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Blinds Starting Hands

Blinds: Pre-Flop Basic Openers

Blind Pre-Flop Basics

The blind positions are like a good news/bad news joke. You indeed are in the tournament and they are present whether you want them to be or not. The good news is, when you are the blind, you don't have to stay in the hand if you don't want to. The bad news is, if you do elect to stay in the hand, you have your head on the chopping block for the rest of the game. This means, that in subsequent rounds you are up to bat first (first to act) with no information about what the other players are going to do.

Pre Flop Basic Openers by Position

Lets talk about the Blinds and their Positions:

The blinds are a fact of life in tournament play. Unlike an ante (not a bet), the blind is a bet placed by a player before he gets cards. This is actually a forced bet made to create action. The blinds provide equal opportunity, meaning they move clockwise around the table to each and every player. It is incumbent on the two players to the left of the dealer (button) to "bet in the blind."

Always moving clockwise, the player to the immediate left of the dealer is called the small blind. This player places ½ of the structured bet in front of him or her. To the small blind's left is the big blind. This player places one full structured bet in front of him or her.

The cards are dealt and the hand begins. Unlike the other players who are yet to act, the blinds get what they get and hope no one raises so they may see the flop for "free."

Starting Hands in the Blind Positions

So, you already have ½ a bet or an entire bet in the pot. You are in the hand. The question you will ask yourself is what you will do with this hand if someone raises, or if it is worth the ½ bet if you are in the small blind? In a tournament, you will play the blinds very conservatively because you are most definitely in the absolute worse position for this hand.

The worse thing you can do in tournament play is to "protect" your blind. You see players do this often, and it is a huge mistake in a no limit tournament. You have met your obligation by placing money in for your "blind". Don't chase cards with money you don't have to lose. If you have junk, you have junk. Release it. It is just that plain and simple.

Big Blind

s = suited ns = non suited

Raise or Re-raise.

If the raiser is in early-middle position, then he most likely has a big pair or AKs (although not always the case of course).

If there have been no callers, and the raiser is in late position or on the button, then the raise is possibly a "position" raise.

If the raise is a substantial raise and will cripple your bankroll, a re-raise will not be worth it with the AKs, QQ, AKns or JJ.

If the late position or button raises with 3-4 times the big blind, and you hold the AKns QQ, or JJ, you might consider "coming over the top" (substantial re-raise) of the raiser.

With premium hands such as AA, KK, AKs a raise or re-raise is called for.


and even AKns and JJ if the raiser is in late postion or on the button.

Check when there are callers before you.

If everyone has folded around to the little blind, and he calls the half bet, then, if you have any pair or any of the raising hands above, you should raise instead of check.

All other hole cards.
Fold if there has been a raise. All other hole cards.

Small Blind

s = suited ns = non suited

Raise or re-raise (see big blind) AA, KK, AKs, QQ, AKns and JJ
Raise if no one has called before you

If the big blind is the only one in the hand and it gets around to you un-called, then, you don't want the big blind to get a free card if you have any of these hands. Raise the big blind with any of the hands (3-4 times the bet)

AA, KK, AKns, KQs, and all pairs
Call when there are callers before you TT, AQs, AJs, KQs, AKns and KJs, QJs, TJs, ATs, AQ n/s
Fold All other hole cards


It is enticing to play a looser game with your blinds than outlined above. For example, say you are in the small blind and there are 2 callers before you, one in early position and one in middle position. The button raises 4 bets. You decide to call the raise with your 88. There are 2 players to act after you. These players could be primed for a re-raise and it would leave you very vulnerable. You have now put in 4.5 bets and would have to make a decision about these potential raise(s). Then, after you have expended those 4.5 bets or more, you are now the first to act in all the following rounds. Are you willing to risk your bankroll on these cards in the blind position or are you prepared to be patient and wait until you are in a key attack position?

Just because you have already "invested" chips because you are in the blind position... let that thought go. Some players think that tossing in another bet is fine because they already have an interest in the pot. Some players don't mind chucking in ½ bet because they already have a ½ bet in there. This is suicidal thinking in tournament play. If you don't have a decent hand in the blind position, then throw it away even if you think it will only cost you a "little bit more" to see the flop. This is called leakage. Leaking chips in a tournament will be your demise. These are your bullets and you only have so many of them. Guard them carefully and strike only when the iron is hot.

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