The small blind is a tricky position to play. You’re wet for a half bet, and you almost always see a favorable odds.
The problem is also that you are out of position. So do the pros outweigh the cons? Or is this half-price blind just another way to lose money?
The small blind is a double-edged sword – you’re in for half a regular bet, but you’re also guaranteed to play the rest of the hand out of position.
Many players believe that the pot odds outweigh this positional disadvantage, and choose to top up with any two cards dealt to them.
These are the same players who bleed money when their hand flops something weak and they still take it to the showdown.
Pot odds are both a gift and a curse; playing minds like to take bets when the odds are in their favor, but calling too wide from the small blind can be a substantial loophole.
In un-raised pots with multiple limpers, you will often be left with overwhelming pot odds for your call, but in reality this is just a fly-trap situation.
While the odds can be good, more often than not you will find yourself in tricky post-flop situations with marginal hands.
In fact, you should hardly ever complete the small blind as often as you might initially think.
Before deciding whether or not to take advantage of these alluring pot odds, ask yourself what types of hands produce good in multiway (multiplayer) pots. Your goal is to make “big pot” hands, straights and flushes.
Pot odds don’t turn ugly hands into gold. If your hand is trash against one player, it will always be trash against multiple players.
Weak hands produce dominated hands
The problem with completing too wide in the small blind is that it will often leave you out of position, with no clue as to where you are.
Initially you may think that completing with J ♣ 4 ♣ is OK because you have 4.5 to 1 odds and you are suited, but in reality you are not going to hit that color as often as you imagine (only 6 , 4% of the time).
Most of the time you will either miss completely or make a pair with one of your cards, in the process making a weak hand to a pair.
Weak pairs are a new player’s worst nightmare. These are reverse implied odds hands: while your hand may be good right now, if you want to make sure it can end up costing you quite a bit of money.
Heads-Up, the very end of a poker tournament
If you get there, don’t produce dominated hands!
Even good pot odds cannot make weak hands profitable. You are going to flush very rarely, and the rest of the time you will either miss out or find yourself in a tricky reverse implied odds situation!
Pot odds are not nirvana; they cannot turn your lead into gold. A trash can remains a trash can; playing it out of position will simply cost you money.
Be yourself in the small blind
The types of hands you can profitably complete with are not much different from the normal list of good hands.
Just keep in mind to prefer hands that are good in the family pot and have “big pot potential”, and avoid those boring, potentially dominated hands, as they will only cost you money.
Creating the exact range of cards that should be played in addition to the blind is a difficult task. This can vary from game to game and depend on the tendencies of other players at the table.
If your opponents are wide-passive and bad, you can liberally complete a lot more often because you will rarely be faced with difficult post-flop decisions. Likewise, if you happen to hit your hand, this type of opponent is more likely to call you.
A very large pot won in poker
You want hands that have “big pot potential”. However, if your opponents are decent tight-aggressive players, you should aim to complete with a much tighter range, as you are more likely to be in a complex situation after the flop, and when you hit your hand. tight players are less likely to pay you.
The hands that are worth completing in the small blind are hands that are not sufficient.
strong enough to warrant a raise for value out of position, but still have some value to see the flop. Something like: A-T, A-xs, K-Q, K-Js-K-9s, JT-89 matched or not, 45s +, and 57s +.
Of course, this fan is not set in stone; the more players there are in the pot, the larger it may be to supplement. Just don’t go crazy, keep your goal in mind. You want to make big pot hands, not potentially dominated hands.
The tip on the small blind
If you treat the small blind just like any other position with just better pot odds then you shouldn’t have a problem. It may seem that with such good odds you can’t go wrong, but the reverse is true.
Completing too often with weak dominated hands and believing that your pot odds can outweigh your positional disadvantage is a real loophole, one that far too many players have.
The small blind is a position that will always prove to be a losing money position in the long run; it is just a part of the game. But if you keep in mind what makes the top up to the blind profitable, you will lessen the effect it will have on your win rate and make you a better player in general.