In this post, we are yet again tackling the toughest spot on the table to play from the Small Blind.
This area deserves a lot of thought because if we can improve our game plan in this spot we will drastically improve our win rate.
We have already looked at our game plan for how we play from the Small Blind Vs Big Blind but today we are tackling a different animal altogether… How should we play from this position when facing a raise?
When we try and call from the Small Blind
There are some huge problems with calling raises from this position, the first one being even when we decide our hand is good enough to call with we aren’t closing the action, therefore we can get raised out of the pot from a Big Blind squeeze.
If we are playing in a cash game whenever we call from the small blind and take a flop we will then be paying rake! Which will eat away at our win rate.
Another pointer is that our range will be capped for the times we enter the pot with a call, therefore we are going to just get blown off the pot so much of the time post-flop because we have already waved a little flag that says “We’re not strong”.
The final point is that we are going to have a hard time realising our equity from this position and the Villian will have a much better chance of realising theirs.
So overall, not much to write home about when it comes to flat calling a raise from this position.
3-Betting the Small Blind
Firstly when we 3-Bet we now have an un-capped range, meaning we can have a tonne of strong hands and are less likely to look weak and get out-played post-flop.
For the times we win the pot pre-flop we win the pot without paying rake in cash games and thus improve our win-rate!
We can’t get squeezed out of the pot! Unless we face a cold 4-Bet from the Big Blind but that is a completely different range entirely.
Some Rules of Small Blind Play
Look to play from the Small Blind using flat calls when the Big Blind is a weak player that you want in the pot. Good hands to use in these scenarios are hands that play well in single raised pots, so hands like small pocket pairs i.e 22–77.
It’s worth noting though that these small pocket pairs are going to play very poorly from this position in general so they are worth taking out of our range most of the time unless we are against some very poor players we feel will make huge mistakes against us post-flop and thus giving us better implied odds.
Other good hands to use in these spots are hands like A9o, QJo, KTo etc, the reason behind this is because whilst these hands can make strong top pair type hands in single raised pots if we use these to 3-Bet then we are limiting our opponents range to include only stronger hands that may well dominate these types of holdings.
3-Bet of Fold
Other than these type of examples of roping in worse players into the pot we will generally want to only be playing a strong part of our range from the Small Blind and entering the pot with a 3-Bet.
Good hands to use will be suited connectors like T9s+ QTs+ KJo+ K9s+ A2s-A5s, A9s+ AJo+ and 88+ these types of ranges will give us a decent amount of board coverage with the mix of suited connectors pairs and broadways in our range.
Applying this tighter play to your game from this position is going to win you a tonne more in your games, because what some people forget about poker is that chips saved in bad spots are the same as chips won.
If you plug your leaks in spots like this then you will get a massively better win rate and get in much better positions to play post-flop.
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