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big blind defense poker quiz

Do You Defend Your Big Blind Like a Poker End Boss? – Poker Strategy Quiz

Your play from the big blind has a massive impact on your win-rate. Consequently, all of the best poker players are master defenders of the big blind.

Choose the option with the highest expected value (EV). After answering each question, you will be shown the EV of each option along with an in-depth explanation so you can improve your skills when you get one wrong.

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Question 1

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with A 3
UTG folds. MP raises to $12.50. CO folds. BU calls. SB folds. Hero...?

Correct! Wrong!

Calling is the correct play here because you already have 1bb invested in the pot, which gives you a good price to hit a very strong draw or made hand on the flop. 3-betting would be a mistake, given that once you get called you'll be out of position (OOP) against very strong range(s) with a large stack-to-pot ratio, which exacerbates your positional disadvantage.

The EV of each option:

  • Call is +EV
  • 3-bet is -EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Question 2

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with 9♠ 6♠
UTG raises to $12.5. 2 folds. BU calls. SB folds. Hero...?

Correct! Wrong!

Calling is correct here because you are holding a hand that has good implied odds and can hit very disguised nut-type hands. Plus, you have already invested 1bb in the pot. 3-betting would be a huge mistake because you are holding blockers to your opponent's folding ranges rather than their continuing ranges.

The EV of each option:

  • Call is +EV
  • 3-bet is -EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Question 3

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with A T♠
UTG folds. MP raises to $12.5. CO folds. BU calls. SB folds. Hero...?

Correct! Wrong!

This is one of the borderline hands you should be folding in this spot. Even though you have already invested 1bb in the pot, you would need to play very well for the call to break even since you will have to maneuver OOP, against 2 strong ranges with a high stack-to-pot ratio.

3-betting this hand would be a bigger mistake than 3-betting the A♥ 3 from question #1, since the latter can hit flush draws and straight-draws on the flop, while ATo could only hit straight draws.

The EV of each option:

  • Call is -EV
  • 3-Bet is more -EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Question 4

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with K 2
UTG raises to $12.5. 4 folds. Hero...?

Correct! Wrong!

Calling here is marginally the correct play given the good pot odds that you are getting already having invested 1bb in the pot. The fact that this hand can hit invulnerable top pairs (on K-high flops) and flush draws helps tremendously.

You can also fold if you don't feel comfortable playing postflop with such a marginal hand against a strong UTG range. Passing up on this slightly +EV spot won't have much of an impact on your win-rate anyway. If you chose fold, credit yourself half a point for this one.

3-betting would be a mistake since you will be isolating yourself against a very strong range and you will often times be dominated by the calling range.

The EV of each option:

  • Call is +EV
  • 3-Bet is -EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Question 5

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with T T♠
2 folds. CO raises to $12.5. 2 folds. Hero...?

Correct! Wrong!

3-betting is the correct play here since you are holding a premium hand that flops quite well (it will be an overpair or better 37% of the time of the flop). You should therefore try to build the pot preflop in order to maximize the amount of chips that you will win on average.

The EV of each option:

  • Call is +EV
  • 3-bet is more +EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Question 6

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with A♣ 3
2 folds. CO raises to $12.5. 2 folds. Hero...?

Correct! Wrong!

This hand is slightly too weak to defend with against a CO opening range. It would, however, be a call if the CO had opened to a smaller size or if you know of some specific weaknesses in his postflop game (e.g., folding too much against probe bets).

The EV of each option:

  • Call is -EV
  • 3-bet is more -EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Question 7

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with A♣ J♣
UTG folds. MP raises to $12.5. CO folds. BU calls. SB folds. Hero...?

Correct! Wrong!

Although calling this hand is +EV, 3-betting it is slightly better. 3-betting denies equity when they fold, blocks the villains continuing ranges, and, if you do get called, you'll have a decent chance to hit top pair+ or nut flush and straight draws. which will give you enough equity to continue the aggression on the flop.

The EV of each option:

  • Call is +EV
  • 3-bet is more +EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Question 8

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with A Q♠
UTG raises to $12.5. MP calls. 3 folds. Hero...?

Please select 2 correct answers

Correct! Wrong!

There are two correct answers here, so consider this a bonus question. I included this to show that you would not be wrong to either call or 3-bet preflop with this hand. You should lean towards 3-betting when one of the players is weak and lean towards calling when both players are strong.

The EV of each option:

  • Call is +EV
  • 3-bet is +EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Question 9

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with A♠ J
UTG raises to $12.5. MP calls. 3 folds. Hero...?

Correct! Wrong!

This might seem like a good squeezing candidate, but you should steer away from that play because, unlike AJs or other suited Ax, it doesn't have enough playability to efficiently apply pressure postflop when you miss. Calling is by far the best play.

You could, however, consider 3-betting it if both players fold too often against 3-bet, or if one of the players is weak.

The EV of each option:

  • Call is +EV
  • 3-bet is -EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Question 10

Online $2/$5. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $500.

Hero is in the BB with 6 2
UTG raises to $12.5. MP calls. CO calls. BU calls. SB calls. Hero...?

Correct! Wrong!

Folding is out of the question when you are offered such incredible pot odds. Your hand has solid playability since it can hit both straights and flushes, thus it will realize equity quite well. 

3-betting is not out of the question either. Your squeeze represents immense strength since in your opponent's eyes you could have easily just called. Thus, a squeeze generates a lot of fold equity; combined with the playability of the hand, 3-betting is +EV.

The EV of each option:

  • Call is more +EV
  • 3-bet is +EV
  • Fold is 0EV

Thanks for finishing the big blind defense quiz!

Step-Up Your Win-Rate from the Big Blind with Upswing Lab Tactics

Join poker strategy masterminds Ryan Fee & Doug Polk as they walk you through how to play from the big blind–in cash games and tournaments. Preview their 11 video Upswing Lab module The Big Blind below.

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