With two blinds, the small blind is posted by the player immediately clockwise from the button, and the big blind is posted by the player two positions clockwise from the button. With more than two blinds, the little blind is normally left of the button (not on it).
- Small blind Small blind is the worst position in poker, because sitting in that position you will act first in all the betting rounds excluding preflop (on the preflop small blind is acting penultimate). The key moment for playing from that position is the strength of your hand. You should play only your strongest hands from that position.
- The big blind, posted by the player to the left of the small blind, is equal to the minimum bet. In tournament poker, the blind/ante structure periodically increases as the tournament progresses. After one round of betting is done, the next betting round will start by the person after the big blind and small blind.
- Blind structure for a fast tournament Participants: 10 Duration: about 1.75 hours Starting stack: 2,000 Chips 1 x 500 Chip 12 x 100 Chips 12 x 25 Chips The blind levels: Level Small Blind Big Blind Time 1 25 50 00:15 2 50 100 00:30 3 75 150 00:45 4 100 200 01:00 5 200 400 01:15 6 400 800 01:30 7 800 1,600 01:45.
- The amounts of the blinds are fixed and determined before the game begins. Usually the “big blind” is equal to the smallest bet possible, while the little blind is 1/2 or 1/3 of that amount. So, if the minimum bet was $3, the big blind would place a forced bet of $3 and the little blind might put out $1.
Preflop, the two players seated to the left of the dealer must place required bets before any hand is dealt, which are known as the ‘blinds’. The player immediately to the left of the dealer is the ‘small blind’ (SB), and the player to the left of the SB is the ‘big blind’ (BB). After each hand, the position of the dealer, SB, and BB rotates around the table in a clockwise direction (to the left) for as long as the game goes on, giving all players the chance to be in these positions.
To start a new hand the SB and BB players must put out, or ‘post’, their required blind amount, before the cards are dealt,. The blinds are forced bets and are required to remain in the pot. The blinds must be matched by the other players in order to keep and play their hands. The amount posted by the SB and BB will be used as a credit toward a call or raise from the players in the blind. (For instance, if no player raises the big blind, that player already has enough in the pot to see the flop for ‘free’.)
The first stage of the game is known as preflop.
Once the SB and BB bets are placed in front of those players, the dealer will shuffle and deal each player two cards face down. Cards are to be dealt one at a time in a clockwise direction, from left to right.
The SB receives the first card and the player with the dealer button receives the last card. These are called the players’ ‘hole cards’ or ‘pocket cards’. Once all players receive their hole cards, the player seated next to the BB player begins the betting round.
Each player, in turn, may either ‘call’ (match the current bet amount), ‘raise’ (bet a larger amount, that is at least double the amount of the current bet), or ‘fold’ (quit the hand, pushing their cards, face down, into the middle of the table, to be placed in a discard pile known as the ‘muck’.)
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The minimum or lowest amount that can be bet must be equal to the amount posted by the big blind. Players can bet more than the minimum, this is called ‘raising’. If a player raises, that amount will be the new minimum for this round of betting.
The betting continues around the table in a clockwise direction. When the action reaches the player in the small blind position, that player can either call the bet, by putting in additional chips to match the largest bet amount, or fold, forfeiting their chips to the pot.
The last person to act preflop is the big blind. The BB player has the option to raise, check, or fold. As long as a player has not raised the BB amount, the BB player is entitled to play the hand. By checking, the BB player would not be required to place any additional chips into the pot. If the BB player wishes to raise, the betting round would continue around the table until each player has matched the bet or folded his hand.
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Continue reading about the rules of the next betting round called the flop.