Let's start with the premise that you will, over time, lose money when playing in the blinds. It's a fact. Deal with it.
When you think about it, you have to put money in the pot before you know what your cards are AND you're out of position for the entire hand. It should come as no surprise that even the best players in the world can't consistently make a profit from the blinds over time.
So, that means that your strategy from the blinds needs to shift towards making the most of the edges you have, when you have them, and minimizing your losses.
I'll give you $5 if the tips I give you today don't have a positive impact on your win rate from the blinds. Strong, huh?
Tip 1: Steal more from the small blind vs the big blind
If you open from the small blind with a higher frequency than you probably are now, you will pick up more dead money from the pot. This is by far, the easiest way to lower your losses in the small blind.
When you're stealing from the small blind, you should use a larger raise than you would from other positions on the table. If your raises are too small, you're giving your opponents a good price to call in position. Your raises sizes should be at least 3.5x to reduce the incentive for the big blind to call.
If you're playing a tournament, and there are antes, you should further increase your raise size to 4.5x to 5x.
Now, as always, you need to be paying attention to your opponents and as the big blind starts to pick up on your tendancies, you'll need to adjust your strategy to match.
Tip 2: Defend your big blind more
Weak players fold their big blind far too often. Don't be a weak player.
Considering the price (and additional equity) you're generally getting on your big blind, you should be defending with a wider range of hands. But, and you need to know this going in, you need to be prepared to put up a fight for pots on marginally good flops for your hand. Playing too passively after the flop is going equate your preflop calls to setting money on fire.
I'm not advocating for fighting to the death on every pot where you call from the big blind, but you won't win more by defending alone and hoping to hit lightning on the flop.
Tip 3: Don't Donk Bet
Donk bets (where the preflop caller leads in the preflop raiser) is seen mostly by weaker players after they connect with the flop in some way, and they want to either protect their hand, or are betting for value.
There are two main issues with donk betting.
The first, is the player who just called preflop has a range disadvantage vs the player who raised preflop. Generally, from the blinds, the person calling the raise isn't gong to have AA, KK, QQ, AK type hands because they're more likely to reraise. However, the person who raised preflop still has all of these hands in their range. So as a rule, you're going to be betting a weaker range into a stronger range, and you can imagine how that's going to work out over time.
The second issue with donk betting, is that it's very, very hard to balance your range properly.
If you're only leading out with your value hands, that's going to get picked up on very quickly. By checking your hand instead, you improve your checking range and stop your opponent from stealing regularly with continuation bets.
Another advantage to checking your whole range in these spots is that you won't be giving your opponents any information. You're already at a disadvantage of information by being out of position, so don't compound that by dishing out information about your hand. If you donk bet even an appropriate range of hands, you're still giving out more information than the ZERO information you give your opponent by checking.
Tip 4: Check Raise Aggressively
Check raising has a few strong advantages instead of check calling.
Most importantly, you'll fold out their bluffs and a lot of the their marginal hands and really punish a player who is continuation betting too often. Second, you can now turn your opponents value bet range into a bluff catching range and put them to harder decisionons on future streets.
Check raising is best on flops where there are a good number of turn cards which can be killers for our hand, or if your opponent is prone to drawing hands that can catch up to us on future streets.
If you put these tips in play, I won't owe you $5 but you will make more money from the blinds. Period.
So don't forget:
1: Steal more from te small blind
2: Defend your big blind more, and play agressively after the flop
3: Don't donk bet
4: Check raise like a champ
Have fun, and good luck!
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