One poker strategy that can separate a winning player from a losing/break even player is the ability to steal blinds from others when the right situation presents itself. Sure blind stealing isn’t going to rocket you into the next Forbes billionaires list, but it can definitely give you an edge over others at the table – even if it’s just by a little bit.
The first thing that you need to know about blind stealing is that you need to be in the right type of game to pull this maneuver off. If you are playing in a micro stakes game then you’re probably not in the right place to try stealing blinds, unless you are being very observant and can be confident that the other players at the table, especially in the blinds, are capable of folding to your late position raises.
Players in micro stakes will often play just about anything so stealing blinds here is a futile act. The same thing can be said about $1/$2 live poker games, which tend to have a lot of loose-passive fish that like to see flops.
If you’re going to try and steal blinds when playing poker online then you should at least be playing limits of at least $0.10/$0.25 no-limit hold’em where there are some decent players who actually have a fear of playing a hand when they have nothing. Stealing blinds also requires you to create a table image so you need to play somewhat tight in order to create an image that you’re not raising from late position with just anything.
If your blind steals are working well then it’s highly likely the players to your left are tight and waiting for good starting hands they can call/raise with. Don’t wrongly assume that because you have attempted a few blind steals in a row, you shouldn’t try again in fear of them playing back at you or thinking you are on a bluff this time. The only time you want to make an adjustment and revert back to a tighter style of play is when stealing the blinds is no longer working for you once players have catched on what you are doing. But until then keep pounding on the players in the blinds.
Furthermore, just because players are calling you, although not ideal when attempting to steal blinds, it doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to win the hand. Some loose players are exploitable after the flop and will fold every time they miss since they’re playing fit/fold poker, which is going to happen a significant percentage of the time, and you will take down the pot with a continuation bet. This play will have a higher success rate when you have just one preflop caller.
One last thing to keep in mind when you are blind stealing is that you don’t want to do it as often when you have any loose-aggressive players to your left at the table, as they will be looking to re-steal by 3betting light, as well as looking to play pots against you as they will feel they can outplay you post flop. Sure the loose-aggressive players may not always have something when they call/raise, but you also don’t want to have them call when you’ve got absolutely nothing. Therefore, blind stealing should be done with hands that have decent equity that can flop well and make big hands, not garbage hands like Q6/J4 that never flop well unless you are lucky to hit trips once every blue moon.
Here’s an example of blind stealing in 6-max.