Low Limit DewaPoker Strategy – Defending the Blinds Č It’s a common scenario in low limit poker: you’re in one of the blinds, and everyone folds until a player in late position raises. Sometimes the raiser has a good hand, but often they’re just trying to steal the blinds by having the small and big blind fold and win the pot right there. It can happen a lot, especially at a tight table, and if you fold to blind steals with all but your monster hands you’ll be losing more money than you should.
When you defend your blinds against late position raisers, you’re giving yourself a 2nd opportunity to win the pot. The raiser can be a maniac, but they’re not always maniacs. Desperate or over-confident players will occasionally try to bully you into a call with a 72 off-suit on the button, or 5-7 off-suit on the cutoff. It’s best to fight them at their own game, but circumstances like these do occur, and you don’t want to be caught in the middle of a messy hand between opponents!
beckoning a raise with your hand pre-flop is an easy way to end up in a hand you shouldn’t be involved in. For example, if the raiser and some other player both flat call the raise and the flop comes J16, you should probably fold AJ. Flat calling a raise with hands like AK or AQ is going to get you into trouble against a loose, aggressive player. The flop will probably lose to any kind of draws, and if you raised there, a caller probably didn’t hit any kind of a hand.
The second thing you want to pay attention to in the small blind is how the big blind has played previously. If he’s played super tight, calling raises and check raises, he should’ve been re-raised pre-flop. When he raises pre-flop, you should probably fold AJ untilyou’re being raised.
Therefore, if you have a hand of value, you want to either stay in the hand (with your hand at this point pretty much determining that he has nothing so you want to stay in), or make a half-pot bet and wait for either a 75%-80% hand, or a draw that will probably win the pot. Obviously, draws are stronger with an ace, king, queen, and an Ace, but you can also make some hands, like QQ, JJ, and AT, as Stand Em hands.
You don’t want to make a bad call in a limit game when there are two possible draws. There’s a chance he has a better hand than you, so don’t risk your chips unless you’re getting great value out of the hand. Being in early position with a medium hand leads to a lot of difficult decisions. Should you call another early position raise, or stay in with a late position hand?
To see a cheap flop with a medium hand you’ll need to consider how the early and middle position players played. If they folded or checked to you, you should probably stick around, as a lot of hands that cheap would be hands that would win money in a heads up pot, but aren’t quite as strong as your hand. Hands like A3, A4, KJ, K4, even K5 are playable from the small blind, as they’re not nearly as strong as many of the top hands.
For a more practical example, you’re in the small blind, and an early position player bets here. You call from the big blind. The flop, 2h9hT, is mostly probably not a good hand for either of you, but the early position player probably has a piece that he wants to protect. If your opponent had a hand like AT, he would be mad to bet in this situation! A better move might be to flat call, which is just calling with hands that are almost playable. This move will keep you in control of the hand, and won’t let your opponent control the action.
One of the dangers of semi-bluffing is that your opponent may also be semi-bluffing. If you’re chasing a flush, or a straight, and you have a hand, it’s not a bad idea to check, if the options you face are forcing you to do so. (Which is also the case if you’re chasing a draw, or a straight.)
Another danger is that a strong hand may be Surveying the Rounders or Semi-Bluffing himself. If he sees that you’re working from middle position with a medium hand, he may choose to fall behind, or create a dangerous hand for himself.