How to Check Raise on the River

Check raising the river is the most deceptive action in poker but one of the most lucrative and we teach you its true value and how to do it properly.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Avatar Author Adrian Sterne
Fact checked by Dusan Jovanovic
Check Raise on The Review ExaplinedThe check raise is one of the most prestigious poker techniques. It’s a deceptive move players tend to use in specific situations when they’re out of position in a betting round. They employ it to build the pot, bluff, show force, and more.

However, in the river, it’s primarily utilized to gain more value if you have a strong hand. You can also use it as a bluff, which can be a hazardous and scary option.

River check raising is certainly not for beginners, while advanced players must be cautious with how they use it. Let’s look at why this move is valuable and on which hands in the fifth street you should use it.

Benefits of Check Raising on the River

River check raises are typically used to get more value from the pot. As opposed to other betting rounds, most notably the turn, most players in the river are unlikely to fold when facing this move.

The reason is usually simple — they’ve already invested heavily by that point, so they are unwilling to fold even if there’s a big chance that a player is check raising because they have a strong hand or even the nuts.

This is why check raises are often successful when used at the right moment. You should attempt it in the river as that can be your last opportunity to get more from the pot.

Moreover, a check raise can help against an opponent trying to take advantage of you or to stop an aggressive player from getting their hands on the pot.

However, you need to be sure that the player will bet the river after you’ve checked. Otherwise, you won’t gain much from this move.

On Which Hands Should I Check Raise on the River?

The exact hands you should use for the river check raise depend on the situation, but many players choose to make the move with two pairs or higher.

However, that doesn’t mean you should blindly go with anything better. Assess the situation first and ask yourself if your hand is good enough to survive another player’s check raise.

Moreover, avoid getting too attached to your hand, as some players do. If you have medium holdings, there’s no point in betting or raising the river. It goes without saying that if you have the nuts or something close to them, you should go forward with your check raise strategy.

Check Raise on the River Tips

Check raising is a complicated play, so it’s worth it to get some tips on it:

Tip 1

You shouldn’t use this move too often, but only when you have a strong read on the other players

Tip 2

Most players fold against a check raise if they have nothing. But if they are aggressive, they tend to follow.

Tip 3

If you see a dangerous board and an opponent who abruptly turns aggressive, it’s best to showdown the hand. There’s no reason to bet or raise if the player checks on you.

Tip 4

When you’re on the other end of the stick, assume that a call is practically a donation if you don’t have the nuts or something close, as most players check raise when they have a strong hand. Only the top players attempt this move as a bluff.

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Check raising is an essential move in your repertoire if you’re aiming to be a top poker player. Naturally, it’s not one you can quickly learn, but it’s still a move only beginners avoid. The most important thing to know is that it’s best used in the river to get more value into the pot before the showdown.

Start practicing, and you’ll eventually find yourself utilizing the river check raise at opportune moments.


What is a check raise?

A check raise is a popular deceptive move in poker. You must check early in a round, hoping an opponent will open. Once someone does, you raise before the betting round ends. With the check, you demonstrate weakness, only to go in strong with the raise. Players use check raises to get more money into the pot, typically when they have a strong hand or the nuts, but they also use it to bluff others out of the pot.

Where can I use check raises?

You can check raise in any betting round as long as you’re out of position. That’s because the action would go to the next round with the new community card dealt if you check when in position.

Why should I use the check raise move in the river?

In the river, players check raise almost always to get more value. That’s because most players won’t fold in a river with someone making this move, as they’ve invested a lot of money by that point. This is flawed reasoning, but it’s why check raises can be successful in the fifth street. You can also use the method if you want to bluff an opponent out of the game, but it can be risky.

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