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Stealing Blinds in Poker

Blind stealing has a less defined purpose in no limit cash games than it does in tournaments and fixed limit games. In the latter two, you steal the blinds because the blinds are big enough to yield a direct profit. The blinds are much smaller in no limit cash games so you don't steal them for direct profit as much as you do to take advantage of position and give yourself a looser table image.

Stealing the Blinds to Take Advantage of Position

While you can make a little money off the blinds in no limit cash games, the majority of your profits come from opponents trying to defend the blinds with weak hands from out of position.

Most people over-defend their blinds in no limit cash games so you can take advantage of that by attacking the blinds every chance you get. When your opponents defend from out of position, it's hard for them to play well against you because they're acting with little information about your hand.

They don't know whether you're stealing or just happened to have a good hand; they don't know what you're going to do because you act last every street; and they don't know how strong their hand is in relation to yours. In short, you get all the advantages of position while they have to figure out what the heck to do next.

The thing your over-defending opponents don't understand is that the blinds really aren't worth a ton of money in no limit cash games. Yes, it's important you know how to play from the blinds but it's not important you defend them to death. A single all-in confrontation is worth 200 big blinds all by itself.

Make sure you don't fall into the opposite trap and try too hard to steal the blinds. An average preflop raise is 4BB so you're risking 4 to win 1.5. This isn't a bad deal though, because your opponents have to risk even more to defend their blinds. The problem is it's easy to get carried away on your blind steals. If someone shows true strength, be ready to pitch your hand.

Stealing the Blinds for Table Image

Table image is often over-estimated in low limit cash games but you still don't want to look like a complete rock. It's harder to get paid on your good hands when you look like a rock. If you open up a little in late position you can kill that rock image from a safe place.

Some of your opponents will catch on to the fact that you only get squirrelly in late position but very few will act on the information. The human brain doesn't do very well separating specific facts when forming opinions. Your average opponent will just have a vague impression of you as a semi-loose player. Or at the very least they won't think of you as a total rock.

As you manipulate your image, it gets harder to steal the blinds. You always have to be adjusting and analyzing how the people in the blinds see you. If they think you're a complete blind thief, you should probably slow down on the steals. If they think you're a tightwad, steal their blinds. Your table image is always changing so you should always be changing your stealing frequency right along with it.

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