How to steal blinds depending on stacks

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.

Know the 3-bet-strategy inside-out

It is essential to be well versed in playing the 3-bet-strategy and it is just as important to know how to react to someone using it against you. When you play no limit Texas hold ’em, you will be frequently pit against tough decisions that are spurred by a player raising after someone else made a bet before him. This is a clear sign of aggression and you need to know how to react based on your table image, position and the stats fed to you by the poker tracking software that you are using.

The reason for why the 3-bet is so important is that when you resort to this move, you are showing a sign of strength and put your opponents on guard. Those who decide to take their chances and bet in an aggressive manner, need to keep in mind the fact that this action can easily trigger a firestorm. This happens because your raise comes after someone else’s bet and if there are other players behind you, they are left with only two choices.

Players from better positions can either fold their hand which leaves you the last one to act on the subsequent street, or come up firing with a 4-bet. In many cases, this means that there is a good chance for one of the players who stay in the hand to go all in on the next street. Having said this, all the players involved in such a pot need to be extra careful and accept the fact that they might be forced to shove all their chips. Naturally, if you don’t have the nuts or an incredibly strong hand it is better to back off.

Many players are using poker tracking software to determine whether it is lucrative to make a 3-bet, but there is one big problem that they need to be aware of. Unless the values are based on many hundreds of hands, the information could be irrelevant and basing your decision on it can do more harm than good. It is generally accepted that players who have a value that exceeds 10% for 3-bet will not have a higher value range and it is worth taking chances against these players.

Whether they are playing a loose aggressive strategy, or they are simply in the mood for gambling, opponents that showcase this type of stats can fuel your bankroll. Tight aggressive opponents have 3-bet values that range between 6% and 9% so you need to be very careful when a poker tracking software presents you with this type of data. Conversely, players need to know how to use a 3-bet effectively and in order to do that, they need to evaluate the fold-to-3-Bet-Stat.

In this particular case, loose aggressive players are usually those who have a ratio of 40% fold rate, while those who stand at roughly 80% can be regarded as tight players. Anything exceeding this value is a clear sign that the player has no idea what he’s doing and those who fold more than 80% of the hands when confronted with a 3-bet are clearly inexperienced. A healthy ratio is around 55-60%, but then again these numbers are not written in stone and players need to adjust to how the action unfolds at each table.