seem counter-intuitive to check a hand to earn more value, but I think it is an appropriate term. You can find examples of this concept in my training videos, such as Trikkur 1.

Checking for Value In Position

If you are in position with a marginal made hand, but your opponent’s range is likely weak; you should check behind on the turn instead of betting. A good example of this concept is if you raise on the button and you are called by the Big Blind. The flop is a good one for you and comes . The Villain check/calls your standard 75% pot continuation bet.

The Turn comes and is the and the BB checks to you again. Instead of making a bet this time; checking can actually be more profitable for us. You generally shouldn’t be afraid of the and if we had a hand with no showdown value, this would be a perfect spot to represent the Ace and double barrel bluff. Also, betting becomes risky because our opponent may check/raise to represent the Ace and we would have to fold our hand with solid showdown value. Being able to protect a made hand from check/raise value bets and bluffs is a very important reason to check this turn. This Check would be considered a Check for Value because we are likely to get an extra bet on the river in these two common scenarios.

  • Our opponent bluffs – Because we checked the turn instead of firing when the ace hits; our opponents will assume we are afraid of it. Overeager villains with weak hand ranges will often jump on this chance to make a river bluff because they cannot win the pot another way. This allows us to easily call a river bet and show down our good, but not great hand for 2 valuable post flop bets.
  • Opponent check/calls river – After we check behind on the turn showing weakness and then decide to make a river bet, our opponent is going to be highly suspicious. Most villains will assume you are trying to win the pot with a bluff because you realized that you will lose at showdown. Being in position will put a lot of pressure on our opponent to decide if you are bluffing or value betting. I would say many players are more likely to check/call with a weak hand on the river, than they would be to check/call a turn bet with that same hand.
You can check this out .... for value. Ok, that was pretty lame.

You can check this out …. for value. Ok, that was lame. You can click to enlarge though!

Checking for Value Out of Position

The concept of checking for value can also be applied when you are out of position during a hand. If you believe your opponent has a missed draw or a weak hand they might turn into a bluff; then it is better to check the river to them instead of betting and just letting them fold.

Checking to our opponent would be called inducing a bluff because we are giving them an opportunity to (incorrectly) make a stab at the pot. This allows you to call their river bet and win extra money from hands that would have instantly folded if you made the same bet yourself. There are two great examples of this play within the first 10 minutes of the earlier mentioned Trikkur 1 video.

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