Defending blinds

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Fida

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I often find myself defending my blinds too much, putting me in tough spots.

So my question is: when do you need to defend your blinds? And how to do it effectively?
 
Jon Poker

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Honestly it depends on alot -- we can literally defend our BB to a 2x raise with literally any 2 cards -- that being said unless you are very comfortable in your skillet post flop - this approach will not be profitable. As bet sizes increase - our defending range decreases - this is where the term "condensed ranges" comes from. Effectively by fishy players opening 3x-4x in spots where they should be going 2x-2.2x they will cause players to condense their ranges and only call them with their stronger holdings -- so the same thing happens to us in the blinds - even a sizing as small as 2.5x makes a difference in what we defend vs a 2x raise.

Moving on - basically the earlier the PFR, the tighter we defend our BB - we also defend much tighter against more than 1 opponent since multiway pots are tricky and facing multiple ranges is not ideal.

Anyhow, vs. BTN sized to 2.2bb open we are defending somewhere around 65-70% of our range normally. We get even wider vs a SB raise, defending somewhere around 80% of our range. And as the raise comes from earlier positions around the table our defending range decreases slightly in theory. This is also where most people get the ranging wrong -- as the raises come from earlier positions at the table we start to drop off alot of our weaker offsuit broadway hands (Jx, Qx, and Kx) and such because the opening ranges from our villan would have better broadway holdings in their ranges - thus causing us to lose chips when we hit top pair on flops. Anyhow, so we drop those holdings off and continue to defend lots if low and middling connected hands, suited hands, pocket pairs and Ax - with the same concept of our Ax hands in mind that we don't get over invested when we hit top pr vs a strong Ax heavy range. We defend the lower and middling connector cards because EP villans don't have many of those in their ranges.

There's alot of subject matter floating around on this subject. Hopefully my little bit makes sense and is helpful.
 
Jon Poker

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I also forgot to mention - another big leak - is facing a CO or BTN open - people don't nearly 3bet enough from the blinds - both as a bluff and for value - this also ends up winning us alot of pots without seeing a flop. Normal 3bet number across a session should be somewhere around 10-12. I see players around 5-6 and lower all the time, which tells me they're not 3betting enough and when they do, it's likely only for value and not as a bluff - and obviously the lower their 3bet number in relation to their sample size is also an indication of them ONLY 3betting for value- which allows me to exploit them by over folding.
 
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Yeah I understand what you are talking about in your post. I try not to defend to strongly, I find it just gets me in trouble!
 
NWPatriot

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I have done a lot of poking around with blind defense, and I just don't buy it. I understand the rationale behind defending our blinds so that we do not get exploited, but I just can't make the long term numbers work by defending our blinds with garbage. I know that I am in the minority here, so you will just have to wait for my book to come out. LOL.

The main struggle I have is that the blinds are already the worst seat in hold'em. Most players will lose money from these seats, mostly due to their terrible position. So, if this is already a problem, why in the world would we invest even more chips with even worse hands than we would play from any other seat? We are investing in a bad situation, hoping it will improve?

Aside from defending on occasion, to prevent us from being abused, I believe it is just best to play solid ranges and play them well. Consider the blinds a tax that every one must pay every 9 or 10 hands and stop worrying about it being "your blind".

I just looked at my tournament stats for this year, and I am +14bb in the BB and +23bb in the SB. I am content with making a profit from these seats, since in order to make this profit, we first have to overcome the -10bb and -5bb tax paid here. I would be interested to hear how others bb/100 stats in the blinds look and how their specific strategy aligns.

Good luck and God bless.
 
perrypip

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It does seem like more than 2/3 of the time I miss the flop with a junk hand out of position facing a continuation bet from an uncapped range. I see the logic of 3 betting the button or SB since they are often trying to steal. But flat calling with a wide range doesn't seem to work out for me.
 
Alex70793

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How many times I play I did not understand why to protect the blinds, if you do it every time, it will be a losing game.
There is a strong hand to protect the blinds, there is no strong hand to fold, the strategy is simple and therefore effective.
Of course, you might think that an opponent with a weak hand wants to steal your blinds, this happens, but not all the time, and you can't guess which hand the opponent has.
Constant blind protection is not profitable.
 
perrywh

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Defending with bad hands is when I get put out of most tournaments! So some think their stealing my blind when it’s only I have a hand I can’t defend!
 
Jon Poker

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Seems to me most of the time all of you players talking about "I don't win with junk cards" or "I lose money defending a wide range" simply have some ranging issues with your villans...

