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Considerations in Two Blind Stealing/ Defense Situations

This essay has been written for those readers who want to move up to the middle limits. Compared to the small games, in middle limit hold'em ring games you will be more in situations in stealing the blind, playing many hands out heads-up against a blind, or against the player who tries to steal your blind.

Hence, it is very crucial to your success that you should be accustomed to cope up these situations. For basic starting hand guidelines both for stealing and defending blinds, I refer you to Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players: 21st Century Edition. The guidelines given in them are truly correct and very beneficial. With some extra thought about the relative advantages of high cards against smaller suited cards in these places, I would like to warn, as well, against trying to adopt guidelines which might be different from the books of Skylansky and Malmuth. On the Internet, for instance, there are some generous starting standards, developed from computer simulations, recommended for these situations. If you start defending your blind, for example, with poker high hands such as Q4 and 73, you will be spending a lot of your money.

I will discuss two identical situations, one involving steal attempt and the other involving a defense of the big blind. For each situation, there is universally no correct way to play. Rather, there are many factors you should consider in order to make your decision. Moreover, though there is a common play for each of these situations when seen across all rivals, I will stress not what you should generally do, but what you should think about. I will provide some sampling of factors. To the extreme, I still will exhaust all the possibilities. They are some focal point. But all the elements are not important in the real life hand against a particular rival. Some might be. While at the same time, factors fully different from those I stated, will appear to be large.

This essay focuses to the situational nature of poker. Because multiples elements relate in a hand, two situations which seem similar at first sight may, based on strong analysis, indicate to fully different decisions. The purpose of this essay is to show how many considerations can be involved in what seem on the surface to be simple, normal poker situations. It is not just to ask something like, "What kind of hand did I make? Will it be worth to bet?"

Since I doubt my partial list shows, there are many potentialities significant variables in a hand to explain for all of them in the decision making process. Accordingly, to overlook important factors will cost you more money. Therefore, the way to it is to try to identify the elements of greater significance. Try to work on your ability to zero in one of those factors.

I have some following major categories under such situations in roughly so that you can think of them at the table. In fact, it is an artificial separation, as the thought process takes place more often.

Situation No.1: You raise, expecting to steal the blinds from a last position. The big blind calls. The flop misses you. The big blind will either bet or check. (In some cases he might muck his cards. It is a bad play on his part and is an indication that your image is good.) Let's assume he bets. What should you do? You will often have to fold in this instance but apart from this, there are many exceptions. A number of considerations must fit into your decision:

1. The pot contains about 5 ½ small bets. You will get 5 ½-to-1 on a call or 5 ½-to-2 (2 ¾-to-1) on a raise. These pot odds together with your estimated chance of stealing the pot, as well as implied odds if you have any important outs, should tell your decision. (Of course depending on how many outs you have, it will not be correct to say you "missed.")

2. You should therefore consider the cards. Can you state that how you miss the flop? Suppose you raise with

And the flop comes

Your situation at that point is different from when you raise with the same 86 but the flop comes


There are some flops which might give you a little leverage and enable you to play on, or to be more aggressive than you could be with other flops.

3. Likewise, the flop interacts in some way to your rival's hand. Its consistency relates with what you know of your rival's play, should give you some clue about how likely it was to have to hit his hand. What kind of hand will he defend his big blind? You should obviously less prepared to try to bluff-raise when the flop is bad for your hand, giving you no outs, while your judgment says you that it may well have hit your rival's hand. This is a part of hand reading process at this spot in the hand. You should be able to read your rival's hand before the flop. Against a rival who defends with a variety of hands, your read at this point will obviously be little clear.

4. You can extend your hand reading process with much stress on reading the player. The basic question arises: What does his bet mean? As in general terms, how does your rival play? Is he aggressive and/or deceptive? What about in this particular kind of situation? If he bets, does it very likely mean a hand, or does he do so generally in this place without having anything special?

If he is a kind of thinking player, his action here will have been induced in some part by how he currently sees your play. If he thinks you are easy to steal from, for instance, the probability that his bet is a bluff increases.

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