Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Protecting the Blinds

Preamble: My gracious employer has decided to block web access to blogger.com. Lovely. So I'm posting this through a terminal session where I'm connected to my Linux server. As such spell checking and previewing posts will be a little difficult using Lynx :)

I'm going to relay a couple of instances where protecting the blinds can be seen as a decent play, but each scenario has mixed results.

I'm holding J,7 offsuit in the small blind and there are 5 callers prior to having the action. At this point, I'm getting huge pot odds to call. The flop is J,9,7 leaving me with top and bottom pair. As the pot right now is T150, I bet out a pot sized bet. Here's where I make an assuredly stupid play. I'm re-raised all in by someone in late position. I called. I didn't even think about what hands that player could play from that position without raising. 7's? 9's? That would require a raise I think, but did I even remotely consider him holding J,9? Um, no. Well that's what he had and I'm out.

Scenario 2: I'm holding J,4 spades and there are 4 callers so again I limp in. The flop is all spades. I know my J-high flush is OK, but I'm doomed if another spade falls for sure. But I bet out to clear the field a bit and am called by one player. The turn is not a spade and I bet out, but am raised. I re-raise and am just called, so now I've put my opponent on a single high spade. The river is not a spade either and I bet out a half-pot sized bet and am simply called. I ended up winning the hand without seeing my opponents cards, but by the winning hand description in the message area, I'm told I won with a flush with a J-kicker. So my opponent had 2 baby spades for a lesser flush.

So I'm thinking that protecting the blinds can be a good play, but you have to be very aware post flop of how well the flop has hit your hand. In both instances above, the flop hit me pretty well; but only in one hand did I win. I should have layed down the first hand but didn't. After playing these two hands, I'll have to put some consideration when you should protect your big blind. Since it's an extra full bet at least, pot odds will be less that what you'd get proteting the small blind.

Anyway, just some more rambling thoughts.

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