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Poker Strategy in the Blinds

Playing Poker from the Small Blind & Big Blind

When playing hands in the small blind and big blind there are a lot of poker players who have misconceptions about how things are supposed to work. There are a lot of poker players that will complete too much in the small blind because it’s only half of a big blind to call and they really shouldn’t because it is a poker play that will lose money in the long run.

There are a lot of players who also turn to the passive route every time they are in the big blind as well instead of trying to steal from the small blind. It is important that the small blind is punished every time they limp in and some players will just check every hand. It is rather simple when playing hands from the blinds.

Small Blind

There is a whole class of players that think it is correct to complete in the small blind because it is only another small blind to call. They think that since it is such a small amount to call they might as well see the flop with their weak to medium holdings. Doing this will ultimately lose money and prove to be the wrong poker play over time.

When you are in the small blind everyone else in the hand has position against you. This means that every player in the hand will be given the information of your action before they have to take their action. When you are in the small blind you are setting yourself up to get bullied and put in awkward situations against poker players that you have less information about in the hand.

It is also incorrect to limp in the small blind because a lot of times the big blind will just raise trying to take down the blinds. When the big blind raises they are putting pressure on the small blind and telling them “I have position on you and I have the ability to be more aggressive than you.”

Another incorrect play that is seen a lot is players calling in the small blind with hands like TJ and JQ. They see these as broad way cards and feel that the player raising in late position is just bullying them so they call. This is a horrible situation to be in simply for the times that the raiser does have a hand and you both hit. By calling in that position with QJ you are saying that you think your cards are better than the raiser’s. When you both hit on the flop you are going to then lose a lot of money if they have the same pair with a better kicker. It is hard for you to decide if your hand is good or not because you are out of position against your opponent in late position.

Big Blind

The big blind isn’t quite as bad as the small blind, but there are still a lot of leaks that poker players show in the big blind as well. There are a lot of times players will be able to check into the flop and will make top pair or even two pair. The top pair hands then get them into trouble because of their kicker being garbage.

When you have a weak holding in the big blind and get to check in you need to realize that you are still not too excited about your hand. If you have a hand like T5 and make top pair with your T then you are not too excited when you bet and get called. There are so many other hands that have you outkicked in these situations that you will normally be reverse value betting yourself. 9T, TJ, TQ,TK, and AT are all hands that poker players like to limp in with to play and all of them will beat your T5 you had in the big blind.

By realizing a garbage poker hand is a garbage poker hand you will be able to stay away from these situations or you may find yourself going on tilt. In the above example with the hand T5 the player would have been much better off had they just realized that they had a bad hand and check/folded. At any other position in the hand the T5 would have been folded. By realizing this it makes it a lot easier to lay down your hand when you bet that flop and someone calls you or raises you.

Aggression in the Blinds

When you are in the blinds players are constantly attempting to steal the money that you have posted. It is important that you do not defend your blind too often because you are in a bad spot and will normally have bad holdings. If someone is stealing far too often against you then it’s time to take charge. Every so often you need to reraise your opponent when they are trying to steal your blinds. This does a few different things. For one, this will win the money that is on the table because players that raise a lot in late position are just trying to steal with a weak to medium hand and don’t want to lose more than they have already invested in the bluff. Another thing that this will do is it will allow you to show your opponents in late position that you aren’t around here to be bullied. You will give up your blinds a reasonable amount, but you will reraise just enough to discourage the player from doing it again later. At the least this will force them to stop raising with completely weak hands because they know you could at any point fight back.

Another important spot to be aggressive is in the big blind against a limping small blind player. You are only looking to win 5 big bets per 100 hands. You then raise against them and they fold. If they don’t fold preflop then they will normally check/fold on the flop. This doesn’t seem like too much money, but it surely adds up in the long run.