Playing in the ‘Blinds’

January 25, 2010 |

Right now I am enjoying the NFC Championship game (though I’m a BROWNS fan), and I am also playing in a poker tournament. Through playing this tournament I came up with the idea for this article, and I figured discussing the blinds could be helpful for the novice player. Being in the small blind or the big blind can present tricky and difficult situations for a player. If these are played incorrectly it will most likely cause a player to slowly lose money/chips down the line. When the blinds are 10/20, 15/30, or blinds similar to these I like to play very cautious. Unless I am holding a monster I don’t like to get involved early in the tournament, but that will change when the blinds start to increase. Let me explain what I mean.

Whether or not the blinds are 10/20 or 200/400 (with ante) the blinds still prevent a problem after the flop. Being in the blinds you will either be first or second player to act on every street which puts you in a bad position from the get go. It’s very difficult to play a hand out of position, because it’s always convenient to see what the other player does first before you make your decision. Now let’s say the blinds are 10/20 and you are sitting in the big blind with A 7 off suit. A player from middle position makes a raise to 60 chips and everyone else at the table folds around to you. In this situation I would suggest just folding your hand and move onto to the next hand. Hands like A7 can get you into a lot of trouble. Maybe you are thinking that I already have 20 in the pot, it’s only 40 more to make the call, and what’s losing 40 chips do to my stack? It doesn’t seem like much, but what if the flop presents a rainbow board of: 3 A 10. What do you do now? Yes you could possibly have the best hand, but often times you will be beat by a better kicker. You will be the first to act so if you lead out on this flop and you get raised it will be very hard to continue with the hand. It’s just my thinking to let the hand go pre-flop and play conservative in the blinds when the ‘blinds’ don’t matter to your stack.

Now let’s increase the blinds back to the 200/400 (with antes) level. When the antes come to play in a tournament your chips will be targeted when you are sitting in the blinds. There is so much more value to take down the pot with antes added. Thus when you are sitting in the blinds you will be getting raised from the button or cutoff position almost every hand (if a player hasn’t raised from an earlier position). You don’t want to throw away your chips, but you also don’t want to play dead in the blinds. Good players will notice that you are folding your blinds every time, and they will constantly raise your blind. Your chip stack will slowly decrease. This is the time where you sometimes have to take a stand and outplay your competition. Sometimes a situation will call for a 3-bet or perhaps making the call pre-flop to out play your opponent. If you happen to flop a monster when you make the pre-flop call I would suggest checking it to the button raiser. Whether he raised or limped into the pot they will make a continuation bet 99% of the time which presents a perfect check-raise situation. 3 bets are becoming more and more popular as time goes on, and when used correctly they can be extremely effective. If you think a player is raising to steal your blind then make a 3 bet to steal his attempted steal. I am no expert when it comes to perfecting blind play, but I do know if you play dead in blind situations the vulchers will eat away at your chip stack. Good luck at the tables everybody.

Craig Fleck

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