• Stealing the Blinds and the 3-Betting Game in No-Limit Hold'em Poker

    Added - March 24, 2014 Poker

    In poker, you're often going to be facing scenarios where it folds to you in late position where you have the option to raise in an effort to try to take down the blinds for a quick and easy profit. The players in the blinds, in return, can check you sometimes by 3-betting (re-raising) as a bluff. No matter which side of this situation you're on, there are some general principles that you can follow to improve your odds of getting the best of your opponents. In the worst case, you'll make yourself difficult to play against, and stronger players won't mix it up with you if they don't have to.

    The first thing is to realize that you can't steal the blinds too often or your opponents in the blinds are going to be able to pick you off left and right with 3-bets. If they show over time that they rarely defend, then you can steal more. However, if they ever figure out that they can start 3-betting and getting you to fold, then you're going to be in some trouble. Generally speaking, you should be raising somewhere in the range of 25 to 45 percent of hands from late position according to how often the players in the blind defend.

    Now imagine that you're on the opposite side of this and you're in the blinds facing someone who is stealing against you. You can 3-bet to normal bet sizes profitably if they are going to fold more than about two-thirds of the time. If they're folding more often than this, then you should open up a little with your 3-bet bluffs. On the other hand, if they're folding a bit less often then this, then you should tighten up and not bluff very often at all. Remember that your value hands are going to get a lot of extra value when they aren't folding much, so you don't need to bluff often to get paid during a session.

    Finally, remember that players are constantly adjusting to each other. Just because you don't think a player is going to steal much in one session doesn't mean that they aren't in a next. Keep fresh reads on players and pay close attention to how they play to maximize your chances of picking them apart and raking in the profits.