I am about to reveal the most powerful tool in your poker arsenal. It is a play that, if used correctly and with proper timing, can make you a few bb’s a night that would have gone to someone else’s stack. Just like all tools, position is the most important rule to keep while using this tool and it particular works well in the blinds.
Got your pencil and paper ready? Here it is: Bet. I know obvious right? So many times, lately, I have seen someone limp and check down and some one hit an “x” card on river to win. Then you hear “That hand never wins for me”.
I have paid special attention to some details lately thanks to The Poker Tracker Guide (Get It!) and a comment from Harrington’s book that says pay attention to the perception of the table you are playing at AND the perception the table may have on you. Now, I use Poker Tracker and Gametime+ to help with my perception of the table but honestly have not given the tables perception of me much thought. I am a tight player, weak/tight at times and working on being more aggressive. So with this perception, hopefully, being projected, why not take advantage of it.
Yes, Harrington’s book is NL but I think this principle carry’s over to limit also. If you are playing at the 50+% seeing the flop tables and you couldn’t get someone to fold if you show them your cards, this will probably not work for you. As a matter of fact, betting works better against solid players capable of laying down a hand or a draw. I usually look for a solid player or two before I sit down, but table dynamics is another post all together.
As I alluded to earlier, position plays a big part in the success of a timely bet. I set out to improve my blind winning percentage by a few points or so. So I made a conscious decision to be more aggressive post flop from the blind. So during a session, if I played the blinds in a normal situation (I didn’t go out and try to play every blind) I bet out on the flop, no matter what. I was prepared to abandon this “experiment” if I was losing a lot of money and also folded to any resistant (raises) if I had missed all together. A few times when I bet out from BB and SB, it was folded around. That was the most suprising, to me, results of the experiment. The majority of the other times the bet put me heads up which made the betting on turn and river easier, if I went that far. Then a few times the fold was easy and no doubt I was beat. The blinds are –EV still but not nearly as bad as before.
I ended this experiment early because a couple players caught on to what I was doing, one even slyly commented in the chat one time. (I have played with him some before). I learned something though. I used to only semi-bluff out of the blinds, I either had a hand, a good draw or a piece of it and a good read on my opponent. Now I am going to use a trigger (if both cards are red for example) to decide when I bet out the blinds no matter what.
Like all things, over use can be bad. Even the slightly less astute players will figure out you can’t have a hand in the blind EVERYTIME. The blinds don’t have to be a huge money pit either. According to the Poker Tracker Guide my blind play was on the lower end of the “acceptable” levels, so this is one weak spot that has been reinforced. Now on to the others! (I tend to like AA and KK - A LOT!)
Till Next Time!