What is check in poker
What is check in poker? Check in poker means that a player skips his / her turn to bet, but remains in the game, still having chance to win the pot.
When a player can use check?
A player can say check (skip his / her turn to bet), only if he has already put money in the pot, and all the participants of the hand, sitting before him, have also said check. In Texas Holdem, in the first betting round (preflop) only a player in the big blind position may say check, because he has already made a blind to the pot (the minimum one) and can skip his / her turn, but only under the condition that none of the opponents sitting before him / her has raised. In all the subsequent betting rounds the first to say check can a player, who has started betting, usually the first to act is the small blind, as he / she is the first who has put money into the pot at the preflop. If the small blind is out of the game, a player sitting next to him (clockwise) starts betting.
Why to use check?
As a rule, in most cases check is used if player’s hand is not strong or he / she is not sure of the victory. But since the opponents can also have weak cards, and they do not raise, it is logical to use check and reach showdown without making extra investments into the pot.
It does not always mean that the opponent has weak hand, in some cases advanced players use check (slow-play) on purpose to hide the strength of their hand (not to frighten the opponents) and force the opponents to believe in a weak hand, thus to entice more chips .
Alternative to check
Some poker rooms and poker simulators use pass instead of check, but pass does not mean fold, and is used as an alternative to check, and also means skipping the turn.
In live poker (offline) knock on the table can be used, that means that the player checks and skips the move.