Over a sample size of 100k hands on ACR, I am winning 6bb/100 from the SB and -1.4bb/100 from the BB -- these are fantastic numbers from the blinds and im not the best player in the world - I'm just better than most of the players in my fields. If you folded half of all of your BBs you would be at -50bb/100 - understand, we are supposed to lose money from these two seats, yet I've made money from the SB and almost break even in the BB. It's possible to play like this you just have to understand how.

Heads up we can defend a variety of hands - just make sure the bet sizing is correct to do so and make sure you don't play obvious hands that could be easily dominated in such a spot. For example - if UTG opens 2.2x and we have K4o in the BB - its an easy fold, our K is likely to be dominated by every Kx holding our villan has and so we will lose money if we hit top pair. That being said, it's a super easy defend with K4o from a BTN raise since their range is so wide, if we hit top pair, there's a much better chance we are good vs the BTN than we are vs an UTG open.

The other issue players have is not playing range enough...if you defend your BB vs and UTG open and the flop comes 457 rainbow, the UTG raiser has alot of unpaired overcards to this flop and some overpairs - thats relatively it, so they do not connect well at all with such a flop, so this is a great spot to take whatever two cards you have, and put in the check/raise. What do we do if villans call us? We fire all cards that give us more equity, and all cards that would be good for our range on that board.

Most people play too passive, you have to be ready to bluff catch and call down with 2nd pair sometimes. Alot of second pair combos fold to a turn bet after calling a flop bet - since that is the case, alot of players like me will double barrel turns pretty large to target those holdings and get you to overfold.

Understanding your opponents range and how well it reacts with a certain board will help you play better post flop. We are not going to win every hand, but if we are check folding too much or calling flops just to fold turns too much -- then you're just making it easy for your villan to run you over.
 
Jon Poker

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ACR stats from 2020 - roughly 65k hands (if memory serves me right) look at the BB/100 stats, NOT the all in adjusted BB/100 as they are different...I won money from every single seat in the game. You can do it, just takes the necessary understanding of the game to do it.
 

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F

Fida

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Honestly it depends on alot -- we can literally defend our BB to a 2x raise with literally any 2 cards -- that being said unless you are very comfortable in your skillet post flop - this approach will not be profitable. As bet sizes increase - our defending range decreases - this is where the term "condensed ranges" comes from. Effectively by fishy players opening 3x-4x in spots where they should be going 2x-2.2x they will cause players to condense their ranges and only call them with their stronger holdings -- so the same thing happens to us in the blinds - even a sizing as small as 2.5x makes a difference in what we defend vs a 2x raise.

Moving on - basically the earlier the PFR, the tighter we defend our BB - we also defend much tighter against more than 1 opponent since multiway pots are tricky and facing multiple ranges is not ideal.

Anyhow, vs. BTN sized to 2.2bb open we are defending somewhere around 65-70% of our range normally. We get even wider vs a SB raise, defending somewhere around 80% of our range. And as the raise comes from earlier positions around the table our defending range decreases slightly in theory. This is also where most people get the ranging wrong -- as the raises come from earlier positions at the table we start to drop off alot of our weaker offsuit broadway hands (Jx, Qx, and Kx) and such because the opening ranges from our villan would have better broadway holdings in their ranges - thus causing us to lose chips when we hit top pair on flops. Anyhow, so we drop those holdings off and continue to defend lots if low and middling connected hands, suited hands, pocket pairs and Ax - with the same concept of our Ax hands in mind that we don't get over invested when we hit top pr vs a strong Ax heavy range. We defend the lower and middling connector cards because EP villans don't have many of those in their ranges.

There's alot of subject matter floating around on this subject. Hopefully my little bit makes sense and is helpful.

You're right, there seems to be a lot of things to take into considerations. Your answers are really helpful, though I admit there are some things that are new to me. Thing is I'm not good at using maths at poker, but I'm looking to get good at it. Any recommendations about where to start?
 
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vittopio

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Personally, I don't see the need to defend my big blind very often! Of course, a lot depends on the players sitting on my right, but defending with any 2 cards is a negative idea for me!
 
Jon Poker

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You're right, there seems to be a lot of things to take into considerations. Your answers are really helpful, though I admit there are some things that are new to me. Thing is I'm not good at using maths at poker, but I'm looking to get good at it. Any recommendations about where to start?

Start simple - with a program like equilabs, take AK and run is vs a random range, take pocket pairs, run them against random ranges - basically you will get a feel for your equities preflop. It's kind of like muscle memory - for instance vs a complete random range AKo is close to a 60% favorite - run AQ vs KK - AQ will be rough 30% to win - you will see patterns and you can memorize them. The next step for you can be learning pot odds on the river so you can decide whether or not to call. Take is simple, don't over complicate things for yourself. Trying to learn too much at one time will do more harm than good.

