Blind Poker Strategy: Mastering the Art of Stealing and Defending Blinds.

In Texas Hold'em poker, the small blind and big blind positions are considered challenging. These positions require players sitting to the left of the dealer to contribute a minimum bet during each round. When a player aims to target these amounts in the pot during a betting round, it is referred to as an attack on the blinds or an attempt to steal them. A player in a later position can try to claim the pot for themselves and defend the blinds. If only the small blind and big blind remain in the round, it leads to a blinds battle, where the focus is on the confrontation between the two blind positions. In the following article on poker strategy, we will explain various gameplay scenarios and provide tactical tips and tricks for both attacking and defending the blinds, as well as strategies for the blinds battle.

Three game situations involving the blinds.

Steal blinds

In Texas Hold'em Poker, the Small Blind and then the Big Blind are the last players in the Preflop betting round. However, after the flop, they find themselves Out of Position, needing to make their move first. This comes with the disadvantage of not having any player react to the flop yet, meaning no information has been revealed about their own hand from the hole and board cards. If there has been no action before the flop, the dealer or another player in a later position can launch an attack. With a Preflop Raise, the attacker attempts to persuade the blinds to fold, in order to claim the minimum deposits in the pot before the flop. If the maneuver succeeds, the player has successfully stolen the blinds.

Das Stehlen der Blinds

Defend the blinds

As the Small Blind or Big Blind, a player does not have to simply accept an attack on the pot despite being in a disadvantageous position in the betting round after the flop. The act of defense can take different forms: you can, for instance, counter a preflop raise with a re-raise. Alternatively, you can choose to call the raise only and then respond with a raise after the flop, either because you have actually hit something on the board or as a bluff.

Blinds Battle

A blinds battle occurs when there is no action preflop and the players in early, middle, and late positions fold until the small blind. If the small blind decides to call or raise and remains in the pot, the blinds battle commences. The decision can be made either preflop or after the flop.

Poker Strategy: Attacking the Blinds

To successfully execute the move of blind stealing, one must place a bet with a weaker hand before the flop, aiming to force the small blind and big blind to fold. Stealing the blinds requires favorable circumstances in order to be effective.

  • You are currently in a later position, meaning you are playing as the cutoff, button, or even the small blind. Take advantage of this advantageous placement on the table to make strategic moves and exploit your opponents' weaknesses. By acting last in the betting rounds, you have the opportunity to gather valuable information and adjust your play accordingly. Use your position wisely to maximize your chances of success and dominate the game. Whether it's stealing blinds, isolating opponents, or making well-timed bluffs, being in a later position gives you a significant edge in your poker strategy.

  • Your bet is the first one as all the players before you have folded from the round.

If you initiate the attack from a forward position, there is a possibility that another player, equipped with a strong hand or a bluff, may also enter the pot after you. Be strategic and mindful of the potential risks involved when taking the lead in a poker game. It is crucial to assess the situation carefully, considering the players' tendencies and the cards on the table before making your move. By being proactive and observant, you can increase your chances of success and avoid falling into traps set by your opponents. Remember, choosing the right moment to strike can greatly impact the outcome of the game.

As a attacker, you may encounter resistance as your adversaries either hold something in hand or want to defend the blinds. When a player raises in a position after you, you must evaluate your cards: either it's worth seeing the flop or you're left with only a fold. If there are multiple calls, play your hand according to its strength. In a heads-up pot, bet after the flop and wait for some opposition. If you fail to push the opponent out of the pot, continue playing only with a strong made hand.

Hand cards for a blind attack

The subsequent chart provides you with a rough overview of the starting hands that warrant an assault on the blinds.

Cutoff AJ, KQ, 99-66
Button AJ, A10, KQ, KJ, K10, QJ, 99-22: A range of starting hands commonly used in poker.
Small Blind AJ, A10, A9, A8, KQ, KJ, K10, K9, QJ, Q10, 99-22 -> AJ, A10, A9, A8, KQ, KJ, K10, K9, QJ, Q10, pocket nines through deuces

Blinds pilfered during tournaments and cash games

If you're targeting the blinds, stealing works better in Sit'n'Go and multi-table tournaments than in cash games. When you're short on chips, successfully stealing a few blinds can boost your stack in a tournament. However, keep in mind that at the beginning of a tournament, the blinds are relatively low compared to your stack, so the effort may not be worthwhile. With low blinds, you'll often have to anticipate a call. Only in a later stage of the tournament can aggressively attacking the blinds inflict serious damage to your opponents in the form of lost chips.

In cash games, the blinds are usually relatively small compared to the stack. Therefore, stealing the blinds alone won't yield significant profits, and it's advisable to have a few more strategic moves up your sleeve. However, if you employ this maneuver wisely and can outplay your opponents during the post-flop betting rounds, it's worth taking a shot at stealing the blinds from time to time.

