Friday, October 31, 2008

Checking in the Dark

The game is no -limit hold'em. Your rival in early position raises pre-flop, you call. It's just you and him. He then declares that he "checks in the dark." No, don't motion for that light switch, he is giving you free information. He is checking the flop before viewing the cards, thereby putting the "first" action on you and, if you also check, forgoes this betting round.

So what does this mean? Well, it could mean he has a good hand with little room to improve, so he doubts any new cards will better his hand. In this case, an assumption of a pocket pair is fair and any reraise or sudden confidence on his part probably means that you are up against trips.

It could also mean he doesn't know how to play you well and merely doesn't want to be faced with a decision.

As I see it, there are two advantages of a "check in the dark" heads-up and he is probably hoping for one or the other. Firstly, he wants to check the flop down and thinks it is more likely for you to check if he checks without knowledge of the flop. Secondly, he wants the advantage of late position and is willing to risk a betting round to get it.

This tactic is important to consider if you play anywhere off-line, as it does come up from time to time. If it happens to you, never fear. You have just been given more control of the game. If you are so inclined to "check in the dark" yourself, be cautious of who you are playing. As a general rule, giving out information for free is a no no in poker. However, against the easily rattled, the psychological gain from the move can pay off.

What say you? What do you think your opponent is pining for with a blind check?


  1. What about the psychological factor? You are utilizing a seldom used tactic, and that could throw your opponent off a bit. Maybe they over think it, which could help you out determining what they have.

  2. I agree, anytime your opponent is thrown off his game is worth it. Of course, you have to keep this tactic rarely used for it to work.

  3. I like it. Can't say I've heard of that yet, although I've seen people check basically before they even see the flop. I've done it too, subconsciously. I like the idea of saying "I'm checking in the dark." to someone. I think it could mess with their game if it is used rarely.

  4. If I check in the dark it's to fuck with people and to be an asshole. And if someone does it to me I raise no matter what.

  5. big fan of the move.. it is another tool in your arsenal and when used at the right time will throw any opponent off..

  6. I'm fond of 'betting in the dark' whenever anyone checks in the dark. I don't know if that's allowed in the actual rules of poker, but we allow it in our home game. Messes up the dealer when there's a pot sized bet and a call in the pot before the flop even comes...