The Key To a Winning Preflop Poker Strategy – Fighting for the Blinds

The foundation of poker strategy all comes down to being a battle for the blinds. In fact, if you strip the game down to the bare essentials and only focus on how to attack or defend the blinds, and get good at just those two areas of the game, then you will be probably be a winning player. The way to do this is in learning to choose the correct frequencies on both fronts based on how your opponents play.

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While your adjustments should be made in varying frequencies based on the opposition, you are most required to alter your play based on extreme tendencies exhibited by opponents. In other words, look to go after the biggest offenders. If an opponent opens and his range falls in the “standard” range or tighter, then there is no┬áneed to go out of your way to target that player for light 3-bets or loose calls. Since he or she is folding fairly often, there is no pressure to adjust. The exception would be if that player either folds to 3-bet often, say over 75%, or has a low c-bet percentage and does not fight for pots post-flop.

The entire point of aggressive blind defense is to counterattack opponents who are opening extremely wide. Look for people who are stealing greater than 40% from the small blind * and 50% from the button or small blind as they are the best candidates to expand either your 3-betting ranges and/or your calling ranges. How you tailor those ranges entirely depends on the type of opponent you face.

Building Restealing Ranges

Versus aggressive opponents who are weak players or maniacs, look to mostly use a linear 3-betting range that includes hands that are either for value or that flop very well. Against competent regs, it’s usually better to polarize your 3-betting range from the big blind and use a 3-bet or fold strategy from the small blind. The stat to look for in determining which style to use is the fold the 3-bet stat. If a player folds to 3-bets a standard amount or higher, say 55% and up, tend to polarize your 3-bets. Otherwise, punish players who see too many flops with weak hands by using a linear 3-bet range that includes mid to high pairs and broadways.

Building Flatting Ranges

When we talk about flatting in the blinds, we are almost solely discussing big blind play. Except for some very good reasons, it should be rare to flat any hands from the small blind. This is due to our positional disadvantage as well as the fact that there is much less pressure to defend the small blind due to the small investment in the pot.

From the big blind we should expand all of our defending ranges commensurate with the stealing frequency of the opponent. A general rule of thumb is to 3-bet your value range, flat the hands not quite good enough to 3-bet, and then add in a 3-bet bluffing range that includes some trash that doesn’t flop that great but does well enough to turn a profit when fold equity is factored in. Against opponents who seldom fold, just drop the light 3-betting part of the range.

Table selection is key
The last thing we need to talk about is an often overlooked aspect of winning at poker, table selection. If you find yourself having to constantly adjust to the aggression of opponents, then it is likely you are not practicing good table selection.

I hope this information helps some of your more effectively battle for the blinds. For more information on the subject, including suggested frequencies as well a handy table selection priority chart, go to automaticpoker.com/fight.