Fast Fold Poker

If you engage in a variant of Fast Fold Poker such as Zoom Poker, the dynamics of blind stealing change significantly. By swiftly transitioning from table to table, your opponents lack the ability to read your moves, and therefore cannot possibly be aware that you have been attacking the blinds for several hands already. Numerous players wait for strong starting hands before taking action. However, if nobody has entered the pot, you can initiate an attack from a late position. Conversely, as the button or big blind, you can also have your sights set on the blinds.

Defending the blinds: A guide to poker strategy

In general, it is important to neither never nor always defend the blinds. After the flop, you are at a disadvantage against the aggressor due to being in a poor position. If you haven't hit or only poorly hit the flop, you have two options remaining:

  • Bluff: A high bet indicates strength and can persuade the attacker to fold - however, you have no clue whether your opponent might have a good hand after the flop.
  • Check: With great likelihood, the attacker will make a continuation bet. In that case, your only option is to make a re-raise to keep the pot. However, you should only do so if you have a few outs left to hit something on the turn or river.

In the grand scheme of things, it is not advantageous to consistently defend the blinds. However, the same goes for giving up. If you surrender the blinds without a fight every time, your opponents will exploit this repeatedly, thereby taking advantage of you.

Their sole recourse, therefore, is to display resistance. Even if you cannot fend off the aggressor in the immediate moment, it still sends a signal when you fight back. This may potentially reduce the likelihood of coming under attack in the future when it's your turn to face the small blind or big blind. In principle, it is more advantageous to raise before the flop rather than just countering with a call, but the specific decision depends on the pot odds and how much your assailant has contributed to the pot.

Some gamblers assume that the deposited blinds still belong to them. Do not make this mistake. Blinds are the minimum bet that you must contribute. Once you have made the deposit, the amount becomes part of the pot, even if the money still "feels" like it belongs to you. So, do not let this feeling guide you when defending, but rather the strength of your hole cards. If you have a top pair in hand, resistance is worthwhile.

Blind Battle: Tips and Tricks

Small Blind

As the Small Blind, you face a double disadvantage in the battle for the blinds: both offense and defense are made more difficult. Consider this scenario: the action at the table folds, and the Cutoff or Button makes a two and a half times the Big Blind bet as an attack on the blinds. By making a call, you defend the Small Blind, but at the same time, you give the Big Blind an opportunity and even an incentive to get into the pot as well. In the subsequent 3-Way Pot, you find yourself in the worst position. This applies even if all other players fold, and you can initiate a blind battle. If you can't push the Big Blind out of the pot pre-flop, you will have to act first after the flop.

Stealing the blinds may seem like a straightforward way to mitigate the losses from that position. However, it is crucial to make the call costly for the big blind. Therefore, your raise should be higher than if you were in a different position. You should demand at least three times the big blind, as anything less would practically force the big blind to call due to the favorable pot odds. If you encounter an aggressive big blind and consistently lose after the flop, it would be prudent to refrain from attacking.

Big Blind

The confrontation between the small blind and big blind presents a unique gameplay scenario where you, as the big blind, have position over your opponent. Consequently, the small blind may attempt to control the pot size by opting for a limp or a float. As the big blind, you can counter their move by expanding your playable range, thus countering their read on the strength of your hand.

Whether you are facing one or two assailants, you have opportunities for favorable pot odds. To diminish these odds, the attackers must contribute more to the pot without knowing your hand. Thus, defending a strong hand as the big blind can prove to be lucrative.

Defending a wide range of hole cards becomes feasible when you secure a favorable price on a call. The exact threshold to establish depends on the skill level of your opponents; a rough guideline would be around 88 or 87 suited, or even as low as 86 suited. Nevertheless, it is crucial to adopt an aggressive playing style during any blind battle.

Summary: Blind's strategy

Blinds add an extra layer of intrigue and excitement to Texas Hold'em Poker. A player in a later position can attempt to push out opponents by raising the small blind and big blind, effectively stealing the pot. The players in the small blind and big blind positions can put up resistance and defend their blinds. When the small blind and big blind engage in this battle, it is referred to as a blinds battle.

Playing the maneuver becomes more effective when dealing with larger blind amounts; otherwise, you risk jeopardizing a significant portion of your stack for a small pot. Adopting a defensive strategy, opting for a raise often yields greater benefits than a mere call. When in doubt, it is advisable to play based on the strength of your hole cards, folding weak hands and playing strong ones.

The act of pilfering the blinds can only be executed from a posterior position and when you are the inaugural contributor to the pot.