Most of the chips won a tournament surely do come from big pots and some lucky hands, but the amount of them gained in small pots or stealing the blinds is equally important…or even more!
There’s not much skill required when it comes to talk about playing AA preflop, but in mastering a good strategy every hand of a tournament lies the real meaning of being able t play poker at a higher level.
One of the most easiest trick to learn to make sure you are less exposed to variance in big spots is getting as much chips as possible out of the cards you are deals; stealing the blinds is one of the best ways to get a nice stack without much risk or effort.
When should I try to steal the blinds?
Short answer: whenever you can. If the players sat at your left are on the right side, from CO and BTN you might want to try to steal the blinds very often. If you keep opening from late position someone will end up noticing your tendencies and will start to call or 3bet you, but as long as it doesn’t happen, just go ahead and raise them all.
If you raise to 3bb and they all fold, you get an instant profit of 1.5bb; to make this move profitable you have it to succeed more than 66% of times and in most games it is not that hard given players are usually bad and they do care more about what they hold rather than focusing on what’s happening around them.
Should I steal blinds from SB?
Good question. It’s more tricky because you would be out of position against the player on the big blind; plus, he just have to add a small amount in chip to play a spot in position against the very aggressive player on his right (that would be you). If the player on the BB is pretty close, you can just try to go ahead and steal his BB; if he tends to play many hands, likely you can let it go.
What about sizes?
The regular 3bb raise is good in most of the cases. If your opponents are really tight, from BTN also raising 2.5bb is fine, but never get tempted to raise to 2bb from the SB, because the odds would be just too good for the BB to call the difference and play the spot in position.
Stealing the blinds is a strategy that could prove as building a bank where you go to withdraw chips almost for free. If you increase your stack slowly but steadily 1.5bb per round, the cooler for 20bb you got losing KK vs AA will not be as bad as it would be without having piled up so many chips before.