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!

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