Poker would be a boring game if it weren't for blinds, but what are they? Today we will give you a heads up on Poker blinds and why they are important.
Poker blinds are mandatory bets that help drive the game forward. You need to maintain a stack to place these bets when your turn comes, and if you don't, you'll have to leave the game. Blinds in Poker don't need to be confusing, so we'll explain as much as possible to understand better the next time you hit the tables.
Blinds in Poker work differently and can change in value depending on the host. You can learn all of this today, and we'll talk you through some blind Poker strategies that could help you gain the upper hand. In addition, for other relevant gambling strategies and information, check out our casino blog.
What Are Blinds In Poker?
A game of Poker can be found in hundreds of online casinos, but what are Poker blinds? Poker blinds are mandatory wagers. They are placed before any cards are dealt, hence the name "blind". They play a massive role in a game of Poker and are paid by players who occupy the "small blind" and "big blind" positions. These are both positions that are to the left of the dealer button.
If Poker blinds did not exist, the game would not work because everyone would be waiting for the pocket aces and quickly get bored.
How Do Poker Blinds Work?
The "small blind" and "big blind" are named after table positions. Table positions in a game of Poker change all the time; this means that after every hand, the position changes, so each player will play both blinds once per orbit.
Poker can be a complex game and take a while to get used to. It would be worth checking out more Poker terms to help give you a better understanding of the game.
The Big Blind And The Small Blind
There is a difference between a small blind and a big blind, but generally, they both refer to the amount players occupying these positions must bet (also known as a forced bet).
A big blind would usually be the same amount as the table's minimum bet, and then the small blind would be half the size of that bet. However, there could be a scenario where both blinds will be the same amount, but in rare cases only.
It is possible to have an ante bet which differs from the blinds as every player at the table must pay them.
How Are Blinds Determined in Poker?
Typically, the host of the game will decide how to determine blinds in Poker. The size of the blind would usually follow the structure we posted above. A big blind is twice the value of a small blind.
However, since it is the host's decision, they could choose to change the structure and pick different values. The structure of the blinds is essential to the game and can help you decide your strategy over a long period.
What Is The Poker Dealer Button?
The button is a position at the table, and it gets the advantage of acting last in all post-flop betting rounds. The button will often be labelled "button" or "dealer". A round disk will identify the player in the button position.
The order of blinds in Poker rotates around the table, shifting one player clockwise after each hand. The button does the same thing. It moves one position to the right of the small blind every time.
What Is A Poker Ante and How Does It Work?
We touched on a Poker ante earlier, another forced bet similar to the big blind and small blind. However, there is a big difference.
Every player plays a poker ante. Everyone at the table must pay the bet, unlike the big and small blinds where only the player in a specific position pays.
You would usually find a Poker ante in a draw, and stud variations of Poker and Texas Hold 'em antes are common in tournaments. When an ante bet is present, all players place a bet into the pot before the game begins as it encourages action.
Cash Game Blinds Vs Tournament Blinds
If you use Poker blinds in tournaments, they work much the same way as cash games. However, you'll soon learn the one key difference between the pair. In tournaments, they are usually used in the later stages and increase after some time.
It is vital to maintain your chip stack; you need to keep this topped up; otherwise, you won't be able to afford the blinds, and you'll be knocked out of the game. We have another blog that looks at different types of Poker if you'd like more information.
Strategies for Poker Blinds
Blinds in Poker are necessary but how you play your blinds depends on how much you'll win! There are specific strategies you can use to give you the upper hand. These types of games are often about the strategy you use, so check out our Poker guide if you're a beginner.
Let's take a look at some strategies you can use for Poker blinds:
Take More from Small Blinds
Technically, there is dead money in the pot which you can win if you play your strategy right. You can balance out the losses you make from the small blinds if you win the money from the pot.
If you are attempting to steal from the small blind, it is advised that you use a larger bet to help fight off your opponent. If your bet is too small, the big blind has an incentive to call. Otherwise, you're giving them a wide opening range.
Defend Your Big Blind
Big blinds in Poker will naturally make some players fold due to the price of the bet; your strategy should be not to fold! You need to be prepared to fight for the pot; folding is not always the way to do it. However, that's not to say you should never fold. If you fight too much, you'll burn yourself out. Knowing when to defend and when to fold is key.
The price you get on a call means you could defend a wide range of hands from the big blind, hands that have less equity than you'd need if you were calling from a different position. It may be a good idea to look up a Poker blinds chart for more information.
Keep Your Eye on the Big Blind Player
We've discussed placing the big blind, but you also need to keep a close eye on the player in this position. You may need to adjust your strategy if you have a good, aggressive player to your left.
If they are constantly floating and 3-betting, you'll struggle to find marginal or speculative hands. Watch out for these tendencies; if you need to change your strategy to counteract their bets, do it!
An aggressive player who is defending by 3-betting or 4-betting means you should narrow your ranges but, in contrast, widen your ranges to win the pot if the big blind player is being tight.
Poker blinds explained the right way need not be too complicated. The more you play, the more you'll get the hang of it, and it often comes down to the strategy that can help you become a better player.
The most important thing to remember is to place the right bet into the pot when you are in a small blind or a big blind position. Keeping an ever-increasing stack is also essential so you don't go out of the game.
Having to place mandatory bets may not sound like the ideal play, but without these forced bets, Poker would be a very dull game!