Blind Stealing I – The profitable art of stealing blinds

In the course of his development as a poker player, every player tries to find new ways and moves that maximize his profit. One of the simplest but still very profitable concepts, if applied correctly, is the stealing of blinds.

Maybe you have often been in the following situation: Every time you sit in the big blind, the player starts an opening move on the button. The small blind folds, you fold and the player on the button wins 1.5BB. You’ve been waiting for a playable hand since rounds and have significantly expanded your calling range. However, the button has post-flop position on you and you hate playing it without position. You see, stealing blinds is not difficult, but very profitable.

What is Blind Stealing?

Blind-stealing works as mentioned above. You are in late position, all players in front of you fold and you open with a raise. The players fold after you and you’ve already stolen the blinds. It’s as simple as that. Your hand is relatively unimportant, because you’re counting on players throwing away their hands preflop after you. Nonetheless, there are hands that should preferably be included in their blind stealing range. Now for a very short time: hands with good equity such as K3s are better than e.g. 45o.

The power of blind stealing comes, as so often, from the fold equity you create in this scenario. The best is the button for this turn. Here is a short example:

Suppose you want to steal the blinds and sit once in hi-jack (2 seats in front of the button) and once on the button itself. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say all players after you have the same rank to go against your steal Defend: Your range is 20% of all hands. How big is the chance for you to win the pot without a fight preflop?

Hi-Jack (4 players left): (1.0 – 0.2) ^ 4 = 0.41
Button (2 players left): (1.0 – 0.2) ^ 2 = 0.64

So on the button (64%) you have a 50% higher yield than in hi-jack (41%). Now you could conclude that the small blind is the best position to steal the big blind. In addition, you have already invested there 0.5BB basic use and would therefore save 0.5BB in your raise. Usually this is not the case as you have positional advantage on the button if you are called. And as you know, the position advantage is very powerful. However, if the big blind is a very tight player, then you can open the SB without hesitation and far.

Of course, the consistent ‘Defending Range’ is just a theoretical value to simplify the calculation and visualize the impact. Of course, for example, the big blind against a raise from first position will have a different range than against a raise from the button.

This should be noted:
Whether the situation is favorable for a blind steal depends mainly on what kind of players follow you. Very loose and passive players, as they are to be found especially in very low limits, are rather poor. These will usually call you a lot and you should play good hands (compared to their range) in this situation.

Weak-tight players, as they are often found in slightly higher limits, are the best. You’ll rarely encounter resistance here, and if you’re called preflop, you can often win the pot on the flop with a continuation bet.

The loose-aggressive player is the least suitable candidate. This very good player, but with whom you only get to work in the higher limits knows exactly what you are doing and how he can benefit from your wide range. He will often defend himself with 3-bets preflop and check raises of your continuation bets on the flop. If you do not pay attention and adjust, then in the steal scenario you created against that player, you could end up losing even in the long run.

Tight-aggressive players that you find most often in the higher limits are in turn quite good at stealing their blinds. These players usually prefer a very tight tactic from the blinds, as they hate playing without position.

You should always keep an eye on the big blind. This is the player who will most often defend himself against your steal, since it is his last turn and no player has to fear for him anymore.

Of course, you also have to include your table image in your considerations. If you have a very bad and loose image, then you should temporarily limit your stealing frequency a bit.

Final tips on blind stealing

If you want to steal the blinds, then you should open with the same amount that you open with, otherwise you will not tell. For example, if you always raise to 3.5BB on your opening raises, then you should do so now. If the blinds start to defend against your steals, then you can adjust your raise sizes as follows: open by default at 3.5BB, open from cut-off to 3BB and from the button to 2.5BB.

Summary

Blind stealing is a very profitable concept and always will be. Experiment with it, paying special attention to the different types of players and their reactions. You should always keep an eye on the big blind. Have fun!

Play from the big blind

The big blind is almost as difficult to play as the small blind. With a blind forced basic assignment, it is not possible in this position to have a positive win rate. To keep the loss from this position as small as possible, you should read through today’s article …

In the big-blind, the same problem arises in principle as in the small-blind: you have no position. Although the position here is slightly better than in the small-blind, since you’re the last to preflop. However, the position disadvantage postflop is still so great that you will have long term from this position a negative win rate.

To avoid difficult situations, I recommend you from the big-blind a very tight strategy. However, if your teammates steal your blind too often, then you have to react accordingly.

Big-blind preflop strategy

From the big blind, you can make your hand selection a little looser than from the small blind. Since you’re the last to preflop, you do not have to worry about being pushed out of the hand in the small-blind by an aggressive squeezer.

The squeeze from the big blind

Now you can take on the role of aggressive squeezers and use this turn in good situations. The default scenario is, as you can probably guess, an opening raid on the button and a small-blind call. The button has a very wide range and thus usually not a very good hand. The call of the small-blind is an indicator of a medium-strong hand that has to give up against a 3-bet. In this situation, you can often squeeze a 3-bet, regardless of the strength of your hand, to steal the pot.

