Hey guys, Im asking for a little bit of a favor from the community here...I seem to be having a TON of trouble playing blind vs. blind in NLHE tourneys. I always seem to get burned. the mistake i most commonly make both is in blind vs. blind play, both from sb and bb... more specifically, i've found myself overvaluing two specific hands, A-10 and A-J... can anyone either write an article or leave some advice here on how they approach blind vs. blind play, from small AND large blinds...and which hands they tend to push? thanks so much!
I think there are a lot of people in the same boat. What really makes it hard is that it boils down to heads up play. And it's tough to give specific advice a lot of the time because depending on who you are playing may affect the actions a great deal.
I think it depends very largely on your chipstack and stage in the tournament. I personally pay no attention to the blinds until they are big enough to worry about (at the very least 300-600). If the small blind wants to push all in on my big blind I am 95% of the time only going to call with a BIG hand, i.e QQ/AK and above.
Once you get to Big Blind poker, if I have an above average stack I am not overly concerned about blind protection or stealing from the SB. In fact, when I have a big enough stack where I am not desperate to steal the blinds and antes then I usually welcome the opportunity to walk the BB as often as possible, thus creating an image whereby any raise from the SB will usually garner respect later on in the tourney.
If I have an average stack where blind theft is critical to stay afloat until you pick up a big hand I prefer to wait for a respectable hand (A,10 and above or small to middle suited connectors and any pocket pair) and make a standard raise from earlier positions, or basically whenever I pick up these hands.
When I have a small stack (8 BB or less) basically I am open pushing from late position with any 2 so the SB / BB battle becomes irrelevant).
Basically, blind battles are -EV for me due to the fact that it is so hard to tell the difference between a massive hand and a steal, therefore I generally avoid them at all costs, unless I am the one with a monster! It is much easier to read other players actions when they are betting from earlier positions therefore I tend to take on these players as I can more readily get a read.
Chip stacks..great point..there really are so many variables...it's quite complex...but then again so is this game.
My DB for MTT's won't reflect it as I play primarily HU SNG's and 6 + 9 man SNG's. That said, I have a ton of SNG experience. Now that I have put in that obligatory disclaimer, here is some of what I know about blind play.
The reason that there is not a lot of print on this, is because quite frankly there are so many unique situations that to write specifically on the subject would be difficult. What many people need to remember about the blinds is this, that money that you post for your blind is no longer yours. Mainly I think what gets most people into trouble with blind play is ego. A guy could raise 6 strt hands and because you're not in the blind, you observe it, but are not overly concerned. Yet when it folds around to that same guy who is in the SB, and he raises what just happens to be your BB, now your A9 off suit has transformed into a monster.
Blind play (SB v. BB) comes down to 3 key points. 1. Your read of your opponent; 2. What level the blinds are at; 3. How many ppl are sitting at the hand.
#1, this is obviously the most important concept when it comes to Blind v. Blind play. I am more opt to gamble with the LAG that raises my BB than the guy who has played 2 hands up to the point of him raising my blind. This is common sense I know, but too many people allow their ego to cloud their judgment when it comes to blind play.
#2. When the BB now consists of 20% of your remaining stack, it is now time to gamble. Assuming your up against a random opponent, I would defend my blind (for all my chips) with a variety of hands. You must make your stand, while you still can and to show to your opponents that your not gently going into that dying light. This includes my SB. Too many people think, well I have the button next, so I will fold this AT because I will get x amount of "free" shots at a better hand. This mentality will lead to a slow and painful (and somewhat pathetic) demise more times than not. On the flip side, if you have a big stack, you should be "picking" on the blinds with a wide variety of hands. J7 in late position is a hand I would open raise with to steal the blinds at the 100/200 level and beyond.
#3. To me, this is the most important factor. Don't quote me, but I believe the odds of either blind "waking up" with a wired hand is 17 to 1 against. Therefore, you have pretty good odds when deciding to "steal" the blinds. Also when it is folded to you in the SB, the odds of the BB having a pair are still 9 to 1 against. Yes he could have a hand like AK or AQ, but I think you can see that the odds are in your favor to attempt to steal. When it gets down to 3 or 4 people remaining, you must play power poker or go bust. At this point the blinds should be at 100/200 or more and your move to steal should be all in (75% of the time). Every 4th time, try raising 3 or 4x the BB.
Finally, what I think you were looking for was hand requirements when it comes to blind play. Frankly, I firmly believe that your hand no longer matters when it is blind v. blind. You often hear people saying that the cards don't matter in Poker, well I think this should mainly apply to blind vs. blind play in Hold'em. If you think the chip leader is constantly picking on your blind, you're probably right, but do not get offended by this. He is doing his job. This is not the time to decide to re-raise all in as you think he is making a play on your blind. If you stop looking at your 2 hole cards when deciding how to play the blinds, and start looking more to the situation, then you will see that blind play is mainly that, situational poker, and if you play it right, you will have less and less "dominated races".
wow, thanks so much for youre responses guys, this is great info. My issues come up in situations like this....I have A-10 or AJ, its folded to me in the SB, I raise and the big blind reraises. Or, Im in the BB, the SB limps, I raise with AJ, SB reraises...those are the situations where I just have trouble figuring out where I stand...
I think with those types of hands, and all other things being equal (i.e. no reads, stacks relatively equal, blinds not too much of a % of your stack) your better off folding to a re-raise. Unless the player is very loose, there aren't many hands that you are ahead of when re-raised. More often than not you will be dominated and facing a hand like AK or AQ. I think that your beginning to realize this, hence the reason for the post. GL
JV has a heads up strategy section in UB's play strategy section which is a great read
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