Poker is a hugely popular game for several reasons. First, it is relatively simple to learn the basics of the game. Second, poker is accessible to players of all skill levels, from beginner to expert, because of its strategic depth. Third, poker is a very social game. It allows players to interact with one another and form connections. Fourth, poker is an excellent way to test one’s skills at bluffing and deception. Players who mislead their opponents and make savvy decisions often come out on top. Finally, poker is just plain fun. It is an exciting game that can provide hours of entertainment and a tense spectator sport. Betting rounds can be intense and thrilling since you never know what cards your opponents may have. For all these reasons, it is no wonder that poker is one of the most popular games in the world.
As with any complex game, poker can be daunting for beginners. There are many strategic options to consider at any given moment, and it can be easy to make costly mistakes. However, the key to success is identifying mistakes and learning from them. By taking the time to analyze your play, you can quickly improve your understanding of the game and make more informed decisions. Many beginners often make the same mistakes, which is a great place to start. You get a sizable advantage over your opponents by learning about these mistakes and stopping yourself from making them. Understanding why specific strategies are bad also helps you learn more about the game overall. This poker guide will cover one such mistake: Not defending your blinds. It will explain defending your blinds, how to do it properly, and why you should be doing it.
What are the blinds?
If you’re new to poker, you may wonder what the blinds even are. The blinds consist of the two positions directly to the button’s left, the big and the small blind. They are forced to pay bets at the start of the game, even before seeing their cards. The big blind pays the minimum bet size, while the small blind pays half of it. The blinds ensure that there is always money in the pot, discouraging players from playing super conservatively since everyone will eventually become one of the blinds.
Why does nobody like playing from the blinds?
Playing too many poker hands from the blinds is a mistake in and of itself. For various reasons, the blinds are the worst positions in poker, so many players just give up playing from them and fold if they don’t have a premium hand. While that is a mistake, it’s not entirely unfounded. The blinds are already forced to commit money to the pot, so you are already at a monetary disadvantage compared to the other players. The other weakness of the blinds is their positional disadvantage. Position is everything in poker, as acting after everyone else gives you much information to work with. While the blinds do act last pre-flop, they act first post-flop. They have almost no information to work with for three straight betting rounds, and everyone else can quickly react to their bets.
What is stealing and defending the blinds?
One of the most commonly used poker tactics is stealing the blinds. This involves making a big raise pre-flop to get everyone to fold and win the pot outright. While doing that means nobody will be able to bet, you still manage to collect the blinds’ forced bets. Repeatedly doing this can ensure a steady profit, and it takes advantage of most players’ reluctance to play from the blinds. This is especially effective in tournament settings where the blinds increase drastically, giving you more incentive to steal them.
Defending your blinds is the counter strategy to a steal attempt and is very simple. You simply call their raise instead of folding, and you have successfully defended your blind. However, proper blind defense is not that simple. You must consider numerous things, and you should not defend your blinds at every chance. You might get stuck in a tricky situation post-flop, playing from out of position and without a good hand just because you felt the need to defend your blind and commit to the hand. Still, defending your blinds is worth learning because otherwise, you will slowly bleed money every time you play from the blinds, ruining your profits.
Defending your blinds tip: Consider your opponent’s range
When defending your blinds, you need to consider your opponent’s range, which is the set of possible hands they could have. Factors like how tight or loose they are, and their position can affect their range. If you’re up against a tight player, they will likely have a smaller but stronger range since they only stick to premium hands. If you’re against a loose player, they will play more hands, even mediocre ones, so they will likely have a broader and weaker range. The same goes for position, as players in early position can only afford to play solid hands since they are at a disadvantage, while players in late position have more freedom to play what they want. You will want to defend your blinds more often against loose players, as they are less likely to have a strong hand when trying to steal.
Where to play online poker
Remember always to protect your blinds – it could be the difference between winning and losing in poker. And if you’re looking for a place to put those skills into practice, sign up today with GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. With free tracking software and a wide variety of poker games, you are sure to improve at online poker by playing there.