A blind is a forced bet made by one or two players before the cards are dealt in a poker game. It is not blind, but an ante, if a pre-deal bet is required of all players in a game, rather than just one or two. Some games that normally require blinds (such as Hold 'em) may also require antes, depending on the house rules. Posting the blind refers to the act of a player placing chips on the table to fulfill his or her obligation to make a blind.
Blinds are thought to be alive. This means that the betting action begins after the players who posted blinds (as if the players had originally bet those amounts), but when the action circles back around the table to them, a player who posted a big blind has the option to raise the pot. This is the only time a player can ostensibly "raise themselves," but since their original bet was blind and without the benefit of cards, this is done to give the blind player a fair chance to raise the pot if they wish.
Blind refers to action taken before the deal when used as an adjective. When a player makes a "blind call" or "raises blind," this is usually used in conjunction with a betting action. A "blind raise" is often referred to as a "straddle" or a "live (number)," referring to both the amount of the raise and the fact that it is life (for example, in a 2/4 limit game, a blind raise must be to $4, and is often referred to as a "live four"; in a 5/10 game, a blind raise could be referred to as a "live ten").
The term "blind" refers to the fact that players are forced to bet on their hands without seeing their cards (i.e., bet as if they believed their hands were the best).
In most poker games with blinds (such as Hold 'em or Omaha), both a small and a big blind are used. The seat immediately to the left of the dealer button is the small blind, and the seat immediately to the left of the small blind is the big blind. In addition, anyone entering a cash game must either post the big blind or wait for the big blind before being dealt his first hand.
The small blind's blind amount is usually half that of the big blind, though it can vary or be rounded up or down depending on the casino. The big blind in limit hold'em, or any other poker game with a fixed-limit betting structure, is usually the same as the fixed limit on the preflop betting round (unless the pot is a kill pot). Because the big blind counts as a full bet in a poker room with a "one bet and three raises" betting limit, the big blind is already considered the original bet in that limit. The relevant portion of a bet is the small blind. so when the action gets to the small blind then s long as the pot hasn't been raised he's only required to post the remaining portion to stay in the hand.
In some casinos, the player on the dealer button is also required to post a big blind, which serves as a backup big blind. This "button blind" acts like a big blind in every other way, including the fact that it is alive.
It is not necessary to use both a small and a big blind in poker games. Even games that require blinds to build the pot can be played with just one blind (the big blind), though this tends to reduce the amount of betting action in the game because there is only one player who has pre-committed to the pot.
Being in the blind for that hand means sitting in a seat where you had to post a blind for the current hand. The phrase is used throughout the hand, including after the deal, to indicate that you were one of the players who had to post a blind at the beginning. Because they were already partially or fully into the pot for a bet before the deal, blind players typically play a much wider range of hands.
When a player says they're doing something "in the dark," the phrase "in the blind" is sometimes misinterpreted. Given how similar the terms are, it's easy to see how they could be mixed up.
As previously stated, house rules may stipulate that antes be installed in addition to the blinds. When antes are used, they typically range in size from one-twentieth to one-quarter of the value of the big blind. In most cases, players in the blinds only post the required blind, rather than the blind and ante combined. In tournaments with both antes and blinds, the ante usually grows in size about the big blind as the tournament progresses.
A big blind special is when you get an unlikely hand in the big blind and then hit the flop with it, oftentimes hard. It's very common in low limit hold'em. Unusual two-pairs or straights are common big blind specials (e.g. a player with 4-7 offsuit getting in for "free" on the big blind would be overjoyed to see a flop of 3-5-6 rainbow on the flop since it gives them the nut straight).
The small blind, meanwhile, is already halfway into the pot and will frequently call the remaining half bet with questionable holdings. Getting a small blind special occurs when a position hits the flop hard (of course).
Blinds are used in cash games, also known as ring games, to ensure that all players are subject to a minimum, ongoing cost for participating in the game. This encourages players to play hands they might not have otherwise, increasing the average size of the pots and, as a result, the rake earned by the cardroom hosting the game.
