Stealing blinds is one of the most important arts you can learn. Not only does it get you easy chips, it is imperative if you want to achieve any sort of success in poker tournaments. This article will teach you all that you need to know to become a master thief in poker in an online poker game. Let’s begin by defining what stealing a blind is.
Stealing blinds refers to making a significant raise before the flop to push both blinds to fold, so that you can win the blinds and antes. Seems straightforward, right? Well, we wouldn’t call it an ‘art’ if it were this simple!
Why Should You Steal Blinds?
If you want to maximize your equity, especially in poker tournaments, it is essential that you steal as many blinds as possible. It is a great way of adding to your stack without having to risk much. In poker tournaments, the blinds increase consistently. Therefore, it is essential that you aim to steal as many blinds as possible.
Now, this does not mean you try to steal all blinds blindly (pun intended). Many players, even the good ones, sometimes make raises that serve no real purpose. There’s a difference in raising with a suited K-J than raising with a 9-4 offsuit. You could make a value bet first in an online poker game, i.e., you could have the4 best hand or a hand that becomes powerful after the flop. If you raise on a 9-4 offsuit, then you’re plainly making a bluff.
Blind stealing has gained popularity over the past few years, and there is plenty of reading material out there to recommend hand ranges for making a blind steal. The crux of all the tips is that if you are making a raise to steal blinds, your chances of winning are higher if you do it with a hand that has some value.
The Right Amount to Bet
The idea behind making a blind-stealing raise in an online poker game is to win the pot without any contention. You should not raise a chip more than what is required, and not so low that it does not intimidate other players enough into folding. As a general rule of thumb, three times the big blind is considered the sweet spot. In tournaments, however, you can get away with raising twice the big blind amount as blinds keep increasing and people adopt a push-or-fold mindset.
Keep your bets standardised. Suddenly raising too high when you are stealing or too low when you have a good hand will make your moves predictable. Experienced players can manipulate their opponents by deviating from the standard bet, but for a beginner, the best strategy is to keep your raises consistent.
The rule to follow for blind stealing is that the later you are when action is folded to you, the more you should try to steal the blinds. The cutoff and button are the best position to do this. In recent years, this has become common knowledge, especially in poker tournaments. This has resulted in players defending their blinds more liberally and also ‘play back’ at you with greater range of holding and as often as a straight bluff.
You should not try to steal blinds every time the action is folded around you, though. Some other factors to consider are your stack holdings, the calibre of players in the blinds, and also your reputation amongst the players.
Stealing blinds is also possible from mid and early positions, too. During big poker tournaments, on the bubble, or when the blinds are too big, players may be playing a tight game. This is the perfect time to steal blinds from an early position, especially if you have a reputation of not making such a play. If you are playing against experienced players, stealing blinds from an early position may be more effective.
Play the Mind Games!
Though your cards and amount you raise are important, the most important factor to consider is the temperament of your opponents. If there are tight-passive players behind you and in the blinds, your chances of stealing blinds will increase. However, if you are playing with aggressive players and those who would defend their blinds, your chances of stealing will diminish. Keep an eye on the player at the big blind, as they are most likely to call your raise due to the reduced price they have to pay to enter the pot.
Another factor to consider is stack sizes. Trying to steal blinds against big-stacked players is difficult as they are more likely to call your raise and push you to go all-in. Small stacked players are also an issue as they are more likely to go all-in, and push you into a laydown. Your best chance to steal blinds is against players with medium stacks. Use these tips to steal blinds in Octro Poker by downloading the poker app.