A forced bet received prior to the flop, i.e. even before the cards are dealt to a player is called a blind. That pretty much explains why it is known as the “blind” too, doesn’t it?
The game of Texas Hold’em encourages blind playing as it ensures a lot more action and uncertainty. A forced bet makes it compulsory for all players to take risks, without which most players would probably just waste all day waiting for a few pocket aces.
The original idea behind blind playing was to make the game revolve around the battle for the blind money. This idea has taken roots in the online world as well and on Texas Hold’em structured limit games ($3/6 or $2/4 Hold’em) on most websites today, blind playing has gained a lot of popularity. Of the various ways in which this is enforced, the ante structure comprising two types of blinds – the small blind and the big blind – is quite popular.
You will find these blinds played towards the left of the dealer button. Therefore the dealer button comes first, followed by the small blind. The big blind comes last. The worth of each blind is determined by the limit of the game.
Here’s an example for those still new to the world of poker: in a $2/4 game, $2 would be the big blind and the small blind would be $1. The bet size and the big blind amount are always the same (on the flop). Similarly, the big blind will be $3 and the small blind will be $2/$1 in a $3/6 game.
At times, it is also seen that the loose nature of the game is dictated by the amount of money placed on the blinds, but this is not a hard and fast rule.
Golden Rules to Remember During Blind Play
It doesn’t matter if it is a high limit or a low limit Texas Hold’em game, most players tend to lose a lot of money through blind playing. And this is because you have to make some of your most difficult decisions during this stage. Those who can’t decide properly, lose money. Let me explain with the help of an example.
Suppose a player in middle position is dealt a marginal hand. Under normal circumstances, people just call with this hand. Now let’s say another player raises in front of this first player. Common sense demands for the first player to let go of the call because this will save him a lot of trouble. However, the situation can become extremely complicated if a player is in the big blind where quite a number of other opponents are already in and a bet has been raised by one of them.
You are surrounded by the temptation of calling great odds and finding out if it is possible for you to catch up. However, there’s a problem. There is a high chance of your getting sucked in and paying off a good hand to a number of other players. This is the way most players tend to lose in the long run. The defeat comes not through bad betting but through paying off the wrong hands. Therefore, as you can understand, blind playing is a kind of double edged sword.
Tips for Blind Playing – Should You Call Or Shouldn’t You?
Perhaps the worst position in a hand where a player can get trapped is when an opponent has raised and you call out of the small blind or big blind. This will put you in a false position for the rest of the hand’s duration. Thus the golden rule is to strictly avoid getting stuck in an early position.
Before calling with a marginal hand, check to see if it directly competes with any other raiser’s hand. Because if it does and if you are an inexperienced player, you may be trapped. Suppose a player with an A8 and out of the big blind decides to call a pre-flop raiser. And then he catches and aces on the flop. However, all the betting is being done by another opponent. This is not a very good situation to be in because your opponent knows that you hardly have any chance of winning despite being in the pot with him. Furthermore, there are plenty of other opponents in the round who can defeat your A8.
Low Price is Equivalent to Great Odds
Suppose a number of opponents have already made their calls and you only place one extra, smallish bet. This is when you will probably get some great odds. However, remember that once you have placed your bet and the money is out of your hand, you cannot really call it your own money unless you actually win it back.
Using this strategy past a pre flop is not advisable at all. You should also try to avoid playing by the ‘half in rule,’ because this will most certainly land you in a soup.
Player is in the Small Blind or Big Blind Along with Other Players Who Have No Raises
In this extremely typical situation, you are required to play out of the small blind and perhaps you have to place another teeny tiny dollar bet in order for the flop to come. This is the most feasible strategy to adopt except with the worst hands. However, post flop, you have to play very carefully.
Same Situation as Before but with a Raise
If many players are in along with you, if you possess a decent hand, and if you need to call one more extra bet, it is fine. However, if your call gets capped and re-raised, you should get out.
Remember one of those previous articles where I said “Poker is Not Gambling?” You could argue that this article flies in the face of that statement, but that doesn’t mean that blind playing has to be entirely left to luck. While your bet is definitely blind in terms of the cards you’ll get, it doesn’t have to be blind strategically; and that’s the difference between a novice and an expert.