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Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Blind vs Blind Battles

264 Views Comments 3 weeks ago

Blind vs blind has an interesting dynamic where both seats have totally different strategies

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Blind versus blind play is as exciting as it gets. Super wide ranges and a chance to play some heads up poker with the guy sitting next to you that you’ve probably been fighting with all of the session.

You can fuse psychology with an aggressive strategy and be confident that your skills are what really count in this situation. ABC boring play is going to get stamped on quickly. 

Blind vs blind has an interesting dynamic where both seats have totally different strategies. The key is down to position, and this is a point that many beginners struggle with, leaking many chips in the process.

  • Position: - Understanding position is the most important part of building a profitable blind vs blind strategy. 

For those who are new to poker, the game is built around incomplete information. Players use every piece of information they have to build a decision making process. 

If, by virtue of your seat, you are forced to act first on every street then your opponent has the information from whatever decision you make. This is a huge advantage for your opponent.

On the other hand you are forced to act first completely blind of your opponent’s intentions. A huge disadvantage.

For this reason, you must play a tight, more concervative strategy when in the small blind unless you have reads on your opponent in the big blind that encourages looser play.


Playing as the Pre Flop Raiser

The one advantage you have with small blinds is that you get to take the initiative by open raising. Having the initiative is a powerful tool that although can be countered by your opponent three-betting still takes control of the hand.

The first decision you have to take is do you play a raise only strategy or a more advanced limp/raise mixed strategy.

The raise only strategy is simpler and more advisable for beginners but the mixed strategy allows you to play more hands and is preferable if you know you are a stronger player than the big blind.

Continuation betting strategy also offers plenty of scope to outplay your opponent. Firstly, you don’t have to bet with all of your decent hands. A strategy whereby you check some of your weaker pairs and weaker draws will give you enough good hands that your opponent will not try to run you over every time you don’t bet.

One of the first reads you must try to get on your opponent - and this doesn’t have to come from hands you played together - is how they react to float bets.

A float bet is new terminology for a bet by the player in position when the out of position player checks. In years gone by floating was the term for calling a continuation bet with air just to see how your opponent continues.

If your opponent stabs a lot then you can go for a check raise more frequently with your monsters. You can even consider check raise bluffing air as their range will be full of air too.


Playing as the Pre Flop Caller

You should defend a wide range against a small blind open raise to utilise your positional advantage. Something around 40-55% depending on the raise size is ideal.

Against a min raise there is nothing wrong with defending 100% of your range, but don’t be afraid to fold the very weakest trash. You’re not going to be missing out on that much profit.

When deciding on a three-betting range, understand that a merged range is now known to be best in 2020. The days of three-betting speculative hands is over as a default strategy. 

We now know that you gain more profit by raising with strong high equity hands, even if there is a risk of being forced to fold to a four-bet. Hands which play well as a call or three-bet can be tailored to your opponent’s tendencies. If they four-bet a lot then just call those hands, but still three-bet aggressively.

Post flop is where you will enjoy your positional advantage the most. You don’t have to continue with trash but calling even good backdoor potential is a winning strategy.

As far as raising goes, don’t slowplay without good reason. Just feeling like it isn’t a valid reason, you simply miss out on too much profit by not trying to get the chips in.

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Mark Patrickson

Mark Patrickson is a professional cash game player grinding stakes up to 100nl 6 Max NL Hold'em13 years experience of poker, across MTT SnG and cash, FL PL NL.Currently living in South East Asia and trying to make it back to mid-stakes before the end of 2019.

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