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I was recently at a table with a player who often yelled "check blind!" before the flop was dealt when

  1. he was to be first to act after the flop, and
  2. he had called a pre-flop raiser.

I'm guessing that this was just a standard "check to the raiser" in combination with wanting to reduce positional disadvantage by letting everyone know that the content of the flop didn't influence the decision to check.

What interested me was that there were some instances where that guy had the opportunity to check blindly but didn't do so. At the time, I couldn't figure out how to use that information. What inferences could I make about the strength/content of his hands based on whether he did or did not check blindly?

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This is a complicated subject and a good thing you brought it up. Given the mechanics of this, I bet only a very very small percentage of poker players can use this effectively, most likely the top 0.1 %. –  Radu Murzea Aug 30 '13 at 6:10
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As ever, showdown evidence of a hand will say a lot about his thinking. Did you ever get that far? –  Toby Booth Aug 30 '13 at 10:29
    
@TobyBooth Sadly, no. He always either folded or managed to buy the pot before showdown. I lost track of him fairly quickly due to the table being broken up. –  Pops Aug 30 '13 at 10:52
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4 Answers 4

Checking in the dark is a high level play to reestablish position on the flop. Like someone else already mentioned, most of the time this is done with drawing hands, as someone with vulnerable hands like AA/KK would most likely never make this move. It is essentially a way of giving away less information regarding your hand and how it relates to the flop.

You reestablish position by making your opponent the "first to act" on the flop bet. The blind check gives no information regarding the strength of your hand in relation to the flop, so therefore hands that have more value the further they are disguised (like drawing hands), are protected more by checking blind. AK can be seen as a drawing hand and if you check dark and hit an A or K, the strength of your hand is disguised more and allows you an opportunity to earn more for making your hand.

Agreed that this play should only be used by people who have a strong grasp of the game and/or their table. A beginner who tries this play won't be able to leverage its power as much. The good thing that if you play against someone who uses this is that you will always have the option of seeing the turn card for free, should you wish.

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Because it's an inconsequential decision to the player (who would likely check no matter what two cards he has), you can't draw any reads from it.

It's like asking, "What does it mean when a player tells the dealer 'I need a deuce'"

Irrelevant.

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Interesting question. A good thought experiment perhaps.

Firstly, something to consider is was he closing the action pre-flop when he called?

This really isnt something you'll encounter very often, so i'd be inclined to give it almost no significance, until I could establish how my opponent was using it in their own unique way. Obviously, that's not going to happen a lot, so there will be a many assumptions we'll have to make facing this play.

I think perhaps one thing that's likely is the villain didn't call pre-flop with the intention to 'check-blind'. What I mean is I think it's more likely that he called with a hand that was good enough for a call, but not a raise... and then in the time between that action and the flop being dealt, he decided to 'check-blind'. It just seems like a smoke screen, a distraction if you like. Without a read of course, but that's my default take on it.

Importantly, whether he checks blind or not, I don't think he'd play a hand he intends to check-fold, check-raise, donk-bet, call or fold with, significantly different to how he would play them anyway. Do you? Would you? If anything, given how you frame your body language (really!), I think he increases the chance of incorrectly second guessing himself by doing this. Better for you.

Overall, if someone needs to check in the dark, believing it gives them a valuable edge(!) then it's almost certain that there are bigger leaks in their game.

Ignore the FPS, and play solid. :)

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People use to blind check when they don't want to show their weakness. they are sitting on a draw and are hoping to complete it. when they first see the flop and then check they are showing "weakness". so your info is, that he is setting up a trap or he has a draw. when they instantly checking you will never know if they probably completed their "draw". I saw some people checking blind often, but they were never the good players. What limit did you play? sit n go or cashgame?

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Small tournament. –  Pops Aug 30 '13 at 10:53
    
you will never know what they play, but the info you get is that they def. dont have the biggest or the smallest hand :). I would always guess for a small pair or something with draw potential. like 89s . not QQ not KK not AA etc. no JKs. its always the same player, so just check how he plays the rest of the tournament. it's more player based then poker i guess. –  RayofCommand Aug 30 '13 at 11:18
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