Stealing the Blinds in Poker

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Stealing the Blinds in Poker

One of the most common agressive tactics in poker is blind-stealing, this involves trying to pick up the blinds cheaply pre-flop by folding every other player out of the pot including the SB and BB.  A general guide for blind-stealing is to bet 4xBBs from late position on an un-raised pot. This provides the right type of fold equity with the least amount of money you have to invest – if you bet much more than this you’re risking too much of your stack and if you bet too little and you’ll be giving pot odds for marginal hands to call. 

The most important thing when blind-stealing is that you don’t want anyone to call you, this means it’s most profitable on a tight table and specifically with tight/weak players on the blinds.  The last thing you want is to be re-raised by defensive players on the SB/BB and have everyone see that you’re bluffing with nothing.

Stealing Blinds in Online PokerStealing Blinds in Poker Tournaments

Stealing blinds is definately very important in poker tournaments.  In deep stack MTTs when you reach the final table for example, the blinds can end up being worth more than 10% of the average chip stick.  In these scenarios stealing the blinds is way a more profitable relative to the risks.  An additional reason to steal the blinds more often in multi-table tournaments is the lack of information players have on you as a player, because you’re continually being moved to different tables which limits how well they can read your bluffs.

Stealing Blinds in No Limit Cash Games

If you have a good read on your table and you’re sat in position with a marginal hand like suited connectors or high broadways, you should raise the pot 4xBBs on an un-raise board and steal the blinds.  I only ever blind-steal in 10-handed games in late position, however in 6-man tables you can try this from mid-late position – sometimes even the blinds. Never blind-steal from early position in a 10-man game because this isn’t profitable, there are too many players left to act who can re-raise you and force you off your hand.

Although there’s little value in the blinds at cash games compared to the late stages of MTTs or SNGs, there is still a lot of money to be made from blind-stealing against overly tight/weak opponents who over defend or fold the blinds.  The reason this earns you so much money is that a) you build large pots that increase your implied odds with marginal hands, b) you have a positional advantage post-flop and c) you’ll make additional money from continuation bets.

Just remember that that the looser your table is, the more disinclined you should be to steal or bluff pots.  Another blind-stealing tip is to only do this when your hand has potential “outs”.  The biggest mistake is blind stealing with dominated hands like Ax (e.g. A5 is dominated by AQ). It’s important to have enough outs to get paid off when you hit a monster like a straight, rather than just trying to make your opponent fold pre-flop.

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