Small Blind Definition

Poker Blinds

by Jesse Knight


Small Blind
Small Blind - The smaller of two or more forced bets posted prior to the deal in a flop game or a draw game.

Most flop and draw games use blinds to seed the pot and create action. Blinds are forced bets that are usually posted to the left of, or in some cases directly on, the dealer button before the start of the deal. Games which by rule use two or more blinds will typically have one big blind and either one or two small blinds. The small blind, which is also occasionally referred to as the “little blind,” is generally posted to the left of the dealer button, with the player to his immediate left posting the big blind. Small blinds are also sometimes posted on the dealer button if you are playing in a game with three blinds, a forward moving button rule, or when you are playing heads up. In heads up play, the small blind is posted on the button, and the button is first to act before the flop.

When the game goes from being three handed to heads up, there is sometimes confusion about who is to have the big blind and who is to have the button. The important thing to remember here is that the placement of the button heads up is determined by who must take the big blind. No one is allowed to miss their big blind, even as a result of the game getting heads up. Therefore, when the game gets heads up, the player who is next in line to take the big blind must take it, and the button and small blind go by default to the other player.

In all flop games and draw games, on the initial betting round before the flop, the action starts with the player to the left of the big blind. This gives the small blind late position, with the large blind acting last before the flop. After the flop, the button is entitled to last action on every betting round for the remainder of the hand. This means that the small blind is the first to act on each of these betting rounds.

In pot limit and no limit games, the big blind usually establishes the minimum bet requirement for the entire hand. This means that anytime that a player wishes to bet, so long as they are not facing a larger established wager, they must bet at least the amount of the big blind. In a limit game, which typically features small bet and big bets, the small bet is generally set at an amount equal to the big blind, and the big bet is set at double the big blind. When an even number of chips is used for the big blind, as in a 2/4 game with a 1-2 blind structure, or a 4/8 game with 2-4 blinds, the small blind is typically set at 50% of the big blind. If an odd number of chips are used for the big blind, as with a game with a 3/6 betting structure, the small blind will be set at either one third or two thirds of the large blind. The reason for this is that it is simply too much hassle to put a half sized chip into play, simply to achieve a blind structure of 1.5-3. Instead we will generally have a game with either a 1-3 blind structure or a 2-3 blind structure.

Depending upon which blind structure a casino chooses to use, there can be a significant impact on proper strategy and correct blind play. The 1-3 structure provides much less incentive for players to call and defend raises than the 2-3 blind structure. This is because, with 1-3 blinds, the small blind has only one chip invested and must produce two more to call and five more to defend against a preflop raise from another player. Alternatively, with a 2-3 blind structure, the small blind only needs to produce one additional chip to call or four to defend against a raise. Clearly, you will have better pot odds to play from the small blind in a game with a 2-3 blind structure as opposed to a 1-3 structure.

Usage: Stole My Small Blind, All In From The Small Blind, Big and Little Blinds

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