WATCH: Poker star Daniel Negreanu gives another masterclass in YouTube video

  • Daniel Negreanu shares some tips on defending your blinds in No Limit Texas Hold’em
  • Play the pots when odds are in your favor, but don’t tangle with strong players out of position

Most poker players, amateurs and professionals alike, know that playing from the blinds is one of the most important and most difficult parts of the game to master. Figuring things out on your own is hard, and it can cost you some money along the way, so tips from those who know what they are talking about are more than welcome. A recently published short video by Daniel Negreanu, 6-time WSOP bracelet winner and the All Time Money List leader touches upon this topic, explaining some finer points of defending your blinds in No Limit Texas Hold’em.

Watch the YouTube video below

Dealing with min-raises

The first point Daniel discusses in the four-minute video is how to react to min-raises when in the big blind. The trend of min-raises, i.e. raising to, for example, $400 when blinds are $100/$200 has been present for a few years now, and players are often uncertain how to react. They are getting great odds, with so much dead money in the pot, but is it worth it to see the flop when your hand is very weak?

According to Negreanu (and some other pros might disagree), it is, nearly 100% of the time. You are getting such good odds that no matter how weak your hand is, it is worth paying an extra blind to see the flop and try to make a huge hand. If you don’t, you lost just one big blind extra.

Don’t overplay your hands

While the math is on your side when making calls out of the big blind, Negreanu cautions players to tread lightly when seeing flops from the big blind. You’ll be out of the position for the remainder of the hand, which can put you in a lot of awkward spots. For example, you could flop a weak two pair hand, which is relatively strong overall, but you shouldn’t be rushing to put all of your chips in the middle.

One of the key aspects to defending your blinds is staying calm, composed, and not overplaying your hands. Even when you hit two pair with a hand like 9-3 on a 9-8-3 board, your opponent could still have you beaten right then and there, or your hand could get counterfeited by another 8 on the turn. Take every hand individually and play it according to your general read of your opponent and any information you can gather during the hand.

Keep it tighter against tougher opponents

Finally, although odds may be in your favor, there are situations where you’re probably better off folding your weak hand before the flop and moving on, says Negreanu. This is particularly true when the original raiser is a player you perceive as a tough opponent you don’t believe you have an edge against.

Playing a weak hand out of the position against a good player can be a real nightmare and can cost you a lot of chips, as you can’t really expect them to make a big mistake. Hence, you’ll be putting yourself in a position where you could risk your entire stack thinking you’re ahead, only to get the bad news delivered to you at the showdown. Tangling with tough opponents when you’re out of position is hard enough even when you have the goods, so there is absolutely no reason to get involved with trash hands, even if you are getting the right price.

Negreanu’s frequently updated channel can be viewed here

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