I do raise more than usual if isolated v the BB, especially if they have shown a willingness to fold. But mostly I fold… a lot. It’s a terrible position post flop, and can be tricky, even when I do have something worth playing.
Does anyone have any suggestion on how one should approach this position?
For reference, I would say I only play the top 15% of hands from that position, at least at a full table. I do open up as the field shrinks.
If someone opened from mid-position or earlier I tend to just play it very tight-aggressive and either 3bet with strong hands (say 88+/AQ+) or fold.
If someone opened from the button I’ll loosen up a bit but still tend to 3bet or fold.
If there are a bunch of limpers AND the player in the big blind is passive (so therefore unlikely to raise) then I might limp with some more speculative stuff (small pocket pairs or suited connectors) that wants a cheap flop and has decent playability multiway.
All of this is obviously very dependent on who’s at the table and how they’re playing. This is just my general starting point for preflop.
Postflop there are so many different situations to deal with that it’s hard to state general advice. One thing that is worth thinking about in general is your approach to check-raise bluffing. If you don’t have a solid strategy for this then you can become extremely easy to play against.
Not drastically different than what I’m doing, except maybe I heed to 3-bet more.
In the passive limpfest SnGs I’ve been playing, it’s just a tuff position.
I will also rethink my check-raise bluff game. As you all know, I hate to bluff. I do like the check raise bluff, but wouldn’t say I have a specific strategy for it. Food for thought, to be sure. Thanks!
I fold the SB a lot too. I don’t think it’s a big problem.
Position matters, but as fewer people remain in the game, it becomes less important. As you’ve found, when isolated against the BB, it can be a good strategy to raise and steal the blinds. Whether you are bluffing or have cards, denying the BB a free flop is often profitable.
While positioning is important, the cards you’re holding are also important. If you’re holding a top 15% hand, I think you can raise, and raise big if there are a lot of people still in the hand.
From early position, raises will be less profitable because players behind you will get out of the way more often, or when they do call, they’ll have something and you may lose the hand. It’s best to bet early, close the hand quick, and take a smaller pot.
You can also try feigning passive, and check-raise. This works well if you are confident that you hit the flop and are likely ahead, but can expect an opponent to bet on this street. It can be better to raise out of position and steal smaller pot than to check and be bet off the hand by someone acting later. If they do bet, and you have something you can always call or raise, of course. But if you are on a draw, consider a small blocking bet that will build the pot and discourage raises so you can control the hand to the extent the other players allow you to.
Basically, I don’t play the SB unless I have very good cards, or the table is short handed, or both.
I don’t play much from the SB a lot simply because it’s not that good of a position to play from. You are basically playing from UTG after the flop so you have the least information at the table. By information I mean your opponents and if they are going to bet their hand, how much they’ll bet or not bet at all.
My advice is if you have a strong hand from the SB like KQ, AK,or QJ, you can try to steal the pot preflop with a raise. If you have a hand like Aces or Kings in the SB you can see a flop by calling or make a small raise to not scare your opponents off their hands and build a pot to get value for your hand. Otherwise If I’m dealt bad cards I’m going to be folding a lot in the SB with the exception that if I have a history with an opponent and know they like to raise a lot preflop with not so strong hands, I’m more likely to call to see a flop depending on how much they raise.
In super-limpy type games, I play hands where the post-flop decision making is easy. I don’t play hands that are easily dominated, like K8o or A6o but will play all my small pocket pairs (22-77). If I’m going to be in a hand with the least information of anyone else, I want to have the easiest decision making process.
I’ll probably get roasted for this, but I am going to assume that some of the readers here don’t raise often or much preflop, since that is often what I see at tables. If the table is limping, I will often limp from the SB with any 2 cards (though I prefer connectors), and see what the flop gives me, since I already have chips in the pot. After the flop play is a bit trickier. You can check the flop to either give the table a sense of security or to see if/how much the other players bet and decide whether or not to fold. The other way to play it is to come out betting. Since you are first to act, you are making the other players react to your play. Think about it…you limped from the SB, so the rest of the table has no idea what you are holding. Those low cards that hit the flop are not likely to have helped anyone who limped in, but maybe they gave you 2 pair or a straight. If the flop misses you completely and looks to favor players who likely called preflop with decent hands, it is easy enough to fold and you haven’t lost many chips that weren’t already committed to the pot.
I agree with all this. And, as with every other kind of play, it depends on what stage of the tournament you are at (assuming that this is a tournament), what you table image is like, whether you are in our out of the prize money at this point, and what the relative stack sizes are. If the blinds are massive and it is folded to you in the small blind, the odds of the BB having a hand good enough to call a raise, but not good enough to resteal or reraise all-in are not that great, and even if he has two reasonable cards, the odds are against the flop hitting him, and if he has a small pair, the odds are against him improving on the flop. Can he call a raise and then call a one third pot continuation bet with nothing but an underpair? The possibilities are endless.
The other day I made the final table of a tournament based almost entirely on bluffing. I had to bluff. The best starting hands I had all game were KQ, 99, and 44. If you have a large stack in SB and BB has a small stack, it can be very profitable to attack limpers from the small blind with large preflop raises that make it look like you have QQ or better.
Isn’t this the only time BB has position advantage? Unless you’ve been paying attention to how the players sitting on your left plays, and so if you’ve seen the big blind repeatedly shying away from aggression, you can be more encouraged to raise from the SB.
I am a believer in playing Blinds very Nit unless folded to the small, then I play aggressive in Big, I think you should play a conservative approach from the small blind even in these blind-versus-blind situations.
But use caution and be selective about getting involved from the small blind. Better opportunities are out there — in fact, the button is just a fold away!