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Blind Play: What to Complete? What to Raise? What to fold?

I think blind play is quite interesting and probably not properly discussed enough. There are several different factors that go into deciding what hands to play from the blinds and how to play them.

1. Are your opponents loose or tight preflop? Passive or aggressive post flop? Let's say a loose passive player limps from EP, a tight player over limps from MP, the SB completes and we have AT in the BB. Raise or check your option?

2. Stack sizes. In addition to your opponents' tendencies, I believe stack sizes are relevant. You should also pay attention to a short stacks limping in from EP if they have any clue what is going on. If you have a hand like QJ or AT you often want to have deeper stacks if you are going to raise from the blinds so that you can fire multiple barrels. These hands are much harder to play not only out of position, but when your opponents have shorter stacks and just "go with" top pair post flop.

3. Rake considerations. This is something that is definitely not talked about enough anywhere. Now, there are exceptions to every rule, but I generally don't complete the SB in a 2/5 or below game if there are less than three limpers. The limpers have to be literally atrocious and willing to stack off in limped pots for me to play most hands for a complete. Most hands in these situations are just a raise or fold.

4. Opponents' willingness to go broke in limped pots. I just touched on this a little, but this is a serious consideration for me when I decide if I want to complete the SB or check my option in the BB with a decent to good hand. In some games, people just refuse to make legitimate bets in limped pots, citing "there is no money in the pot." This is stupid logic, because in order to build pots you must bet and people just love to limp, not raise and complain about how the game is tight and/or there they never get paid off. God bless live poker.

Obviously there are exceptions to every rule and your blind ranges should change with the table dynamics, but what do you guys usually complete the SB with/check the BB with? What do you raise with? Also, what about straddled pots? I think completing the blinds for a straddle falls into the same category. Thoughts? I would like to get a good discussion going.

Comments

  • UntreatableFPSUntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    Hands like AT or QJ or JTs are almost always checks from BB for me
    But against tight players who might fold pre, A8o might be a steal raise

    From the blinds, I raise with good hands AQ+/AJs, TT+ or sometimes 88+ and sometimes hands like KQs or AJo for value and occasionally junky somewhat playable hands as a steal, something that you would 3-bet bluff as, such as T7s, J8o, A7o, etc if and only if there's a decent chance that you can steal all the limps. But more often than not, it will be a value hand, because when you have to play post-flop, it's always OOP

    From the SB, I fold without completing all the time no matter how many people are in the hand. But that's just me. I hate OOP. I would even fold A8o or K8o from the SB if the whole table limps because those hands are annoying to play OOP when you flop top pair, but I might complete something like a 64o (probably the bottom of my range) if there are a lot of limpers.

    In straddled pots, think of the SB as effectively dead money and the BB kind of as if you're the SB in a regular pot. But I usually play super tight from the blinds if the straddler is aggressive.
  • PokerIsFrustratingPokerIsFrustrating Posts: 657Member
    I agree with pretty much everything Claire said.

    You want to pay particular attention to your sizing though from the blinds. You are usually in a spot where you want to limit the field unless you have a very premium hand, short stacks or very bad villains.

    When I first sit down, I try to pay particular attention to raise sizes and how players respond. If you can get the sizing down and players will actually limp/fold pre, you can still find opportunities to raise out of the blinds, get 1 or 2 callers and work a cbet game (although it's a little difficult OOP). Depending on the game this might be impossible or difficult, but I do see lots of tables where you might get 7 limpers at 2/5 and a $40 raise will take the pot down a pretty good % of the time. I started doing this every once in a while and picking up those blinds can really help.
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