How To Play Poker From The Blinds in Cash Games

The blinds will always be a money loser for you. Nobody makes money from the small blind or the big blind in the long run. That’s the curse of a forced bet. But there are some things you can do to stem your losses blinds. Here are some tips to help you.

Tighten Up
When you start in the blinds, you’ll play the rest of the hand out of position. You need to play strong poker hands preflop to avoid losing money to later position players who use their position to apply pressure.

One of the biggest mistakes players make is to complete their small blind with all kinds of trash. It doesn’t matter how cheap you can see a flop, a hand like 8-2 off suit will always be trash. Fold your marginal hands when you’re in the blinds. Even if you hit a dream flop, it will be hard to extract from your opponents when you’re out of position. Save speculative hands for late position.

Raise Your Premium Hands
There’s a temptation to check or complete with your high pocket pairs when you’re in the blinds, but slow playing out of position can be disastrous. There’s a good chance that a late position player limped with a speculative hand and if that hand connected with the flop, you could lose a lot of money.

A nice raise from the blinds screams that you have a big hand and will chase out most speculative holdings giving you a good idea of where you stand post-flop.

Play More Aggressively Post-Flop
Late position players prey on the weakness early position players show. You can exploit this fact a couple of ways.

First, you could choose to show strength from the beginning. The advantage of making your strength transparent is that it helps you to know where you are in the hand. If an opponent starts showing aggression, you know their hand is strong too.

The other way you could play is to pretend to be weak to induce a late position bluff. This move will win you several smallish pots, but could lose you the occasional big pot when it turns out your opponent wasn’t bluffing.

Don’t Get Into Stealing Wars
Blind stealing is popular in tournaments when the blinds are high, but the benefits of stealing in low limit games are minimal. There’s little benefit in fighting back. In fact, I’ll frequently raise my strong hands on the button when it’s only me verses the blinds hoping that an overaggressive player will re-raise me with a weaker holding. But don’t take this tip to the extreme. If someone is constantly hammering your blinds, you need to fight back when the time is right.

* * *

Playing from the blinds is hard. You’re always first to act and late position players are constantly trying to outplay you. Err on the side of caution and you’ll save a lot of money in this difficult poker table position.