In cash games, the blinds are usually fixed for each table and do not change throughout the game. Many cardrooms, on the other hand, will allow blind levels to be changed if all players agree to it. Tables with different blind levels are common in larger cardrooms, giving players the option of playing at whatever stakes they are most comfortable with. Blinds in online poker can be as low as one cent and as high as $1,000 or more.
The big blind is usually used to determine the minimum and maximum buy-ins at a table. The minimum buy-in for live games is usually between 20 and 50 big blinds, with a maximum buy-in of between 100 and 250 big blinds. Some online cardrooms offer "short stack" tables with a maximum buy-in of 50 big blinds or less, as well as "deep stack" tables with a minimum buy-in of 100 big blinds.
Special rules are required to deal with players who miss their blinds in cash games that do not deal cards to players who are absent from the table at the start of the hand (or, in online games, are designated as "sitting out").
In such a situation, if a player misses his or her big blind, he or she will not be dealt in again until the button has passed. At that point, if the player wishes to rejoin the game, he or she must "super-post" - he or she must post both the big and small blinds to be dealt cards. Of these, only the big blind is considered "live" while the small blind is "dead" - it is placed in the center of the pot apart from the big blind and will not count towards calling any additional bets or raises by other players. If the player has only missed the small blind, then the same procedure applies except that the player only has to post the "dead" small blind to rejoin the game. Most cardrooms allow players to relieve themselves of these obligations if they wait until they are again due to post the big blind before rejoining the game.
Some live cash game cardrooms do not allow players to miss or avoid paying blinds this way. Regardless of whether or not they are present at the table, all players with chips on the table are dealt in. The dealer, another cardroom employee, or a nearby player under staff supervision will post any blinds due from the player's stack, depending on the cardroom's rules. When a player does not return to the table before his turn to act, his hand is automatically folded. Under such rules, the only way for a player to avoid paying blinds is to leave the table. A player's hand is automatically folded if he or she has not returned to the table by the time it is his or her turn to act. If a player wishes to leave the table, the only way to avoid paying blinds is to cash out and leave the game entirely.
Blinds have two functions in poker tournaments. Blinds are used for a variety of purposes, including determining how long the tournament will last. The players will agree to a blinds structure before the tournament begins, which is usually set by the tournament organizer. This structure determines the length of each round and the amount by which the blinds increase each round. They are typically increased at a steady rate of between 25% and 50% per round over the previous round. To stay in the game as the blinds rise, players must increase their chip counts (or "stacks"). If a player does not play to win more, the blinds will eventually consume his or her entire stack.
In contrast to many cash games, a player cannot "miss" blinds in a tournament. If a player is absent from the table, his or her cards will continue to be dealt and mucked, and blinds and, if applicable, antes will be deducted from his or her stack as they are due, either until he or she returns, or until blinds and antes have completely consumed his or her stack. "Blinded off" refers to a player who loses all of his or her chips in this manner.
Ascertain that by the time the tournament's desired duration is reached, it will be extremely difficult for players with small stacks to remain in the game. Players with smaller stacks are forced to play aggressively, either increasing their chip count or losing everything quickly as a result.
Ascertain that players do not have a large stack about the blind level in general.
An ante can be added to increase the pressure to win more chips if desired.
Before any cards are dealt, poker blinds are mandatory bets that must be placed into the pot. The players who sit in the "small blind" and "big blind" seats at the table pay the blinds each hand.
Blinds are bets that some players in certain positions around the table must place before the flop in poker. Ante bets are bets that the entire table must place before the flop. Blinds and antes are even more important in tournaments because they will increase over time.
A player who "deals off" (plays the button and then gets up to change seats) can allow the blinds to pass the new seat once and reenter the game behind the button without posting a blind. At limit poker, except in certain games, a live "straddle bet" is not permitted.
Pulling the loose cord or strings in one direction will roll the blind or shade up and lock it in place. The lock will be released and the blind will be lowered if the strings are pulled in the opposite direction.
The purpose of a straddle is to "purchase" the privilege of the last action, which is normally given to the player in the big blind in the first round of blinds.