The art of blind stealing is something that takes many years to master, but fortunately for beginners there are a couple of guidelines that can help. Your table image, the position you have at the poker table and the type of game you are involved in are all important factors in determining the best course of action when trying to steal blinds. In this article, we will debate a more sensitive issue and discuss about how players should act pre-flop depending on the size of their opponents’ stack.
In cash games, a lot of money is lost because you are either unable to defend your own blinds or you don’t place the emphasis on stealing from others. Except for those tables that fill up right away and all the players have the same amount of chips in front of them, there will inevitably be significant differences between their stacks. As a result, you need to adjust your approach depending on how much money they’ve brought to the table and focus on the best victims while avoiding dangerous players.
Big stacks are the kind of opponents that you should not take lightly, because they don’t react well to bullying and tend to fight back. They sometimes put all the weight of their stack behind them and especially at lower limits, they feel like they don’t have anything to lose. This is why when trying to steal blinds from them, you need to make sure that your own cards are decently strong, so in the event that you end up playing the hand against them, you won’t be a huge underdog.
Average stacks are the best targets for you, regardless if they have slightly more or less chips than you do because they are unlikely to fancy a fight against someone who has a similar amount in front of them. They can exercise some pressure on their own when stealing blinds, but they will rarely react in a aggressive manner to your attempts. The same applies to sit and goes and tournaments, where an all in that goes wrong can knock them out or at least make them very short.
Another category of players that should be approached with a lot of prudence are the short stacks, who are usually using a very simple strategy in cash games. They intentionally buy in for small amounts, so that when they get strong hands they’ll have no hesitations to go all in. They like coin flip situations and even if they are only slightly favorites, they shove their chips in the middle with no regrets. This means that when you are trying to steal blinds from them, you are exposing yourself to the risk of facing an all-in.
A distinct category of players are the super short stacks, and despite the fact that they are the least numerous ones, they are also the most dangerous. It is very easy to realize the risk of stealing blinds from them, because they literally have nothing to lose and they are not scared of confrontation. They tend to go all in even with what they regard as mediocre hands, so you wouldn’t want to see something like that when you have a weak hand.