The big blind and the small blind are the two “blind” positions in most poker games. Positions for the big blind and small blind are two and one to the left of the dealer button, respectively.
If you keep score, you’ll know that the blinds are where you lose the most money. The blinds’ mandatory payment is the most evident cause of this. The less obvious explanation is that you are at a positional disadvantage compared to players in middle position and late position when you are sitting in either of the blinds.
It’s not indicative of poor play if you consistently lose money in the blinds over time. This is the norm and something to which you should acclimate. Focus on playing well instead of trying to manipulate the blinds into a profit. To accomplish this, you should limit your preflop options, raise only when you have a strong hand, and never, ever limp.
From the Blinds, Keep It Close!
Some players, when confronted with long-term loss data from the blinds, decide to simply play more hands in an effort to turn a profit. Playing hands from the blinds also saves money. That’s the antithesis of what needs to happen.
You can’t make many difficult plays in the blinds since you never have position after the flip. You will always be at a disadvantage due to the fact that your opponents have more information at their disposal. Thus, value, rather than variety, is the goal.
From the blinds, only play hands that have a chance to win a showdown. A reliable spectrum might look like this:
22 or more AQs, AKo KQs, QJs
Any of these hands would be worth betting on to see the flop. Keep in mind that you might choose to play passively or aggressively with pocket pairs. From 22 to 88, you should only play for set value, not for the pot. Limping with weak pocket pairings is fine if you choose a more conservative playing style.
It’s best to stay away from weak hands. From the blinds, playing weak hands such as ATo or KJs is a surefire way to stay a weak player. Because you’re in early position, you won’t be able to tell when you’re beat with these hands, and they’re marginal pair types that are easily bested. From the blinds, you shouldn’t be playing weak hands.
Ask Only for What You Think the Blinds Are Worth
Raise from the blinds only if you have good value. That’s why it’s important to only make a raise if you’re confident that your hand is stronger than your opponents’. The majority of players will lose money by trying to play clever in the blinds by making little raises. Don’t do anything crazy, just play a steady game in the blinds.
Keep in mind that once the preflop phase ends, you’ll be out of position for the rest of the hand. Every hand you’re dealt becomes more challenging as a result of this. It complicates both playing draws and reading your opponents’ hands. Even with the best hands, it becomes more difficult to profit from them.
Calling it Flat from Behind the Veil
Although I haven’t conducted a systematic study on the topic, I believe that flat calling from the blinds is the primary cause of low win rates. Who hasn’t looked at TJo in the small blind and thought, “What the hell, I’ll call and hope to hit” after seeing a preflop raise? I can say with absolute certainty that I have.
The problem is that it doesn’t generate any revenue. Playing weak hands is fine when you have position over your opponent and can control the play after the flop. However, calling preflop raises from the blinds with poor cards is reckless play. If you want to lose money, you might as well play roulette.