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Win More Money By Attacking the Blinds
Everyone knows that the two worst positions at the table in poker are the small and big blind. Every player loses money in the long run when they are in the blinds, no matter how good they are. This makes attacking the blinds an enticing proposition. Are you attacking the blinds enough?
Poker players come in all shapes and sizes and have different mentalities. There are players who defend their blinds too much. Others do not defend them enough. Doing either of these is a mistake and are the type of player you should target when attacking the blinds.
Attacking the blinds: Who to target
Realistically, almost any player is worth attacking in the blinds. Positional advantage trumps skill advantage, especially in the short term. As a result, feel free to attack anyone when they are in the blinds because it is like printing money.
While this is true, try to make your decisions simpler and life easier by targetting two specific players. You want to battle with players who defend their blinds too much or too little. Then you need to know how they play postflop. Players who play passively after the flop are prime candidates for having their blinds attacked. You can still attack the aggressive players, although they often make matters tricky.
Which cards to use when attacking the blinds
The phrase “any two will do” is one you can commit to memory because it works when attacking the blinds. Against a player who defends their blinds liberally but then check-folds to aggression on the flop you can profitably raise basically any two cards.
You should tighten your range slightly against players who defend their blinds and play better after the flop. Your range should contain any pair, any ace, any king, most queens, suited and unsuited connectors, and one-gapped suited and unsuited connectors. That is a lot of hands.
How much should you raise?
A raise of three to four times the big blind was the standard for many years. Most players raise smaller amounts in both cash games and tournaments these days. Raising first from the cutoff or button can be done with a min-raise. Raise a little more if antes are in play. For example, a raise to 400 is suffice if the blinds are 100/200. If the blinds are 100/200/25a, meaning there is 525 in the pot when I folds to you on the button, raising to 500 or 525 is a good amount.
Sure, this gives those you are attacking in the blinds superb odds to call and see a flop. But, you have positional advantage throughout the hand and that more than makes up for it. Furthermore, you are only attacking players who are ideal to be stolen from. It is a win-win scenario.
How often should I steal the blinds?
How long is a piece of string? It depends on how often you get away with stealing the blinds from your opponents. Attack them relentlessly if they continually fold to aggression because you are helping yourself to free chips.
It is a good idea not to overdo your blind stealing because even the weakest player will realise what you are up to and start laying traps for you. There are few things as frustrating as handing over a huge stack of chips to a slowplayed pocket aces.
What adjustments to make when attacking the blinds
Try keeping the size of your raises the same size regardless of your hand strength. Doing this helps disguise your holding. Your opponents cannot decipher if you have pocket aces or six-four offsuit if you raise the same amount each time. The value you miss from min-raising a monster hand is made up from getting free chips with weak hands.
One adjustment you can consider is if you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Consider tightening your range if you have shown a weak hand at showdown. Conversely, this could also be an opportunity to raise again because your opponents will not believe you have raised with junk again. Isn’t poker great?
Also, consider upping the aggression instead of backing off if the blinds start three-betting your steals. Do not overdo this, but the occasional four-bet bluff can help claw in some nice pots without showdown. Of course, you should four-bet your value hands too if you are re-raised preflop.
Attacking the blinds is something you should do whenever the situation is correct. Poker tournament players steal the blinds frequently to keep ahead of the continually increasing cost per round. Pick your targets carefully then help yourself to their forced bets.