Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Checking Dark

Good morning everyone.  I'll tell you right out of the gate that today's post isn't something that I'm making after months and months of meticulous research and note-taking (not that any of my posts are), but that this is a topic that I've seen addressed in a few other poker blogs lately.  My point is that my feelings won't be hurt if the comments section brings in several other aspects/viewpoints/angles to address this strategy.

My personal view of "checking in the dark" (checking before the flop, or before the next card on the board is turned over) is that I don't like it because I feel that the checker is giving something away.  The best case that I can make for this 'off the cuff' would be in an instance where the player checks dark before the flop, and the flop puts a straight draw or flush draw on the board.  Even though the 'checker' might be in the lead, they are exposed to the possibility of letting the draw get there for free.  What makes this spot worse for me, in the respect that I'm not Daniel Negreanu (or insert a poker player who you think reads others REALLY WELL) is that your opponent(s) can bet ANY HAND here after you check, and that makes it tough for you to gauge where you're at.

I view checking in the dark like I view the straddle - I hate giving up anything for free at the poker table.  With that being said, this is gambling, and sometimes when you check dark or straddle, the board is going to hit your hand hard, and you're going to end up looking like a genius.  In my experience playing however, this is going to happen so rarely that it doesn't seem worth employing the strategy on a regular basis.  I guess for me, it's kind of like playing that "deuce-four" that we keep reading about and discussing throughout our blogs - the hand will win sometimes, but how often are you going to miss while chasing that magical moment when you nail somebody with it.  Between the two, I probably like the straddle better actually, because I think that you can get people playing more loosely and out of their comfort zone at a table of nits (rocks, etc...). 

For anyone who didn't give their input at the other blogs where checking dark was mentioned, I would be interested in knowing if there are certain hands (or a range of hands, etc...) that you like to employ this move with, or what your reason(s) is for using it. 

For anyone who didn't catch yesterday's blog entry, it's a "Top Ten" list of tweets that I read following the Packers/Seahawks game regarding the replacement officials.  I don't usually post on back-to-back days, so you might enjoy that if you came here on Monday and missed the post yesterday.  Have a great day and I'll see you again on Friday!


  1. I almost never straddle and even more infrequently employ the "check dark" move. The few times I have done it is when I'm set mining with a small to medium pair or playing smaller suited connectors and am almost positive I'm up against a big pair. If I happen to hit my fairly well disguised hand I definitely want to let the big pair c-bet the flop. If I miss I was probably check-folding in most cases anyway.

  2. That seems like it would be a good time to check dark to me - interesting...