MCU poker tip: Raising blind in blind games

You’ve probably seen a few wild and intimidating opponents “raise blind.” Blind means the action happens without the raiser even looking at his cards.

If you raise without looking at your cards, you’re giving up the ability to make rational decisions based on the quality of your hand. You’re also apt to look a bit silly and suggest to others that you’re not taking the game seriously. That’s exactly why I sometimes use this powerful psychological technique.

In short-handed games or when everyone has folded and I’m in the dealer position or in the small blind, I quite often raise without looking at my cards. And I make sure  my opponents know I’m raising blind. This turns out to be very cheap advertising. It enhances my image as a “gambler” — as somebody opponents are willing to play more loosely against, supplying me more profit in the future.

The cost

What does it cost? Not much, because — if my image is dynamic and my opponents are non-threatening and timid — I’m going to raise in those situations the majority of the time, anyway. Occasionally, I’ll find myself with a hand I might have folded, but even then, the average expected loss isn’t that great.

Sure, often I would have just called in the small blind, had I looked. That gives me the opportunity of maximizing my pot odds, especially if the big blind is timid and less likely to raise. So, by raising blind, I’m giving up the opportunity to see the flop very cheaply with medium hands.

Fine. It’s a sacrifice I’m often willing to make to enhance my image from the small-blind seat. And I also make raise without looking from the button quite often against two timid blinds.

Recovered

If you’re a knowledgeable and aggressive player with an edge against your opponents, you aren’t usually giving up anything by occasionally attacking from the button or small blind when nobody else has entered. The little you would lose against logical opponents is recovered through mistakes made by less-analytic opponents. You’ll also earn profit later on, because of your enhanced loose image.

Although raising blind is theoretically unprofitable, the mathematical sacrifice is usually only a small fraction of one bet, on average. Advertising in this way can often bring in much more in psychological benefits than it loses at face value. — MC

Published by

Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

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