Knowing when to complete from the small blind

We all know how enticing pot odds can be. And there isn’t a better example of “getting a great price” then when completi...

Posted Jun 25, 2013


Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

We all know how enticing pot odds can be. And there isn’t a better example of “getting a great price” then when completing in the small blind after several people have limped in. Sometimes you can be getting as much as 10-1 in this spot and a lot of people feel like they are forced to complete especially when the big blind is the type of player that would not raise without a premium hand. However, I have seen a lot of people make mistakes in this particular situation.

I remember a long time ago reading something from Phil Hellmuth discussing which hands he completes in the small blind in limit Holdem. He said that after several people have entered the pot for a limp, you should complete with any two suited cards. As much flack as Hellmuth gets for his cash game pointers I actually think that this good advice. When more than three people have come into the pot but have not raised I will complete with any two gapper such as 96 or Q9 or any two suited cards. I will fold everything else except for weak aces. The fact of the matter is that position is paramount in big bet games and when you complete from the small blind you are first to act for the rest of the hand.

I cannot find good reasons to play hands like 93os and K6os, but I see people do it all the time. You actually have reverse implied odds when you hit top pair, especially when you are uncomfortable playing post flop. Often times I will see players lose a fair bit of money with hands that they should never have even completed with. I have commentated on Live at the Bike at the Bicycle Casino for over five years and it is amazing to me that guys will fall into a check call shell with a hand like 84os on a board of 8 3 6. They have no idea where they are at and do not seem to realize that their equity against a field bettor’s hand is not good especially if there is a caller in between. The next time you are thinking about completing “any two“ in the small blind ask yourself “what do I really want to flop here”? If you cannot come up with a good answer there is nothing wrong with pitching your hand even if you think you are getting a good price.

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