In poker, blinds play a fundamental role but many inexperienced players do not understand why they are so important. And it is precisely on this aspect that we are going to put the focus in this post, on the blinds and how they influence a round of poker.
What is the big blind in poker, what is the small blind, and what do we mean by blind levels? Let’s take a look.
What is the small blind in poker?
Let’s start with the basics and then we will get into the different levels of blinds in poker. The small blind in poker, usually abbreviated as SB for its acronym in English “small blind”, is one of the two “forced” bets that take place before the cards are dealt in a hand.
In Texas Hold’em, as in most forms of poker, the small blind is the smaller of the two blinds and sets the lower betting limit. Any bet below the limit established by the SB will be declared as not valid.
The player who occupies the position of the smaller of the blinds in poker is the one who has to make a forced bet before seeing his cards. It is precisely that bet that seeks precisely to initiate the action in the hand to start shaping the initial prize pool. Depending on the structure of the game and the level of blinds, the SB amounts vary.
What is the big blind in poker?
The big blind in poker, abbreviated as BB for “big blind”, is the second forced bet in a game. Like the small blind, the big blind takes place before the cards are dealt, and is intended to help shape that initial pot of bets.
So, what is the difference between the big and small blinds in poker? Well, the big blind is usually twice the amount of the small blind. This is the case in most variants and is usually the case in any game.
The player occupying the BB position must forcibly make a bet that is at least twice the amount that the Small Blind has bet.
Blind order in poker
Now that you know what a blind in poker is, let’s go to the blind order. Poker is a game where maintaining the flow of the game is crucial, as well as a fair distribution of bets. This is achieved through the blinds and their stipulated values, which ensure a proper flow of bets in the round.
When we talk about the order of blinds, we refer to the order in which the bets are carried out in the round. And for that, you just have to follow the order established at a table, either full ring or shorthanded.
The order of the blinds, therefore, is as follows:
- SB. He is the one who starts talking at the beginning of each round. He makes his first bet without seeing his cards and establishes the minimum bet.
- BB. It is usually double the SB. Sets the betting ceiling throughout the round.
- Deal of cards. After the initial bets, the cards are dealt.
- Pre-flop betting. When each player has his cards, he can decide whether to bet or not according to the probabilities he calculates of having a good hand. And this, before knowing the flop, the first three community cards that are placed in the center of the table.
- Call (flop, turn and river). After the preflop game, comes the flop and the postflop bets. The latter refers to the bets made on the last streets, the turn and the river.
- Showdown. After the postflop bets, and after the river, the players who have remained in the game show their cards in the final showdown, which determines the winner of the hand.
Blind levels in poker
Knowing what is the blind in poker and having given an overview of its order, let’s talk about the different levels of blinds that exist in poker. Broadly speaking, we can classify them as follows:
- First level or starting level. In a poker tournament, this is usually the lowest level of blinds. For example, we can find a SB of 20 chips and a BB of 40 chips.
- Raising the blinds. When X hands have passed, the blinds in a poker tournament go up. It is not uncommon to find here weight increases. For example, from 20-40 we can talk about 45-90.
- Regular raise. Keep in mind that, in poker tournaments, the blinds are constantly rising. You must always take into account the aggressiveness of the game depending on how the blinds evolve.
- Strategies and calculated risks. As the blind levels rise, players have fewer chips compared to the blinds. This pushes players to play a more aggressive game, where it is essential to control the risks.
- Final blind. They say that nobody knows what the blinds are in poker until they reach the final phase of a tournament. That is because in these competitions, the blinds can become extremely high in these stages of the tournaments, and their influence on the strategy and decision making is total.