When it comes to poker there is only a number to reasons to raise a hand. One of the reasons is to add money to the size of the pot if you have a strong hand and another is to force out others in the hand. Raising to bluff a hand is common as is trying to get a free card and finally raising to learn your opponents position or strength of their hand.
If you are in a hand where you think you are in the best position then it is always correct to raise even if it means others will fold behind you. It is actually better to raise in those situations as failing to do so could mean that those behind you would get a free card and potentially improve their hand and win the hand. This often will happen so protecting your hand even if it risks meaning a smaller pot is the smarter way to go. You must remember that players who have called preflop and called a raise after the flop are unlikely to fold so betting out to take down the pot after the flop is the better way to go.
The act of check raising is one that is a powerful tool to use in poker. It stops players in their tracks and causes them to second guess their hands. Check raising is when you check to your opponent who then bets and you follow with a re-raise to his bet. If you have a powerful hand it can be a very good way to maximise your profit. Should a player call then your next bet must be substantial in order to either make them pay or to fold and walk away. It is also a good tool to use to avoid splitting a pot.
Before you check raise in a hand be sure of the following and only do this if you are confident that you have the best hand. Ideally you also want to be sure that those behind you will bet first so as to allow you the check raise. Watch their play in hands played to that point. It is not hard to tell which players will throw out a feeler bet with the hopes of taking a pot. Those players will often be aggressive and are good candidates to check raise.
There at times that when playing a draw hand that a check raise is in order. One example of this would be if the opponent on your left will fire out a bet and will have a few callers. Do not check raise though if you believe the potential for a re-raise to follow from one of those players or even if there is a chance of it occurring. This is where paying attention to betting patterns pays off. You also need to factor in potential hands that could come into play such as flushes or straights. This is where checking on the flop is not good as some will not follow with a bet and therefore eliminate your chance to check raise and others will wait to see the free cards that will follow and this can put you in a weaker position. Often new players will do this to try to trap only to find themselves suddenly behind in a hand and betting larger amounts to try to force others out. This is what will kill a player’s bankroll.