Some Advice For Playing Blind vs. Blind In SNGs

You have three types of players:

The person that plays too many hands from the blinds. They spew off their stack and tournament equity, and bust earlier than they should.

The person that doesn’t play enough hands from the blinds. They leave some money on the table and make it a tad harder to build a stack.

The common denominator – playing from the blinds is tricky.

This brings us to the 3rd person – the person that can find a balance between playing too many and not enough hands from the blinds. The person that can find the sweet spot. The person you should want to become.

The rest of this page will help get you there. Read on to get some advice.

When to Ignore the Blinds

It doesn’t matter if you’re the small blind or the big blind – there’s one time when you should ignore playing from the blinds.

During the early levels.

The reason why is simple. It comes down to risk vs. reward.

If the pot is 60 chips and your stack is 1480, picking up the pot will make little difference to your overall stack. It won’t make a dent in your equity.

But whenever you play a pot you put your stack at risk. You might overplay a hand or make a hand and lose to a better one.

The bottom line – there’s very little reward during the early stages. But the risk is huge – your entire stack. So I recommend staying tight and sticking to the tip-top of your range – pairs, AK, AQ, KQ, etc and folding out everything else.

When to Start Playing the Blinds

I recommend you wait to start playing the blinds until there are antes.

It’s at this point that the pots are big enough relative to your stack. Picking up 500 chips when your stack is 3,000 is worth your time.

At this point your strategy will depend on a number of things.

Your Image – If you’re perceived as loose you won’t have as much fold equity than if you were perceived to be a nit. But if your opponent thinks you’re a nit, you’ll get more folds.

Your Position – You should play fewer hands in the small blind since you’ll be out of position on future streets.

Your Opponent – How likely is your opponent to play back at you? How likely are they to fold? You need to think about this and adjust your hand range accordingly. In other words, if your opponent is likely to fold, you can open a large range of hands. But if they’re likely to play their hand, you’ll want something with showdown value.

The Situation – When you play the blinds matters too. For example, stealing the blinds will be more effective in spots like the bubble or when there are money bumps, especially if the other blind has fewer chips than you, but more than the shortest stack at the table.

Different Strategies For The Blinds

There are several ways to play from the blinds.

My overall goal is to keep the pot small whenever I can. So here’s how I suggest going about it.

If I’m playing from the small blind and pick up a hand worth playing, I’m going to limp in most of the time (complete the big blind).

What hands do you play? That depends on your opponent. But if you think you can see the flop then you can play any ace, suited king, suited connectors, pairs, etc. Any hand with potential, really.

If you hit a hand or draw – great – then play accordingly.

But what I like about the limp in strategy is that you can often win the pot by stabbing at it. Just make a small bet. You’re banking on the fact that your opponent has a random hand in the big blind which is likely the case given that they just checked preflop. So you can bet any dry flop and probably take it down.

The only exception to this strategy is if I have a hand I want value for – premium pocket pairs, broadways, etc. Sometimes I’ll still limp these in if I have reason to believe my opponent will raise me.

From the big blind I do tend to get more aggressive. I’ve noticed that many players will limp their entire range (like I said I do above). So it’s possible to get involved in a hand where you’re not ahead at all. So I like to throw in a raise to better define my opponent’s hand. I find that against most players you lop off the absolute bottom of their range.

That’s about it, in a nutshell. Of course if you’re short or if the pot-to-stack ratios warrant it, I’ll just open-shove or limp-shove – whatever I think increases my fold equity and/or gets me the most value for my hand.