While it is harder to get away with in low-limit games especially with loose players, this is a move you should know for many reasons. Here’s the scenario… Both blinds are in the seats just to your left, and so far, everyone has folded. It’s just you and the blinds. If you just call – OF COURSE they are going to call as their money is already in there. But remember, unlike the other players, they are not in their by choice, so there is a very likely chance they have weak hands. RAISE. Make them tell you if they have a hand or not – do not let them see the flop for “free”. More times than not both players will fold. This is a good general Hold’em betting strategy.
To go one step further…. If you are on the big blind, and so far, no one has called, don’t just check and let the small blind make half a bet to see the flop – raise him and make him put up half a bet PLUS a whole bet to see the flop. Again this will force someone to fold more often than not, but worse case, it lets you know if the player is holding a hand or not.
OK, one step further…. If you are on the small blind, and everyone has folded, and the big blind just checked, then raise. Make him post an unforced bet to see the flop. Again, he may fold or worst case, has at least indicated he’s holding a potential hand.
In low-limit games I see very few people who seem to know this move. Look for it. Look for those who have this scenario presented, but only check or place a single bet. Take note as it should be an indicator that this person is probably not a very skilled player.
How to defend from blind stealing? Re-Raise.
Knowing this move is not only great from an offensive perspective, it’s always nice to know when someone is trying to put it on you. You are in the blind seat, everyone’s folder and the person just to your right raised you… How to tell if this was a “position raise” and not a raise based on the cards he holds? Raise back. If he was trying to put a move on you, then re-raising will get him wondering what you’ve been dealt.
Sometimes this defense is not going to be enough in a single move, and the raiser will call. What do you do? See the flop and keep betting with confidence. If there is any decent card in the flop, like an Ace or King the raiser will start to wonder if you are holding a pair of Aces or Kings. Even if you are holding crap – bet! In this situation, if the initial raiser truly was bluffing you, it will probably take until 4th or 5th street before he decides to give up. If you get scared and start checking before then, he’ll sense the weakness and either force you to fold or take you to showdown.