Friday, April 06, 2007

Easy Change for Big Results

I have a simple change for you that can have a dramatic affect on your tourney (and cash game results). I see so many players doing this incorrectly and yet it is such a simple little change that it is completely overlooked.

drumroll please.....fold the small blind most most most of the time!!!

So many players complete because it is cheap, especially if it is limped to you. And while there may be pot odds to call, most players overlook the huge disadvantage of playing out of position for the remaining 3 streets. It is crazy how often I see player calling 2x bb raises with A rag or QJo from the small blind. I know the rationale is I already have money in the pot and if I hit big I will stack someone.

However, in tourney play that is dangerous thinking. Chips are precious and your odds of hitting the monster are very small (about 1.3%). What is much more likely is you catch a small piece of the flop with a bad kicker and out of position. Now what. Either you win a small pot or you lose a big one.

I do like to reraise a late position raiser from the small blind, but this is usually later in tournaments and its often for all my chips. At that point position no longer matters.

Looking at my PokerTracker tourney stats, as is typical I am a net loser from both blind positions and a big winner from the last 6 positions (button to button - 5). I voluntarily put chips in the pot from the SB, about 35% of the time, meaning that I fold 65% of the hands from the SB. That 35% is also skewed because it includes all the times late in a tourney when I will reraise a late position raiser with a wide range of hands.

Consider the blinds an ante for playing a round at the table and disregard the fact that you have those chips on a certain hand. It can dramatically reduce your tourney chip leakage.

1 comment:

Brian said...

This is awesome advice. People play terribly out of the small blind, and once I started folding more from there, my results improved considerably. It's not just for half a bet, but also in folded to the SB, SB raise and BB situations.

It would be fine if there weren't three more streets of betting, but in SB vs. BB hands you're out of position, and your opponent usually doesn't give you much respect, so you are often faced with the choice of bluffing without much of a read on your opponent, or weakly conceding pots with marginal hands. I usually don't get involved from the SB unless I have a big hand, or can get most of my chips in before the flop.

If you're interested in shortstack and SNG strategy you might check out my blog at and link back to my site. Thanks.