Calling too often from the blinds

In capped games, a large percentage of your winrate is directly correlated to preflop hand selection. I cannot reiterate...

Posted Oct 08, 2012

Contributor

Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

In capped games, a large percentage of your winrate is directly correlated to preflop hand selection. I cannot reiterate this enough. And one of the most common preflop mistakes low level players continuously make is defending way to wide out of the blinds—especially in multiway pots. It is almost unfathomable how having a little dead money in the pot can change the entire outlook of an otherwise tight player in the blind.

Last week, a student went over a hand with me where an early position player raised to $20 at $5-$5 and three people called in the field. It got back to him in the big blind and this guy, who normally only plays less than twenty per cent of his hands, called with 9 3. I immediately stopped him and inquired as to why he would call with such a speculative hand. “I was priced in,” he said. Priced in? Really? Like that extra $5 you had in the pot should suddenly widen your preflop range to the top eighty percent of hands?

Let us say we were on the button with the 9 3 and the same set of circumstances occurred--early position player raises and three people call in between. Should we call on the button? Of course not!!! So why would we ever consider calling in the big blind? Some would argue that we are closing the action in the big blind and we know that the pot will not be reraised. That is true but that does not make up for the positional disadvantage we face post flop nor does it take into account that unless the blinds are squeeze happy it is very unlikely that the pot will be reraised anyway if we call on the button. And if we call we actually may induce the blinds to come in giving us an even better price. There are so many compelling reasons as to why this hand would be better to play from the button as opposed to the big blind. But we still are going to fold it preflop. It is total trash. Yet, because people have a small portion of money in the pot due to being in the blinds, they so often feel compelled to complete.

The fact of the matter is that in big bet games position is unbelievably important. The more trouble spots you avoid from out of position, including the blinds, the more that your winrate will increase.

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