Hand selection from the big blind

As in the small blind, you should also re-raise your strong hands (high pairs, AK, AQ, …) from the big blind. It is very difficult to build a big pot postflop without a position. Therefore, you should start this with a preflop 3-bet. To balance your 3-beting range, I recommend hands that will not get you in trouble. Medium suited connectors are particularly good here.

In your Callling range, you can include especially suited Broadways and middle pairs. Small pairs and suited connectors can also be profitable big-blind hands against the right opponents. However, as you will rarely make top pair, they are not easy to play.

Also, when playing from the big blind is: Always observe the range of your opponents and adjust your range accordingly. Against a first-place opening move, a big blind call with AJo is rarely profitable.

Big blind against short stacks

Many professional short stackers have a very wide opening range from the button. Some open up to 60% of their hands here. You should meet them in the big blind with a very wide range and push all-in.

Big-blind in deep-stacked games

To play without position with big stacks (> 200 BB) is very difficult against competent opponents. These will continually try to put pressure on you. Therefore, you should play carefully and tightly in these situations and adjust your hand selection accordingly. Furthermore, it is recommended to reduce the 3-betting range compared to a normal 100BB game. This will keep the pot relatively small. Especially in deep-stacked games: in position big pots, without position small pots.

Big-blind post-flop strategy

If you kept away from problem hands preflop, then you have a relatively easy life postflop. The key to successful oop play is to take the initiative in hand. If you have not already preflop with a 3-bet, then you can do it with a check-raise on the flop or turn. Floats without a position are not advisable against most opponents and are not profitable.

Summary:
With the game from the big blind most players have problems. You should come to terms with the fact that it is usually not possible to have a positive win rate here. If you work on your game and try to play relatively tight and with a proper hand selection, then you should not lose too much here.

Play from the small-blind

The small blind is rightly considered the worst position at the poker table. Not only do you have to deposit money into the pot with your basic bet before you’ve seen your cards. You also play against the rest of the table without position …

Position is the nuts and bolts of no-limit hold’em poker. Most poker pros agree that position and good positional play are probably the most important strategies. In the small-blind compared to all your teammates have the worse position, so the position disadvantage. Without position, you have to act first and your opponents can already see a lot of information on your turn and on your placement behavior. Also, without a position, it’s very difficult for you to control the size of the pot: You win smaller pots and lose bigger pots than positional advantage. These are very good reasons to make your small-blind strategy relatively tight.

From the small-blind you should usually play a very tight strategy.

Small-blind preflop strategy

You should choose your preflop strategy in the small-blind very tight, as you have the worst position at the poker table later in the hand. You could argue with that, for example, after an opening crack from the cut-off and a call from the button good relative position on the flop would have (more on the relative position can be found here), but this is only partially true, since you also still the big one -Blind should take into account. Firstly, the big-blind might feel encouraged by the multiway action to squeeze. Second, the BB in a call would have the better relative position in the hand.

Hand selection from the small blind

With strong hands such as AA, KK, QQ, AK, … (depending on your opponent’s range), you should usually preflop a 3-bet, since it is very difficult without post position to build up the pot. At the same time you will reduce the stack-to-pot ratio and the hand will be easier to play.

So that your 3-bet range does not become too predictable, you should compensate this. In addition I recommend hands like 79s, which are relatively easy to play postflop and with which you can not get in trouble. Hands like K7s are in position very well suited to 3-bets, but without position you are constantly creating situations that can make you sweat a lot.

For preflop calls, hands like small and medium sized pocket pairs are very easy to play. Make sure that there is not an aggressive squeezer in the big blind, against whose 3-bets you have to give up your relatively weak hand.

Although you can extend your range against frequent steals, you should react much more conservatively than in the big blind.

If no one has opened before you, then you should make your style of play depending on the big blind. If it is a very tight opponent, then you can open a very wide range and make it automatically profit. But an attentive big-blind opponent will soon see through your tactics, often taking advantage of his positional advantage. Then it’s time to drastically reduce your opening range.

Small blind against short stacks
Against frequent steals of short stacks, you can usually defend yourself with a wide 3-bet range.

Small-blind in deep-stacked games
If the stacks get bigger (> 150BB), then you should be extra careful from the small blind. The position advantage of your opponents is just too big and the risk too high. With big stacks, playing without position is a nightmare and you should be careful not to get involved in complicated situations.

Small-blind post-flop strategy
If you choose your hands (no problem hands) and your moves very preflop very carefully, then you should also have postflop relatively little difficulty. When playing without a position is often a crucial criterion in the course of the hand to take the initiative – be it with a 3-bet preflop and with the continuation of the aggression on the flop or with a check-raise on the flop.

Summary:
The small-blind is the most unpleasant position in no-limit hold’em poker. Lack of information and poor control over the pot size make playing from this position very difficult. That’s why a very tight strategy is usually the best.