Poker is one of the oldest card games in the world, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, poker is enjoying a popularity boom, with millions playing online and offline. There are many reasons for poker’s enduring appeal, but some of the most important ones are its simple rules, exciting gameplay, and potential for big winnings. Poker is a game that anyone can learn, but that takes a lifetime to master. No two hands are ever the same, and there’s always the chance of winning big if you are lucky (or skilled). Whether you’re playing for fun or money, poker is a great game for anyone who enjoys a little competition.
Anyone who’s ever played poker knows it’s a game of strategy. But they might not know just how intricate and complex poker strategy can be. There are so many different scenarios that can come up in a game, and you have to be able to adapt to each one on the fly. Playing from the blinds is one of the most challenging scenarios in poker, especially for beginners. Many poker players struggle with finding the perfect balance between committing to hands and folding because of how unique the blinds are as positions. In this poker guide, we will analyze playing from the blinds and give you tips on how to do so, along with pointing out common mistakes so you can fix them. No one guide can teach you how to play perfectly, but we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started.
What are the blinds?
In poker, the “blinds” are the two forced bets that are made before any cards are dealt. The blinds ensure that there is always some money in the pot to make the game more interesting and motivate players to stay in the hand rather than folding before the flop. The small blind is typically one-half of the big blind, and both blinds are usually posted by the players immediately to the left of the dealer. Those positions are also known as the small and big blinds. The size of the blinds will vary depending on the game being played and the stakes involved. Once the blinds are posted, each player is dealt two cards face down, known as their “hole cards.” Play then proceeds clockwise around the table, with each player having the option to call, raise, or fold. The flop, turn, and river follow, and the best five-card hand wins the pot.
Why is playing from the blinds hard?
The blinds are perhaps the most challenging position to play in poker for several reasons. Firstly, the forced bets they make often pressure players to commit to the pot, even when they may not have a strong hand. Secondly, the positional disadvantage of the blinds means that they often have to act first post-flop, which can be difficult if the flop does not go their way. Finally, the fact that there are two blinds means that players in the blinds often have to deal with raise wars pre-flop, which can put them at a significant disadvantage. The blinds are undoubtedly challenging positions to play, but doing so is a necessary part of poker. If you can’t play from the blinds, you limit your opportunities to make a profit and learn the game.
Common mistakes when playing from the blinds: Overfolding
One of the biggest mistakes people make when playing from the blinds is not doing so entirely. If you entirely neglect the blinds and just fold whenever you play from them instead of engaging in risky plays, you just end up steadily losing money over time. While it may seem like a good idea to just fold and wait for a better hand when you’re in the blinds, this passive strategy will only lead to losses in the long run. This loss is exacerbated in game formats like 6-max poker, where you play from the blinds very frequently, along with later stages in tournaments where the blinds steadily increase over time.
Common mistakes when playing from the blinds: Overplaying hands
One of the most critical skills in poker is learning how to balance aggression and passivity. Playing from the blinds makes it easy to feel pressure to keep up with the other players, but if your hand is terrible, there is absolutely no shame in folding and cutting your losses. Blinds should still be treated as an early position post-flop, so if your hand isn’t strong enough to win the pot and you aren’t confident in bluffing, it’s better to let your blinds go.
Defending your blinds: Call more often
So, finding a balance when playing from the blinds is critical, but how do you do so? Assuming you don’t play from the blinds too often, the best way is to call more frequently from the big blind with decent drawing hands. The forced bet you put in the pot can be used to your advantage, as it makes calling with just about anything have decent odds. However, you shouldn’t confuse odds with actual chances of winning, as even if the odds are good, there’s no point playing a hand without a chance of winning. How often you play from the blinds is entirely up to you and your playstyle, so you should use these tips as a foundation and develop your strategy through practice.
Remember to make your own strategy
So, there it is. Playing from the blinds can be tricky, but it is a necessary challenge for poker. Every player’s strategy is different, and playing games is the only way to form yours. We hope this guide taught you the basic poker rules of playing from the blinds and helped you make your strategy.