Low Limit Poker Strategy – Defending the Blinds

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 everyone fold before the flop. 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 low level players, you set yourself up for a situation where you could lose a lot of money if your opponents hold cards better than you’re cards. Often, players will try to steal the blinds from the cut-off and small blind, so you’ll have people playing for both blind positions. This makes it harder to get paid off with hands better than your cards, so you’ll find less value bets to play.

In QQdewa, the best rule to follow is to not defend or respond to blind steals unless you have a strong hand, your opponents don’t bet enough pre-flop to make it worth while in most cases, and it will help you determine your opponents likelihood of holding better hands than you’re holding.

The situation at hand is all about assessing your opponents’ likelihood of holding better hands than you. If you’re more likely to be getting paid off with stronger hands, you’ll be giving yourself preferable pot odds to call the bet, whereas if you’re less inclined to be getting paid right away, you’ll be giving yourself better pot odds to call the bet. Also, don’t let your opposition put you on AK or AQ, better hands that are more likely to connect for you, since in the latter case you only make a small bet, and in the former case, you bet a large amount.

Also, AK and AQ are good hands pre-flop, but post-flop they become very vulnerable to over cards, or draws out – something that’s more likely to happen if there are 2 or 3 players in the pot. That means if you raise with AK and there’s an ace or king on the flop, you’re only likely winning the blinds if you hold at least a pair. So in a situation where you really aren’t going to win much money from a pot, a raise of 2.5x the big blind usually represents a larger bet than a bet of 1.5x the big blind.

When you have a better hand, you should bet out in small increments. For example, you have KQ vs. UTG+1. If you bet 1/2, you’re giving yourself great odds to draw out for a small pot. In this example, even if UTG+1 has a better hand, a $10 bet against them is profitable for you. Make these small bets, and slowly build your stack by not risking it.

When you’re the one being drawn out, you can call the larger amount to see the flop if it doesn’t make sense to stay in the hand. For example, if the flop is amUn, you could probably get away with a call if you’re drawing out to a higher straight or flush, or you could probably get a call on the turn if you’re a bit more confident. However, against higher flops, you’re probably better off getting your money in when you have the best hand since you’ll have to bet a lot to draw out, whereas against a draw, you’ll often only have to bet a small amount.

When you’re the one being drawn out, you could get a bit more aggressive. Though you’re still best off putting in small bets to draw out, being drawn out a bit more will mean losing a bit less overall, so it’s a balance between your outlay and your drawing out.

Making hands is actually very easy. You only ever have one chance to make a hand, so if you get it and it’s better than the pot odds that the pot is offering, you should probably bet out. However, this doesn’t mean you should bet out of turn. Only rarely do you make a great hand, so when you get it, you should bet your best hands earned money. Most hands are won fairly quickly pre-flop, so you don’t need to save them for when they’re better.