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.

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.

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