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Playing from The Blinds

There’s a reason that playing from the blinds is a subject worth particular attention and that’s because its the most unprofitable position to play from. However, there are particular strategies that you can use to extract profit from these positions and reduce the amount of losing hands when you are the small or big blind.

What are the blinds?

Blinds are obligatory bets to buy into a hand. Each hand the blinds rotate to the left so that the small blind is immediately left of the dealer and the big blind is left of the small blind. Blinds are used in flop-style poker and although it’s most common to have two blinds in any given game it can range between no blinds and three blinds.

Why are they unprofitable?

Playing from the blinds is the most difficult position to win a hand for two main reasons. The first reason is that you are forced to play before your other opponents and therefore you can’t decide on a bet, call or fold based on their action. The second reason is that you feel committed to playing the pot because you have already paid in and can often find yourself calling your opponents with weak hands. If you fold your hand and surrender your blinds there is a feeling that you have lost even though you had to pay the blind anyway. This leads to players attempting to protect their blinds with speculative and risky bets that often lose.

Strategy

Be patient

If you are going to play from the blinds then wait until you have a good read on your opponents and you have built up some table image. Playing from the blinds early on in the game is more difficult because you can’t assess your opponents hand by their style of play. Once you’ve shown the table that you won’t hesitate to fold your blind, you can then look to defend your blinds later in the game when you’ve built up your table image.

Learn to fold

Given the difficulty in playing from the blinds you need to be able to accept folding from that position. Most of the time it is unwise to defend your blinds so get used to folding and acknowledge that your best chance at winning a hand won’t be for a few hands.

If you bet, re-raise

When the time does come to play from the blinds you need to make sure you play it right. With the right hand its an opportunity to win big, so even though you should be cautious out of position don’t be afraid to bet with the right cards. A re-raise is a good play when you have a decent pair of cards and you are against an opponent who is raising too regularly. This play gives you pot control and places your opponent under pressure by showing you have a strong hand.

Playing from the blinds takes plenty of experience and an ability to put your ego to one side to make intelligent folds. By following the strategies above you’ll be in a much better position to decipher when the time is right to fold and when you can make a move.