How To Play The Blinds
Playing in the blinds is the hardest position to play in poker, and this applies to any level from small home games to the nose bleed stakes. It is difficult due to you having to put money into the pot before the cards are even dealt and after the flop you have to act first on all the post flop betting streets which means you have to make decisions without knowing if you will be facing more bets and raises.
How you play your hands out of the blinds is usually the difference between players that win and players that lose.
The blinds, which are typically a big blind of a small bet and a small blind of a half a small bet. This will be $3 BB and $1 SB in a typical $3/$6 limit Holdem game. As you have already put money into the pot before you receive cards you will usually look down at a junk hand like J5o. You will see junk like this roughly 70% of the time but you will always have put money into the pot.
As mentioned earlier the blinds are the worst seat at the table. Not only does this make it difficult to play with a marginal hand as you don’t know if the other players will bet it also makes it harder when you flop a monster as maximising the size of the pot is difficult when you have such little info on the players hand strength as you have to act before them.
This is our advice on how to play out of the blinds when you are playing in a loose passive low stakes limit game:
If you are in the big blind and there has been no raises you will obviously be seeing a flop with whatever you have. If you happen to flop something big then you should play it aggressively. If you flop top pair with a weak kicker then bet it out. If you flop a bigger hand than top pair then you can maximise your profits by check raising the flop if you think that one of the other players in likely to bet. When the flop comes down and you have something weaker than top pair and there is more than 2 people still in the pot then you should check and fold as it is likely you will be behind.
If you are sat in the big blind and you are faced with a raise preflop then stick to the standard starting hand guidelines. If there is only a single raise you can use hand selection as if you are in middle position. If your hand does not make the cut just fold, you may be giving up the blind you put in but it will save you even more money in the long run if you don’t call. The one main exception to this that arises in a low limit game occasionally is when all the players have folded round to the button who raises. This will very often just be an attempt to steal and you should play back aggressively. Keep in mind the difference in hand strength at this point. An ace rag type hand will often be good enough to win the pot without improving.
If there has been more than one raise infront of you preflop then you should only stick to playing premium hands like AKs, AQs, AA, KK or QQ and you should be playing it for a raise preflop. People that have made the mistake of being trapped into the hand with a marginal holding will now be forced to call more raises so you should punish them further.
Most of the times it is a good idea to be folding your hands out of the blinds. This also applies to marginal hands that you hold postflop. Don’t be tempted to hold onto your junk hand because you already have some money in the pot. Or if you hold a marginal hand post flop don’t hold on to try catch that miracle card you need. Just let it go and move onto the next hands where you are in a better position.