Blind Raise -
1. Raising the hand before looking at your cards.
2. Raising a blind bet before subsequent action occurs.
In order to create
action, most poker games include a method of seeding
the pot before the cards are dealt. In stud games this is done with antes, in flop games it is accomplished with blinds. In both cases,
these are forced wagers, and they must be made prior to the initial deal. A forced wager is a wager that is required; the player does not
have any option and must wager if he wants to play. With the exception of raised blind games, forced wagers often occur before the action starts
This means that the majority of the action that takes place after the deal is optional. If a player is faced with an optional wager, they
will generally have the option to muck, bet, call or raise
This decision will be based on many factors, but a prime consideration is often the content of that player’s hand. So, typically, a player
will look at their hand before wagering, evaluate the situation, make a strategic wagering decision, and follow through with their action.
This is how raises are most commonly made. Sometimes a player may instead choose to raise without knowledge about the content of their
hand. This is called a blind raise. You may also hear it called a “dark raise.” Raising blind is not a common practice, because it is
usually a bad idea. Poker is a game in which strategic decisions are made based upon a panorama of information. Generally speaking,
the more information you have access to, the more effective you will be in your decision making. Obviously, being informed about the
contents of your hand makes a huge difference in this regard.
That being said, there are some perfectly reasonable justifications for making a blind raise. We will discuss a few of them here, and
you may encounter others we do not discuss. One common reason a player may want to raise in the blind is to establish a loose or
maniac table image. This can be a useful tool if you
are playing against players you have never seen before. Often, when players play against each other for the first time they try to
“get a line on” their opponents play. This means that they try to make an evaluation of their opponents overall playing style and ability in
a relatively quick time, based on a few of their opponents actions. Included in this evaluation is an analysis of what they believe their
opponent is and is not capable of. If a new player sits down in the game and immediately begins raising pots in the blind, the other players
are likely to form quick opinions about that player’s playing style and ability. These first impressions are formed quickly, and then become
hardened to a degree. This is a part of human nature, and there is a psychobiological basis for it. There is a lot of scientific work that has
been done on how the human brain reacts to and processes its first impressions of others, and scientists have even isolated the neural
Obviously, if your opponent is going to made quick assumptions about what kind of player you are, and what you are capable of doing in
the game, it may be worth burning a few small bets to throw them off the scent, especially since those opinions are likely to harden.
This is especially true if you expect to play against these same players in the future as well, as the initial impressions can be long
lasting and difficult to alter significantly after an initial evaluation is made. Many advanced players are well aware of the value of
generating false first impressions for their opponents, and many also guard themselves against hardening their own evaluations too
easily. This type of advanced strategic thought is an example of the “game within the game.”
Another legitimate reason to blind raise would be if everyone in the game is doing it. If you can count on your opponents to
voluntarily take the same disadvantage that you are willing to take, it levels the playing field to a degree, and ultimately benefits
the better players in the game. This is because a major change in gameplay, such as continuous blind raising from all players,
requires adjustments to your strategy. And the best players in the game will routinely adjust more effectively than the field.
A player may also choose to raise blind to “get the game out of the
muck.” There is an ebb and flow to the action in most poker
games. Sometimes, when a game is tight and boring, it
discourages action from all players. This in turn makes the game more boring and tight. It is difficult even for good players to make money
in this environment. Because of this, a player may elect to blind raise in the hopes of creating action that would break this cycle, and spill
over into subsequent hands.
You will also encounter a significant amount of blind raising which cannot be justified by profit based strategic reasoning. Remember,
not everyone plays poker for the same reasons, and winning doesn’t much matter to some people. Many players will tell you that they
will raise a pot in the blind because they “Just wanted to gamble,” or because they “Had a feeling.” When multiple players in the game
appear to be playing of fun, and do not seem to be motivated by profit, blind bets and blind raises can occur frequently. In this type
of game it is not uncommon for the first acting player to bet blind, as the dealer put out the flop. Sometimes you will even see the
first player bet out in the blind, while the next player raises in the blind, with a possible blind reraise from the player acting
third, and so on. All of this can occur after the initial round of betting, but before the flop is displayed. These are great games to
play in, both in terms of enjoyment value and profit potential, because of all the action.
Usage: Raise In The Blind, Make A Blind Raise, Raised Blind Game.
Previous Poker Term: Blind Off
Next Poker Term: Blocker