How to Play from The Big Blind
The blinds in poker are an ante bet, which forces players to participate in the game and encourages them to enter the pot and play their hand. Without an ante, the game would be far less interesting, as most players would opt to fold unless they had a very strong hand. In poker, there are two ante bets, the big blind and the small blind. These move around the table over the course of a game, starting on the dealer’s left-hand side and moving clockwise so that every player must post the blind.
It’s important to note that blinds change your strategy and affect your decision-making process. The big blind, being the larger of the two ante bets; is often considered the most important position in the game. The reason for that is that you’ll see the most flops from the big blind. It’s a difficult position to play from as it’s very early, which puts you at a disadvantage. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t win a poker hand while playing from the big blind.
Overall Big Blind Strategy
When you’re in the big blind position or any blind position, you want to play as tight as possible. Despite the fact that you’re already in the pot and can’t fold for free pre-flop; you’ll still want to be cautious about proceeding. The main reason for this is that you’re in one of the earliest positions in the game. Only the small blind is earlier, so you’re at a disadvantage compared to your opponents.
You don’t want to play loose when in the blind positions; and although you’ve already posted the big blind, don’t be afraid to fold if someone raises. Ideally, you want to focus on playing only decent hands such as good aces, pairs; and a few of the better-suited connectors. Although it’s easy to get pulled in by sunk cost fallacy, you should sweat over losing your big blind when you fold.
You’ll have more than enough chances to steal blinds back later in the game; so focus on not losing too much and keeping your play tight when in the big blind position. It’s rare to win from the blind positions, so play cautiously. Consider whether your opponent has raised, their stack size, your hand strength, and how many opponents are in the pot before you proceed.
Calculating Big Blind Pot Odds
Before you make a decision in poker, calculating the pot odds should be the first thing you do. You always want to consider whether you’re making a positive expected value decision or not. The pot odds tell you what chance of winning you need in order for your call to be worth it. For example, if you have to call $5 to win a pot of $10, you’ll need odds higher than 33.3% for it to be a positive expected value decision.
Opponents Hand Range
You need to know your opponent’s hand ranges when playing. This is a range of potential hands that your opponent could have. If your opponent raises post-flop from an early position, for example, you can assume they have a strong hand range. Based on which cards came out on the flop, you can make assumptions about their possible hand ranges. You’ll need to play much tighter against a strong hand, but you have a much better chance against weaker hand ranges.
Equity realization is a more advanced poker concept but one that’s important for playing from the big blind. This is the percentage of the pot a hand can expect to win based on its equity and the post-flop variables in play. Some hands are much weaker than others post-flop and therefore realize less than their equity.