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Stealing the blinds

Every once in a while, there are those moments when no one seems to want to bet.  Mainly because no one has a hand worth betting on.  If you find yourself in a proper table position, you may want to consider Stealing the Blind!

As is always the case with poker, whatever fun tricks you learn to do, you also have to learn to defend against others doing to you.  You're not the only one to know about stealing the blind!

DEFINITION

Don't worry – Stealing the Blind is not illegal.  It simply refers to a strategy designed to net you a little money – and it's better for online play because most sites require a minimum pot size before taking a rake.

Generally speaking, when you find yourself in a late position, and action folds down to you, you can "Steal" the pot by betting over the top of the blinds – even if your hand isn't worth playing.  The conventional wisdom is that the Blinds are handicapped by being forced into the pot and the overwhelming percentage that their hands aren't worth playing and certainly not worth calling a large bet.  Therefore, they fold and you win!

WHEN TO DO IT

As mentioned, the most appropriate and common time to Steal the Blinds is when only the blind players are in the pot (and the expression specifically refers to pre-flop action).  This usually means you're situated in late position, but some players have been known to attempt a steal from mid and even early position.

While this is certainly riskier than making sure that no one else is betting, if your table is playing conservative, no one has done anything more than casually limp in, you might want to consider making an aggressive play to shake things up.

Certainly, if you have a strong hand – and just happen to be in late position with no other players – this would be a great time to Steal the Blind.  But I hardly categorize this as Stealing as much as it is Playing the Cards Dealt.

WHEN NOT TO DO IT

By contrast, you need to be a little more leery of making attempted steal when a player other than the blinds has called.  Also, stealing from a player who has proven to be fairly aggressive is more likely to go along for the ride and defend against a steal, even if their hand is of a quality worth calling.

PROTECTING AGAINST IT

As I mentioned some experienced players are well-versed in the Stealing dynamic.  They therefore may not appreciate it and may guard against it.  Feel free to take this approach as well – particularly against aggressive players who may have already established a trend as "thefts."