In Texas Hold’ Em, and against thinking players, situations come up when you are either way ahead or way behind your opponent. When you are way ahead, you risk being too aggressive and leaving money on the table by not extracting the maximum value if he folds. When you are way behind, you risk losing your entire stack if you fail to realize you are drawing slim.
Way Ahead/Way Behind situations typically come up on dry boards (no flush or straight draws). Once the flop hits, neither you nor your opponent are likely to draw out on each other. Take for example, you are in position with AQs and the flop comes Q43 rainbow. It is checked to you and you make a continuation bet and are called.
The turn is an 8 and it is checked to you again. Do you bet here or check behind? If you bet, showing a lot of strength, your opponent is likely to fold if he is way behind. If you bet and are check-raised, it is likely that you are way behind. Perhaps to a set or two pair.
A decent line here is to check behind. This will do a few things. It will keep the pot size small, which is good seeing as you only have one pair (Big pots for big hands. Small pots for small hands). It may also entice a call on the river from your opponent as they will assume you made a continuation bet on the flop with complete air.
Another example is a case where you raise AKs in position and get one caller. The flop comes Q33. You continuation bet and are called. The turn is a K. If you bet, what hands that you beat are actually going to call? If you check behind and value bet the river, you may get a call from the Q. If you are check-raised on the river then you could be up against a 3.
You want to be sure you do not misapply this concept. Take the Way Ahead/Way Behind concept with a grain of salt if you are up against a donk. Also, if the flop has straight or flush draws, you do not want to be checking behind turns to give your opponent a free card to beat you!