Ideal targets for re-stealing blinds

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.

Distinguish between Donks and Maniacs

For a beginner poker player, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between different types of opponents. The slightest error can lead to devastating outcomes for players trying to amass a sufficient bankroll for fueling their ambitions projects. Well before someone gets to weave a consistent strategy, that can work on various limits he needs to be fully aware of the environment in which he competes. The basic idea is to avoid better players while singling out the donkeys and maniacs and cashing in on their inability to properly play poker.

Even though these two categories of players are the ones that even a beginner can feed on, it is essential to make the distinction between them. There are many similarities but also some key differences that need to be taken into consideration, so that your own actions can be used to extract maximum profit from each play. The donkeys are generally regarded as the weakest players at the poker table, so it makes perfect sense that they are more numerous at lower limits.

If you are patient enough to increase your bankroll over a longer period of time, then you will benefit a lot from playing at this type of tables. A donk is pretty much a clueless player who tries to pick up things on the go and is prone to commit a string of costly mistakes that his opponents can take advantage of. These players tend to get involved in many pots but they don’t play them in an aggressive manner, and they play increasingly worse on turn and river.

While these are the kind of opponents that you will have an easier time bluffing on the final street, you should also know that they are highly unpredictable. Very often they play passively pre-flop and they don’t change anything in their game, hoping that they will eventually draw the winning cards. Donks are also prone to bluff on the river if they fail to complete a straight or flush, so if you have identified such an opponent it is justified to call him on the final street with a decent hand.

Maniacs have a similar way of playing but only in terms of lack of coordination, as they lack a coherent strategy. The difference between them and donkeys is that maniacs have no hesitations in taking on better opponents and they do everything in their power to become the focal point of attention at the poker table. Since there is no better way of staying in the spotlight than by raising every single hand, this is the course of action they prefer and that’s why they should be handled with care.

Even if you are usually playing a loose aggressive style of poker, when encountering such foes it is wise to tighten up and narrow down the range of cards you play. Sooner or later, the maniac with commit a mistake and will provide you with the opportunity to make him pot committed and force him to go all in. The best thing is that the maniac doesn’t need too many incentives to shove his chips, because these types of players can’t stand the idea of being bullied around by other opponents.

One thing that players should refrain from is antagonizing with either of these players, because nothing good will come out of it. Whether you are tempted to teach them what needs to be done, or criticize their poor way of playing poker, you would only diminish your chances of winning pots against them. What you need, is to have them stick around for as long as possible because it is only a matter of time until their lack of experience and fundamentally flawed style of playing will cause them to lose all their money.

A popular poker saying states that if you are not capable of identifying the fish at the poker table, then you might well be it. The same goes with a donkey, especially at lower limits where good players rarely venture and the ones populating the tables are mostly inexperienced ones. If you get the feeling that everyone around you is playing better poker then you do, don’t hesitate to move to a different table and keep looking for weaker opponents.