Introduction to Blind Stealing
Have you ever noticed that when you are playing in a Texas Hold’Em tournament and when it rains, it pours? You’re not getting any cards to start with, you’ve lost a couple of hands with good starting cards or been rivered a time or two. And to top it off, every time it’s you’re turn for the blinds, someone always seems to be raising you. You just can’t get anything going and you feel like your getting stomped when you’re down.
Of course, there’s always some luck involved, but next time you’re in a tournament or watching a tournament, pay attention to the players that are raising pre-flop. They do not always have one of the top starting hands. Their raises are helping them achieve two simple goals. First, they are testing the rest of the players to see how they react to a raise. Second, and most importantly, they are trying to steal a few blinds at a low risk. Stealing blinds is a very important strategy that is commonly over-looked by average poker players.
When you selectively raise pre-flop between 3 and 4 times the blind, you are representing a strong hand. Whether you are acting first or just before the blinds, you are telling people, “I’m pretty confident in what I have. Do you want to take a chance with me?” More than half the time there is a pre-flop raise, everyone will fold. They don’t want to risk their chips and possibly their tournament life on an unknown chance in their hand when you’ve already alerted them your hand is good. So, everyone folds and you win a small and a big blind. It doesn’t seem like much, but what you’ve just done is very important.
By stealing a few blinds throughout the early stages of a tournament, you’ve put yourself in position to play for free. Folding your blinds doesn’t hurt you after stealing a few because you’re using someone else’s chips. This is a HUGE advantage when playing in a tournament. Blinds, by definition, are forced bets. Your goal is to not be forced to do anything you don’t want to do or risk your chips when you don’t have an advantage. What better way to not risk your chips than to use someone else’s?
In a large tournament everyone is going to get some cards eventually. The law of averages also tells you that everyone is going to end up with about as many strong hands as you and about as many weak hands as you. The key to placing in the money, you stealing a few blinds and winning a big pot late in the tournament, while another player gets blinded out. Next time you’re in a tournament, give it a try. I think you’ll be surprised at the hidden benefits and positive results of stealing blinds.