Suppose you call a preflop raise from the Big Blind with a hand like 6♥ 4♥ and the flop comes Q♦ 7♥ 3♠.
The preflop raiser c-bets and the action is back on you. You think to yourself and say, “Damn, am I supposed to check-raise here?”
You know that you probably should check-raise at least some of the time. But at the same time, you might be worried you’re going to wind up making a big mistake by doing so. And the fear is understandable.
Oftentimes, it’s not even the prospect of the flop check-raise bluff that’s intimidating. Rather, it’s the uncertainty on how to properly continue on the turn/river that is the issue for most players.
Luckily, coach Gary Blackwood’s recent module in the Upswing Lab training course is all about demystifying how to play the turn after we’ve check-raised the flop.
In this quick article, I’ll be going over 3 simple (but very important) tips taken from this module that will help you play better on the turn after your check-raise bluff gets called on the flop. If you want to learn how to play this spot like a poker expert, join the Upswing Lab and watch Gary’s full module.
Let’s get started!
How to Think About the Turn After Check-Raise Bluffing the Flop
Tip 1: You Need to Know Your Entire Flop Check-Raising Range to Have a Solid Turn Strategy
A good check-raise strategy starts on the flop.
In order to have a well-thought-out turn strategy, Gary explains that you need to know your entire flop check-raise strategy, which includes both your bluffing hands and your value hands.
Knowing your entire range is crucial because you need a good grasp of what value hands you are trying to represent. Only then will you be equipped to bluff effectively on the turn and river.
Your bluffs need to “tell the same story” in your betting patterns as your value hands would. For example, if your value betting range is very strong and is best played as a big bet, you should go for the big bet with your bluffs as well.
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Tip 2: You Don’t Need to Keep Bluffing If You Don’t Turn Equity
Just read that again, soak it in, and take a deep breath of relief.
Gary points out that one of the most common mistakes players make when they check-raise bluff the flop is that they feel a sense of obligation to continue to bluff on turn (no matter what card falls).
One of the most useful heuristics you can apply to check-raise bluffing is that you should very rarely continue to bluff if you haven’t turned equity.
Going back to the importance of having a strong/balanced flop check-raise range, it’s worth noting that a balanced strategy will usually have a built-in range of “intuitive bluffs” across all turns. There’s no need to force in low equity bluffs on the turn when we have plenty of better drawing hands in our range that will do the job.
Tip 3: Consider Different Sizing Strategies
Perhaps the most helpful takeaway from Gazzy’s check-raising module is that he shared a useful system that will help you categorize hands across various board runouts. He then lays out the strategy for how to play each of them.
This approach is great because, with some practice, a broad but effective strategy can get memorized and integrated into your play fairly quickly.
Looking through this section of the course, you will notice that Gazzy’s turn bet sizing will often change based on the board texture. In some scenarios, Gazzy will check-raise flop and then overbet turn. Then in another spot, he’ll only bet 33% on the turn.
This full strategy goes beyond the scope of this article, but the key takeaway here is this: there is a wider range of effective sizing strategies you can use, and you should consider what size makes the most sense in your given spot (rather than simply defaulting to 66% pot like many players do).
Trying to play later streets correctly after check-raise bluffing the flop can feel like navigating a minefield. But with just these basic tips, you can greatly improve our strategy in these spots.
- Know your entire range
- Slow down with bluffs that don’t turn equity
- Use smart bet sizing strategies based on board texture
As always, if you’re looking for more information and fully fleshed-out guides on how to go from a good player to an advanced player, check out the Upswing Lab.
Until then, may you always turn your gut shots, and good luck at the tables!
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