Stealing The Blinds Before The Button In Poker

- by Bulldog · Filed Under Bulldog Poker Strategy Leave a Comment 

When playing Hold´em and Omaha, being the dealer (on the “button”) is considered the best position to be in as you control the post-flop betting. As the deal rotates around the table, everybody has a turn of being the dealer, but if yours has just come and gone there are ways of getting back control of the table by “stealing the button”.

This involves making a large bet into the dealer and blinds in the pre-flop betting in the hope that they all fold. It is a risky action if you are not holding a strong hand, but there are several benefits to it.

Acting last means that you can gauge the table strength and act accordingly. It may be that you identify a number of weak hands and attempt a bluff so you may take the pot, or you can see a player raising a significant amount after the flop, and decide that you should fold. Irrespective of your actions, you have been able to take them with full knowledge of what is going on around the table.

The best place to try this strategy from is immediately one or two places to the right of the dealer, however if you have raised from middle position, you actually give your hand a considerable amount of credibility. Players almost anticipate a raise from players in late position and a raise from mid-position makes players sit up and take notice. If your mid-position action fails to gain control of the table (ie one or more players in late position call your raise), you have still set-up a bluff (if required) for later rounds of betting.

The risks involved with this strategy are not insurmountable should it backfire. If you are betting from the position before the dealer, there will three more players – including the blinds – to bet pre-flop. If one or more of them calls you, there is still the chance that you may catch on the flop. If not, the later player has already indicated that s/he holds a strong hand, so check through before the turn and see what action they take. If you did not invest too much pre-flop, there is not too much damage if they bet again and you have to back down.

Another possible disadvantage of this strategy is when you are playing in a tournament. Raising into a short stacked player who you have already identified as aggressive, may mean that he decides to go all-in against you. Be advised not to use this strategy too often as it will become a “tell”. If you tend to raise every time other people limp in, other players will predict what you are going to do and lay traps for you.

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