Personally, I don't see the need to defend my big blind very often! Of course, a lot depends on the players sitting on my right, but defending with any 2 cards is a negative idea for me!


That's because you - like many others - are playing your actual 2 cards rather than playing range and taking advantage of certain board textures. You could cover my cards with a sticky note and I could easily defend my BB without knowing what I hold.

Now, you DONT need to defend literally any two cards - but for a min raise and if you are comfortable playing post flop, its certainly profitable to do so. Still, even not defending any two, you are defending pretty wide and when it comes to blind defense - people under defend and overfold - which is another reason I attack blinds do often.

Onto the portion where you don't see the need to defend so wide -- you don't value your tournament life?? Defending blinds properly can net you 5bb+ at a time, and over the course of a tournament can mean the difference between locking up a cash with a medium stack, or hanging on for dear life at the bubble. Plus if you are defending only based on the players to your right...you are NOT playing proper ranges and are easily exploitable. If you fold to 5 of my BTN raises in a row and then all of a sudden you wake up and 3b from the BB, im going to fold ALOT more than I normally would, because you weren't defending anything then all of a sudden you showed aggression.

"The best way to preserve your tournament life is to accumulate chips" - Matt Affleck. Preserving chips will only get you so far, but if you're not increasing your stack, you will ultimately dwindle down to nothing.
 
black and

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You need to protect the blinds when the strength of your hand allows you to do so. Obviously, if you protect blinds with junk, then more often than not you will get losses and frustrations.
 
Jon Poker

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You need to protect the blinds when the strength of your hand allows you to do so. Obviously, if you protect blinds with junk, then more often than not you will get losses and frustrations.


*sigh*

One more time....if you play your actual hole cards...yes 72o doesn't win pots very often - but if you understand board textures and ranges enough - then you can take that garbage, and ram it down your villans throat who is over cbetting the flop and get them to fold.

Playing well post flop is key - but if you ONLY wait for stronger holdings to defend your blinds with - then you will be exploitable!! How so? Simple...if you're that tight, when you finally do defend your blind I simply won't give you any action, and when I do, it will only be with the strongest of my holdings.

Nitty players are easier to play against than any others on the table - because they play their holdings face up. They call when they have it, fold when they don't and rarely ever raise as a bluff, and if it is at all its a semi bluff.

I'm not advocating for every player to defend 100% of their holdings - im simply saying, one of the most common problems with players and their blinds is people under defend and they over fold....and here we are with people chiming in on only playing the better parts of your holdings - only providing my point! This makes you all much easier to play against.

Sharpen up your post flop skills - begin to understand ranges and board textures - then learn which of those you should be check-raising and with what holdings, which of those you should be check-calling and with what holdings, which of those you can donk lead, etc.

Simply defending your BB with 78o - going to a flop of 246 or 64J and just check folding to a cbet is costing you money. If you recognize the smaller card textures hit your range more than they do your villans - then you can check-raise, give yourself a chance to win the pot, and move on. Why check raise 78o on a flop of 64J?

Because you have all the suited Jx combos, you have 44d and 66s, you have all the two pair combos - you also have open ender draws and such - not to mention like I said earlier, villans are over cbetting - so when you check raise here, that should polarize them to only continuing with a J or better - the end result is, you just get tons of folds.

So one more time to recap, defending your blinds doesn't always mean it's all cut and dry, black and white - you're going to have to play post flop well too. If you're just playing ABC poker...than exploiting you is as easy as 123 :)
 
tipejo767

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Hello

On many occasions I have been in your position where it is not always convenient to put yourself in that situation, because many times even if you have good cards on the flop they give you adverse cards that easily another player has something armed, first you must observe how your opponents play and in which situations they raise or pass in the game, I consider that if on the flop that situation presents itself to you and you do not have anything armed, even if your cards are good (high cards) and you do not have a pair, it is better to fold because the chances of finding something on the river are lower. That's my point of view.


regards
 
black and

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*sigh*

One more time....if you play your actual hole cards...yes 72o doesn't win pots very often - but if you understand board textures and ranges enough - then you can take that garbage, and ram it down your villans throat who is over cbetting the flop and get them to fold.

Playing well post flop is key - but if you ONLY wait for stronger holdings to defend your blinds with - then you will be exploitable!! How so? Simple...if you're that tight, when you finally do defend your blind I simply won't give you any action, and when I do, it will only be with the strongest of my holdings.

Nitty players are easier to play against than any others on the table - because they play their holdings face up. They call when they have it, fold when they don't and rarely ever raise as a bluff, and if it is at all its a semi bluff.

