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How To Play Your Blinds In Poker


It can be difficult playing from the big and small blind in tournaments. From one point of view, you wish to protect the pot. However, on the other hand you feel vulnerable because you are out of position with a weaker hand than normal.

I have always been an advocate of playing hands from the big blind especially when your opponent is aggressive and you have a shorter stack. As long as you have a chip stack of less than 25 blinds, you can win a lot of chips if you protect your blinds by re-raising or calling all in.

These are only two strategies. The first call should be used from the big blind because you are the last player to act and you can call with less than any other player in the game. From the small blind, you would want to be more choosy with your calling, unless there was more than one opponent before the flop, which would be a few callers and one raiser.

Calling from the big blind is done when you have many somewhat bad hands and you think the raiser is being aggressive and is raising junk hands to simply steal your blinds. As a result, when you call the weaker hand, you could have the same quality of hand as your opponent. The best strategy then is to check the hands that you hit to the aggressive opponent and then re-raise all in with the majority of hands that hit your hand fairly well. You would want to do this more often with a short chip stack than with a bigger stack.

As an example: you have J9 and an aggressive opponent opens with a smaller raise from the cut off. You then will call from the big blind with a stack of 18 times. The flop comes 9Q8 giving you one pair as well as an inside straight draw. This is a good enough hand to play against an aggressive opponent. As a result you check knowing he is likely to bet any flop. The beginning pot is 6 blinds and your opponent bets 4 blinds into the pot. You then become ultra-aggressive and re-raise his bet with your remaining big blinds. As a result he has to call 13.5 big blinds to win the pot, which is a huge risk for your opponent. You would not see your opponent do this unless he had a pair of Queens or higher.
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