Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's one of my graphs).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.

Friday, 5 August 2011

NLHE Blind vs. Blind: A Unique Situation

A good deal of my time at the moment is being spent working on this situation. It should be a battle that I look forward to, as I can utilise my skill advantage over the majority of my opponents and look to claw some valuable blind money back. Unfortunately so far in my poker career, I've tended to continue to use the 'play less in the blinds' philosophy even in this unique spot. When it is folded to me in the small blind I'm only opening 39% of the time. I think that this should be more like half of the time. Similarly in the big blind I'm playing only 38% of hands facing a raise and I should be playing a lot more than this given my positional advantage.

I'm hoping that by playing more hands in this situation I can improve my losses from the blinds which at the moment continues to be a concern.

Small Blind Opening Range

Given that the big blind has a random hand, I think it is reasonable that I should open any hand that has greater than 50% equity versus a random hand. Using HoldemViewer gives me the following range that has better than 50% equity versus a random hand.

It turns out that this works out at 49.3% which seems a very reasonable standard stealing range when it's folded to me in the small blind. In order to defend against liberal 3-bettors I need to be comfortable felting 18% of this range (and of course bluffing a further 12% so we're 4-betting 30% of the time in total). The top 18% of my opening range looks something like {AT+, 66+} which again seems fine. I could alter this strategy by mixing in a calling range too, but according to Matthew Janda at Cardrunners in situations where we're out of position it's likely to be optimal (or close to it) to 4-bet or fold and this feels intuitively correct. Incidentally I must credit some of the maths in this post to the quoted instructor, in my opinion anything he ever posts/produces is gold.

Big Blind Playing Range

When facing a pot sized small blind open, the pot odds we are getting works out at 35%. We are in position which likely gives us a little extra equity. That means that facing the above opening range (rarely likely to be this loose) I can probably call with almost any two cards. Since we are playing heads-up in position then even against a very tight 10% open I can likely play somewhere around half of the hands in the deck. I've settled on the following (60.5%) as a standard range for playing in the big blind facing a small blind steal.

Against a very tight raiser (<15%) I can fold a few of the marginals and against a liberal stealer I can widen this range considerably. As far as 3-betting is concerned I'm pretty sure I can felt something like {TT+, AK} and use some of the lower off suit kings and queens as my bluffing balance hands.


I will trial the new strategy over the next couple of hundred thousand hands. As a big disclaimer, I don't intend this post to be instructional. If anyone get's something out of it, fine. But it's primarily just a post describing how I'm trying to improve my own play in blind versus blind situations. I expect much of my reasoning to be sound but I could be way off; take anything from this post with a big pinch of salt. GL

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