The issue of stealing blinds has been often debated over the Internet, and by now poker players are well familiar with the concept and know how to apply it. The idea is to minimize your losses by picking up blinds from tight passive players, or by stripping better opponents of their blinds when you are in late position. While this shouldn’t turn into an obsession, stealing blinds should be always on your mind in all stages of the tournament and even more when you play cash games.
After you master this tactic, you can move on and focus on re-stealing blinds and the corresponding small pots, without taking high chances. Assuming you play against equally skilled opponents, everyone at the poker table will attempt to steal blinds and you would frequently have to defend yours. Sometimes players enter autopilot and make the same attempts over and over again, without thinking that their actions are easy to read. Against such players, you can easily reraise pre-flop because when facing aggression, they immediately fold their hands and wait for the next opportunity to steal blinds.
Not all the players are ideal targets for the strategy, so you should first determine which are the ones that you can use this move against. Tight players are the ones that you should avoid at all costs, because they rarely steal blinds and when they do, they either have an exit plan or strong hands. In either case, you don’t want to get involved in fights with them, because it is not worth taking the chance of becoming pot committed for some puny blinds.
Passive players fall in the same category, because they are not going to concede the pot if you come over the top with a raise after they made the attempt to steal blinds. Another problem when facing such an opponent is that you can’t know for sure whether his intention is actually to steal blinds or he truly has a good hand. The second alternative is downright frightening, because just as the name suggests, passive players are rarely taking initiative but they are tempted to keep calling someone else’s bets and raises.
Loose opponents are the ones that can be regarded as the ideal targets for re-stealing blinds, because they are the ones who frequently put themselves in this situation. For them, any hand is a good opportunity of stealing something and whether we are talking about blinds or small pots, they employ the same strategy. At lower limits, you can expect some of these loose players to call your reraise so you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself and invest significant amounts with mediocre hands.
Granted you can win the pot even in these circumstances, it is better to exercise prudence when becoming involved in a hand as a result of an attempt to steal blinds. Aggressive players are just as suitable as loose ones for re-stealing blinds, because they are always in or raising mood. Stealing blinds is not their priority but with so many raises pre-flop they involuntarily collect these small amounts. When confronted with a raise, they don’t persevere and unless they happen to hold premium cards they back off.
While these are the four major types of players, it is important to remember that opponents should be included into more precise categories. Tight passive and loose passive players are determined by the second attribute, therefore they can be targeted for re-stealing blinds. Tight aggressive opponents on the other hand need to be handled with care, and your re-steal attempts should not commit a large portion of your stack. Feel free to use your entire arsenal of moves against loose aggressive players, because these are the guys that you will be robbing of their blinds most often.