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Responding to Weakness: When the Preflop Raiser Checks Behind on the Flop

  • Jonathan LittleJonathan Little
Jonathan Little


  • A preflop button raiser checks back the flop. @JonathanLittle considers attacking apparent weakness.

  • In a WSOP hand, @JonathanLittle's opponent shows continuation bets aren't required after raising pre.

This week we head back to the same World Series of Poker event from last summer — Event #25: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Eight Handed — from which I’ve drawn my last couple of hands to analyse, a tournament which I managed to make the final table (finishing sixth).

We’re back near the end of Day 1 by which point I’ve built up a decent-sized stack, as has my good, tight-aggressive opponent in this hand.

When you call a raise from out of position and the preflop raiser checks behind on a middle-card flop, it usually indicates that the preflop raiser either has a hand with marginal showdown value, such as a low pair or ace-high, or nothing.

However, occasionally players will check behind with hands like top pair to induce their aggressive opponents to bluff with a wide range that they would typically fold to a standard flop continuation bet.

Unfortunately for me, my opponent assumed I was aggressive and would attack weakness on a middle-card board. He was right — take a look:

In this scenario, I think my opponent played the hand especially well. Checking behind on the flop with a reasonable hand is a good play against someone who is aggressive (as I was here).

How would you have played this hand, either from my position or from my opponent’s? Let me know in a comment below.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,200,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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