Playing the Blinds

 

Texas Holdem poker has what are called forced bets, known as blinds. Playing these blinds intelligently can be critical to your overall success, so knowing how to play them is very important.
In Texas Hold’em position is power. The player who acts last, or on the button, has a big advantage over the rest of the table because he gets to see everyone else bet first. The two people in the worst position are the small blind and the big blind because they will be out of position on every round following the opening round. Blinds have to put their money in the pot before seeing any cards, so there is no way of knowing what cards the blinds hold. This can be good news or bad news if you are in the blind. It is good news if you get a strong hand, since you can disguise it well, but it is bad news if you get weak hands since you sometimes find it hard to throw them away.

Many players want to defend their blinds at all costs. This is a HUGE mistake, one of the most common made by Texas Holdem players. It is so difficult for players to throw away their cards if they already have money in the pot. But remember this one fact and it will help you throw away trash hands. Once the blinds are taken, the money is not yours. That is a simple way of remembering to get rid of crap hands before the flop. The small blind has it a little bit easier with a crap hand, since he is only in for half as much and can throw things away easier. The big blind faces more pressure because he already has a full bet in the pot. But again, remember that money is not yours anymore. Play your hand as you would in any other position. Don’t go calling raises if you don’t have a strong hand from the blind. It is just throwing money away.

What gets people into so much trouble from the blinds is their play after the flop, and it all comes down to poor decisions before the flop. For example, let’s say you have a K-10 in the big blind and call one bet to see the flop. It comes out with a K-8-3. You now have top pair but your 10 kicker is one that can get you into all kinds of trouble. You may end up costing yourself a lot of money in this example because you think your hand is best. It may not be, and if it is not, you are going to lose a lot of money. Had you thrown this K-10 away before the flop you would not be faced with this problem. Other hands like the K-10 are A-small kicker, K-J, Q-10, etc. These marginal hands that look playable from the blinds can get you into a world of trouble after the flop. Keep this in mind.

Always remember when playing the blinds to not go chasing after money. If you can get in cheap, do so. If you have to put money into the pot with weak holdings, don’t do it. Most people make the major mistake of defending their blinds to a great extent, don’t you be one of them.

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