Thursday, November 10, 2011

Checking with a chip

It's not often these days that I learn about what is to me an entirely new strategic tool to keep in the poker toolbox, but Dusty Schmidt's column in the latest issue of Card Player magazine (November 2, 2011, Vol. 24, #22, page 36) qualifies as such an occasion. He calls the move "checking with a chip":

In no-limit when the pot is medium or relatively big, you're out of position, and checking would normally be the play, sometimes it's advantageous to bet a small amount (usually the minimum bet) rather than the obvious check. As long as the pot is reasonably large relative to the size of the bet, the additional risk is minimal. Even still, you'll benefit in a few ways.
He goes on to list the good things that can happen. In brief:
  • Both of you are on a busted draw. He might fold his better no-pair hand. This doesn't have to happen very often for it to be an incredibly profitable play.
  • If your hand is likely the loser yet strong enough that you would have to call at least a medium-sized bet after checking to your opponent, one chip can act as the cheapest possible blocking bet. If he raises, you can have more confidence that he has you, and fold with minimal loss, but if he just calls, you get to showdown more cheaply than if it had gone check-bet-call.
  • Many opponents can't resist the temptation to read such a small bet as weakness and bluff-raise. In situations where bluffs are a large part of his raising range, so that you have an easy call, checking with a chip may induce a bluff more reliably than a check would.
It is the last of these scenarios that he spends the most time discussing. I recommend reading the column (either in print now or in a couple of weeks when it is posted at for a fuller explanation of how to tell that you are in the right kind of situation for this to be applicable.

I'm going to be looking for opportunities to try this and see how it works.


Anonymous said...

i have seen an increasing amount of fish use the min bet fold line

i allllwwwaaayyys raise no matter what i have and have never been shipped on....but have thought about including the minbet/shove in my arsenal - i think the only way a minbet can be +EV against a solid reg is if you have the minbet/ship up your sleeve

in general though the minbet clearly is what it is =D

<3 your blog some belters this week

BigTikit said...

Before Black Friday, when playing online I would frequently minbet on the river when I had absolutely nothing. It was not an attempt at a bluff. rather, some players checked the "fold to any bet" box. The minbet avoided a check, check situation, with the other player showing worse garbage than me, and taking the pot. I don't do this live. In my experience it just leads to a raise from my opponent.