Blind-Stealing In Poker Tournaments – 5 Common Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

In poker tournament games the blinds and antes will increase rapidly the longer you play. Since premium hands do not come along too often, ‘stealing’ these by rising from late position becomes a critical strategy to maintain you chip stack.

However many players make mistakes in blind steals which actually end up costing chips instead of accumulating them. This article looks at these common mistakes and advises on how to ensure that you win more at blinds than you lose.

1) Is The Reward Worth It?

Stealing blinds too early in a poker tournament is rarely worth the risk. Yet many players do this in the early rounds. When the levels are 10 / 20 chips (for example) the benefit is not worth the chances of running into a big hand. Instead wait until there are enough chips to cover 10% to 15% of your stack on the table.

2) Not Every Time!

Some players will attempt to take the blinds every time they are folded to in later position. This is asking for even the most passive player to make a stand with a large (and expensive to call) re-raise. Randomizing your steals or just folding one time in three can help to prevent this from happening.

3) Beware Of The Small Stacks!

An opponent with 5 to 8 times the pot in their stack will be feeling desperate. Sometimes so desperate that they are looking to make a stand with any reasonable holding. If you rise 3 times from the button and a small stack rises all-in you will often have to call, the huge pot odds making this a positive equity play. Avoid this situation by ensuring that you have at least a reasonable hand when there are very short stacks to act behind you.

4) Beware Of The Large Stacks!

How does facing a re-raise from a very large stack sound? This can be a disaster when calling would cost half of your stack and your hand is marginal. Big stacks will often make a stand when repeatedly stolen from and caution is advised when rising from late position under these circumstances.

5) Raise Enough To Get The Job Done!

Tight players to act behind you are a real benefit in when adding yet another set of blinds and antes to your stack! Yet many players make their raises too large under these circumstances. This costs more chips than necessary those times you are called (or even raised). Make sure you bet only enough to ‘get the job done’ from 2.5 to 3 times the current big blind is usually plenty enough.

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