Sometimes there is more value in checking a good hand than betting it. This occurs when you think an opponent will bet a wider range than he will call with. This concept comes into play often when you have a pre-flop caller behind you and you continuation bet with a strong hand.
Say you raise in late position pre-flop with AsKh and are called by an aggressive player on the button. Heads-up, the flop comes Ah-Tc-4s. You continuation bet as you have done with most of your pre-flop raises. The button calls. You believe his calling range that you beat is any ace, any gutter, or any ten. He also might slowplay AT, A4s or 44 that beat you. The turn is the 8d. Add A8s and maybe T8s to the hands that beat you. If you bet again, he’ll fold all his tens and gutters and maybe even some of his weaker aces. However, if you check, he’ll bet all of his range thinking that you’re weak and would have automatically continuation bet the flop with any ace on board. And he’d think you would fold to a wager; hence his bet.
Yes, you assume some risk he will make a better hand. And it might make you more liable to pay off his big hands since you will read him as reading you as weak. But, you’ll get more value out of his weak hands when he bets the turn. And the value of those bets obtained from his weak hands are equity-rich. Additionally, you create the impression that, when you continuation bet the flop and check the turn, it doesn’t always mean that you are weak and folding to a bet. With many opponents, in this type of situations, when you check, they auto-bet knowing they will get a lot of folds. You want to stop that kind of opponent from calling you with a wide range in position and picking up pots from you on the turn. Inducing bets takes away some of that play’s value.
This same concept can be utilized with position. Checking a hand, even a very big one, when you think your opponent is unlikely to call, but is prone to bluff the turn or river if you check, often adds value to your holding. That said, make sure your opponent is likely to bet, otherwise, you’re just giving him a free card to outdraw you.
Think about your opponent’s calling range on prior streets. How will he play it if you bet? If you check? Which option will give you the higher EV?
You’ll be amazed at how much better value you will obtain!