Defending Blinds Doesn’t Mean A Blind Defense

Posted January 16, 2013 by Andrew in Tips

Regardless of how tight a player you are, in poker you are forced to put money in the middle twice every orbit (if we’re talking about community card games, but there are compulsory bets in each and every poker variant regardless of its exact rules). It is therefore quite natural that dropping your compulsory bets will create a massive hole in your game. This is why it’s important to develop a strategy to defend your blinds. Defending your blinds is by no means an exact science, and chances are that you will lose money on your blinds regardless of how well put together your blinds defending strategy approach is. The point here however is to save at least some money, to exercise damage control, thus minimizing your overall leaks.

How exactly do you defend your blinds? By calling a pre-flop raise from one of the blinds of course. Because the defense of the blinds is more of a damage control kind of activity than one directly aimed at generating profits, the most important goal in one’s mind should be not to lose more money than he or she would by folding.

The most important thing about blinds defense is to know when to dig in your heels and when to yield. In order to be able to do that, you need to understand a host of more or less advanced poker concepts like the pot odds, your opponents’ raising frequency, and the levels of pre-flop and post-flop aggression involved.

The proper defense of the blinds is important in both cash games and poker tournaments. In cash games, the blinds represent a small but steady leak for players unable to properly handle this aspect of the game. In tournaments, the defense of the blinds can have a much bigger significance. Players who master this strategy aspect will be able to win far more SNGs and even MTT’s. In tournament poker, one’s stack is one’s lifeblood, and the defense of the blinds is a measure directly aimed at preserving this lifeblood.

How does one successfully defend his/her blinds though? The first step is to let go of the idea that the compulsory bets represents an investment in the pot on your part. The big and the small blind are the two worst positions at the table. Regardless of how great a poker player you are, if you were to constantly play from these positions, you would still end up losing money. In fact, the biggest mistake that beginners commit in regards to blinds defense is that they try too hard, shoving too many chips into the pot from the worst possible position at the table. The factor that confuses most beginners is tied to the pot odds. While it is indeed true that the compulsory bets improve one’s pot odds, they do not improve them to the point of making the calling of a wide range of pre-flop raises justified.

Beginners should take a fit or fold approach to blinds defense. They should only commit additional chips when armed with potential monsters like high pocket pairs or pocket hands like A,K or A,Q. The rest of the time, they should just let it go.

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About the Author


Andrew Keyes is a poker enthusiast, a writer, researcher, speaker, and consultant. You can visit to get poker articles along with winning poker tips, tested poker strategies, the latest poker news, free poker tools, cool poker resources, and more! Visit today and you can download some of the best poker bots for automating your poker play!