Playing Blinds - Introduction

The 2 blinds positions in Texas Holdem are the table positions where you're most likely to lose money, simply because when playing blinds you have to make decisions before the flop that are based almost solely on the cards in your hand - with no clues from the betting of your opponents. You're unaware at the time of your bet on how many raises or calls you're going to see behind you. Similarly, after the flop you'll be aware of opponents betting before the flop, but still with no indication of whether they'll continue or fold. All round when you're playing blinds it's the worst position to be in.

As such, luck plays a strong part in playing blinds..but skillful players will follow proven strategies to minimise losses and maximise winning chances.

Basically the best way to play the blinds (at least after the flop) is to value and bet your hand dependent on how many players are still engaged, your pot odds, and the playing styles which you've noted among those remaining players. Very simply it can be wise to play either very strong hands or just fold in most other cases.

PlayWinningPoker.com presents some good info on why paying attention to playing blinds is important, and the affect blinds have on your win rate over time - and there are a variety of other blinds related articles at the same source.
Battle of the Blinds - Tournament Play

Many times in tournament poker, players are going to find themselves in a hand when they are in one of the blinds and their only other opponent is going to be the other blind. These hands are crucial in tournament play for a number of reasons.

First, both players are going to have valuable chips already committed to the pot. Secondly, these situations are going to occur often, and players have to make sure they are winning their fair share of blind versus blind pots.

The strategy differs depending on which blind the player is in and the habits of the other blind. Blind versus blind battles underscores the idea of be able to label opponents. The general idea of labeling players is first to label the player directly to the right. Then label the player directly to the left. So why start with the players directly on each side? This is because these are the players that a player will be having the blind versus blind battles with!

Small Blind

When a player playing on a site like Full Tilt Poker is on the small blind and action folds around to him, he has all actions available to him. Depending on the player in the big blind, some courses of action are better than others. If the big blind is very aggressive, the player should never be calling. If he has a hand he thinks is best, he should raise. Only raise against aggressive big blinds if you are willing to 4 bet shove, because many times the aggressive big blind will 3 bet a raise with any two cards.
The other option is folding, which is okay. If the big blind is a tight player - raising every time is profitable and should be done. If the big blind plays back, the player can fold confidently knowing he is beat. If the big blind is tight, limping in a trying to flop a huge hand is another good strategy. This is especially effective if the big blind has tendencies to overplay hands post flop.

Big Blind

On the other side, if the player is in the big blind, he cannot let the small blind steal his blind every time. If the small blind is aggressive, re raising a small blind raise is going to win 3 big blinds a majority of the time. If the small blind is tight, he is going to be folding and limping most of the time, so when he raises it is an easy fold. Just make sure he does not raise more than 33% of the time, otherwise playing back might be necessary.
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