blind vs blind wsop joke

How to Win Your Blind vs Blind Battles (as the Preflop Caller)

Does it feel like you’ve been getting into more blind versus blind battles recently? If so, you are correct.

Blind versus blind battles have become more frequent and important in the past few years due to a change in the meta-game. Players used to open significantly more often from the cutoff and on the button, 30% and 60% respectively, but those average frequencies have dropped.

This shift makes it imperative that you improve your understanding of this spot, which is exactly what this article is going to help you do. Specifically, we are going to cover playing as the big blind caller when playing blind versus blind.

We’re gonna dive deep into flop play today, covering how to play versus a c-bet and versus a check. From there, we will dissect a couple of example hands to see how they should be played. But first…

A Quick Word on Preflop

I don’t want to go too deep into preflop strategy as that’s beyond the scope of this article, but here are the basics.

When you are in the big blind and face a raise from the small blind, you have a few cool advantages:

  • Your pot odds are good because you already have 1 big blind invested in the pot.
  • You are closing the action.
  • You get to play in position for the rest of the hand.

All these 3 factors are encouraging you to defend with a wide range of hands, which makes it hard for the small blind to over-steal your big blind.

Playing on the Flop

Understanding flop play is probably the most important aspect of postflop play.

Keep in mind is that your opponent is forced to play out of position with a high stack-to-pot ratio, one of the toughest spot in No Limit Hold’em. For this reason, he will have a very hard time building solid strategies that are tough to exploit. You should look to capitalize on this at every opportunity.

Now, let’s go over how to approach playing versus a c-bet and a check. You are likely going to face the former more than the latter after calling a preflop raise, so let’s start there.

Facing C-Bet

Since both players have wide ranges, the equities will run pretty close on most boards. In other words, both players’ ranges will have around 50% equity versus each other. That means, in theory, the big blind should defend close to the minimum defense frequency, which is based on the given bet size.

minimum defense frequency table

The minimum defense frequency for 4 common bet sizes.

If you use the program PokerSnowie for studying, I recommend using it to learn more about this spot. You can go through a wide range of flop spots, swapping out the bet size and board texture each time, until you have a good idea of how to build your ranges in these spots.

Facing Check

This situation is very interesting because your strategy should be heavily dependent on your opponent.

In theory, you should only bet around 30 – 35% of the time with a polarized range. This should be your approach if you think your opponent has a theoretically sound strategy versus bet, meaning he check-calls and check-raises enough in a balanced way.

However, you will rarely encounter such skilled players in practice, which allows you to make exploitative adjustments that will net you more money. For example, most of your opponents will likely check-fold far too often after checking on the flop, and so you can exploit them with a high betting frequency.

Now that we’ve covered the generalities, let’s dive into two examples: one versus c-bet and one versus check.

Example 1: Facing a C-Bet

The most frequent board type that you will encounter is an Ace-high one, so let’s take one that is actually pretty hard to defend on:

Online $0.50/$1. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $100.

Hero is dealt two cards in the big blind.
4 folds. SB raises to $3. Hero calls.

Flop ($6): A♠ 9 3♣
SB bets $2. Hero…?

This small sizing puts Hero in a tough spot because he needs to continue with a lot of of his range to prevent the small blind from running him over. On such a dry and disconnected board, he’ll need to continue with some hands that may surprise you.

Of course Hero should continue with the obvious hands, such as all pairs and straight draws. But to get his continue frequency high enough, he’ll need to get creative and continue with less intuitive hands, like ones with multiple backdoor draws (8 5, 7♠ 4♠, etc.) and backdoor flush draws that have outs to make second pair (Q♣ 6♣, K 8, etc.).

On more connected boards, you won’t need to get as creative with your continuing range. You’ll usually have enough obvious hands with which to continue on such boards, like actual draws and overcards. 

Example 2: Facing a Check

Now let’s take the same board but this time the big blind checks and it’s on us to bet or take a free card.

Online $0.50/$1. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $100.

Hero is dealt two cards in the big blind.
4 folds. SB raises to $3. Hero calls.

Flop ($6): A♠ 9 3♣
SB checks. Hero…?

The way Hero should approach this spot is heavily dependent on the small blind’s strategy, so let’s break down this situation twice:

  1. When the small blind is playing close to optimally.
  2. When the small blind is playing sub-optimally.

When the Small Blind is Playing Close to Optimally

This experienced opponent will be defending wide and raising aggressively. Because of this, Hero should bet with a polarized range comprised of the following:

  • Hands that will be able to bet 3 streets for value frequently (AT and better).
  • Straight draws (54s, 52s, 42s).
  • Hands with low showdown value that have a backdoor flush draw (T♠ 6♠, J 4, etc).

Given that his range will be so polarized, Hero should use a bet size between half-pot and pot.

When the Small Blind is Playing Sub-Optimally

This less experienced opponent will fold too often versus a bet and will also only check-raise for value. This is likely the player type you will encounter most often in this situation.

Against such a player, Hero should implement an aggressive betting strategy. He should widen his value range (A6+, possibly even as low as A2) and include some merged bets in the form of hands that could use some protection (9x and 3x hands).

With regards to our bluffs, Hero should use the same ones that he did against the experienced opponent, but he should add more of them. The tighter the opponent is, the more aggressive Hero’s betting strategy should be.

In other words, you are free to go berserk in this spot against this player type, but pay attention in case your opponent catches on and starts check-raising you light.

Final Thoughts

Playing blind vs blind can be a pain in the ass if you are playing against strong competition that will put you into all kinds of spots with balanced ranges. Make a habit out of knowing who you are up against and adjust as needed to beat them!

I hope this article has helped you improve your game! As usual, if you have any questions or feedback don’t hesitate to use the comment section down below!

Ready to move on to part 2? Read How to Win your Blind vs Blind Battles (Facing a Limp).

Good luck to all of you grinders!

upswing lab coaches

When you join the Upswing Lab, you get instant access to 259 preflop charts and 245 hours of world-class training. Read reviews from real members now.

We’re so sure you’ll like the Lab, we’ll give you your money back within 30 days if you don’t — just ask.

Home > How to Win Your Blind vs Blind Battles (as the Preflop Caller)
Home > How to Win Your Blind vs Blind Battles (as the Preflop Caller)
About the Author

Dan B.

Online grinder aspiring to reach the highest stakes and crush the toughest games.

Take the Most Popular Quiz on Upswing Poker!

2017lab