(Art by Ben Wooten)
Sometimes I feel like my big blind is under attack from a fire breathing dragon…
How many times have you looked down in the big blind at yet another weak hand? You just wanted to get some good hands and try to win a big pot.
Now you are in the big blind with [97s]. “Can I just fold this hand and move onto the next one?”. Well you could, but you should learn these seven reasons to defend your big blind.. and then reconsider folding.
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Reason #1: You close the action preflop.
While you will often be out of position postflop, you are actually in position preflop. You are the last player to act and get to see what everyone has done.
It is impossible for your call to be squeezed because you will be closing the preflop action. Not being able to be reraised preflop makes calling stronger, so you can feel comfortable to do more of it here.
Reason #2: You have a full big blind already invested.
If a player in middle position raises to 3 times the big blind and you call on the button you need 40% equity to do so.
If you instead are in the big blind you only need 31% equity, almost 25% less than had you been on the button!
Position is important, but pot odds are too. Calling wide from the big blind makes mathematical sense.
Reason #3: You discourage players from raising hands into you.
By playing loose in the big blind, especially live, you can often times discourage people from raising hands that would otherwise be profitable!
Players sometimes take the whole, raising my big blind, defending my big blind, stuff very personally. It’s just a game guys, relax!
The psychology element of the game is real, it is important to use it to your advantage when and however you can.
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Reason #4: Playing the big blind helps you develop your poker ability.
We all know what to do when we have pocket aces, raise and hope that players behind us look to reraise.
By playing more hands such at [T9o], [75s], and [A2o], we develop our ability to learn how to play many more hands on later streets.
These will sometimes put you into some difficult situations, but that’s is a critical element in learning the game of poker.
Reason #5: You are in position on the player in the small blind.
The poker wisdom of playing tight out of position has been around for ages. We simply do not agree with this statement.
But even if you think we are wrong, you aren’t always out of position anyway. There are many scenarios where the small blind has elected to play his hand.
This can make you middle of the pack in the battle for good position, and in some scenarios even the last person to act!
Reason #6: Loose big blind play can induce actions from other positions.
Quite often I hear a player complain about how loose of a call a player decided to make in the big blind. Then they follow it up with a completely unrelated assessment of a different position.
“So it’s the same guy that made that call preflop in the big blind with that one hand, so he can’t have it here he plays too many hands”.
Let people make bad judgements about your play, while you reap the rewards of this misinformation.
Reason #7: You can win big pots with very disguised holdings.
In most poker spots, it’s easy to put people on a range of hands that are always the same. All of the pocket pairs, and then some broadway hands.
Adding in these looser hands makes your range much harder to read. You will be able to make much more money on boards like T86 when you decide to play your 97.
In general you will miss with these types of hands, but when you do hit you can often make an exceptional amount of money.
The Big Blind is the most important position in poker. You will play looser here than any position. It is important to defend your blind properly and reduce the effectiveness of other players raises. The best players in the world know exactly how important it is to have strong big blind play.
Note: Our free preflop guide includes 8 preflop raise charts that show you exactly which hands to play from which position. Just enter your name and email below to get the charts.
I’m a professional poker player and one of the pros here on UpswingPoker.com.
I’m a WSOP Bracelet winner, LAPT (Latin American Poker Tour) tournament winner and a multi-million dollar winner of live & online tournaments.