I'm not advocating for every player to defend 100% of their holdings - im simply saying, one of the most common problems with players and their blinds is people under defend and they over fold....and here we are with people chiming in on only playing the better parts of your holdings - only providing my point! This makes you all much easier to play against.

Sharpen up your post flop skills - begin to understand ranges and board textures - then learn which of those you should be check-raising and with what holdings, which of those you should be check-calling and with what holdings, which of those you can donk lead, etc.

Simply defending your BB with 78o - going to a flop of 246 or 64J and just check folding to a cbet is costing you money. If you recognize the smaller card textures hit your range more than they do your villans - then you can check-raise, give yourself a chance to win the pot, and move on. Why check raise 78o on a flop of 64J?

Because you have all the suited Jx combos, you have 44d and 66s, you have all the two pair combos - you also have open ender draws and such - not to mention like I said earlier, villans are over cbetting - so when you check raise here, that should polarize them to only continuing with a J or better - the end result is, you just get tons of folds.

So one more time to recap, defending your blinds doesn't always mean it's all cut and dry, black and white - you're going to have to play post flop well too. If you're just playing ABC poker...than exploiting you is as easy as 123 :)



*sigh*
..... everyone has the right to play as he sees fit.
At least my bankroll is growing because I just don't play with junk.
 
Jon Poker

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*sigh*
..... everyone has the right to play as he sees fit.
At least my bankroll is growing because I just don't play with junk.


Everyone definitely has the right to play however they so chose. Choosing to ignore solid proven strategy is also an individuals personal choice.

You and others are simply missing the bigger picture - im not advocating for everyone to just jump into defending 80% of their range...but if you become more familiar with ranging and post flop plays - you will see more and more the cards in your hands don't even matter anymore.. Winning pots you are not supposed to win and playing well post flop will net you way more money than ABC poker ever will. Thanks for the reply, I've said my peace here, I don't think I have anything further to offer this thread.
 
WickedFRoST

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I often find myself defending my blinds too much, putting me in tough spots.

So my question is: when do you need to defend your blinds? And how to do it effectively?


You should always defend your BB when facing an open from a late position against one opponent. pretty much any two cards are good enough to call a 2-2.5 bb open.

When it comes to an open from early or middle position, the range should be tighter, yet still, any suited cards, broadway, and connector are good enough to defend.

Against multiple opponents your range should be tighter, you don't really want to defend you blind in family pots too often..
 
LFC_yllnwa

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It all depends on your number of chips, how your opponents play against you, whether the table is comfortable for you or not. Of course, it is not wise to give away the chips, but sometimes it's can punish you very much... I think it's right to look at the situation at the table when no one is around, you can play aggressively, but pay everytime, I can't advise...
please see and read:
https://www.cardschat.com/forum/tournament-poker-59/a-cooler-485004/
 
black and

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Everyone definitely has the right to play however they so chose. Choosing to ignore solid proven strategy is also an individuals personal choice.

You and others are simply missing the bigger picture - im not advocating for everyone to just jump into defending 80% of their range...but if you become more familiar with ranging and post flop plays - you will see more and more the cards in your hands don't even matter anymore.. Winning pots you are not supposed to win and playing well post flop will net you way more money than ABC poker ever will. Thanks for the reply, I've said my peace here, I don't think I have anything further to offer this thread.


If your strategy allows you to make money, then that's great and I congratulate you.
 
mariale_1990

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I think that it is also something that I do a lot and I think that sometimes I exaggerate in trying to protect my blinds, sometimes I do it well but most of the time I know that I should not do something but still I do it and I make a lot of mistakes, it does Little did I realize that and I am trying to be more sensible and make the best decision in those situations
 
theANMATOR

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I defend tight - and usually I'm taking chips off of late position openers who open too wide from late position.

The exception to this is - when I'm facing a eastern european player in the SB. They LOOOOVE to raise 3.5x when it is folded to them. I take this and either 3bet or call and take them to task post flop. I don't know what this is with these players attempting to take the pot down pre with marginal hands, but it is 75%+ of the time a weak ace, a small pocket pair or unsuited broadways. I've ran into QQs maybe once, and A/Q a couple times, the rest is just marginal hands trying to steal. Dont let em.
 
Alekxandrovi3

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I defend when I see that you can use bluff on the following streets. With hands with a dance.
 
Zapahlohotrona

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If an opponent raises me and doesn't fold to 3-bets, I call. The only two rules are:
1.cold call only with a hand playable postflop
2.stack size 30 BB +
if the stack is smaller, then I turn 3-bets into a push, and of course, I greatly narrow the range.
 
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