How To: Play In The Blinds In No-Limit

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

I had a great Christmas, and enjoyed taking a break from poker to spend time with family and friends.

I’m ready to get back to the tables, though. :-)

Playing In The Blinds: Comparison

In Limit, it is difficult to over-defend your big blind. Against a single raise we are typically getting 4:1 (or better) to see a flop.

If we fold, we lose .5BBs immediately. So, making the call only needs to result in us losing .49BBs or less and we have a profitable hand.

No Limit is very different, however. A typical raise is 3 times the big blind, so we are getting 3:1 on our money instead.

However, postflop is where the problem comes in. Most of the times we will miss, and against an aggressive opponent it will be difficult to show-down medium-strength hands cheaply.

Because of the huge disadvantage of being out of position in NL, we are forced to fold many hands that we would otherwise want to play.

Note that when the SB raises and we are in the BB we can call all these hands, things like Axs and JTo that play poorly OOP play well in position.

OOP we typically want hands that flop well, and can hold up to some heat. Pairs 66+, AJs+, AQo+, KQ is a decent range for calling heads-up OOP.

Against a passive / bad player we can call more hands, since he will give us cheap cards and pay off well. Hands like A9s-ATs, ATo+, KJs, PPs 22-55, and some stronger SCs like JTs become playable.

Fighting Back

There will be aggressive players at your tables who try to steal the blinds too often. How do we fight back?

The answer: Preflop Reraises.

Someone who is opening 30-40% of the time from the button very rarely has a strong hand. They don’t mind being called, however, since they have the advantage of position after the flop.

Reraising a range of JJ+, AQo+, and occasionally some “creative” stuff like JTs, 65o, etc, will make him think twice about stealing your blind.

Be Confident

It’s easy to over-defend your blinds in NL, since we put so much at risk both preflop and postflop, that it is usually correct to just fold when OOP.

However, making sure to fight back against aggressive players with liberal preflop reraises, coupled with tight starting standards, will make you a tough blind to steal.

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