Definitions

blind poker

Blind (poker)

The blinds are forced bets posted by players to the left of the dealer button in flop-style poker games. The number of blinds is usually two, but can be one or three.

The blinds exist because Omaha and Texas hold 'em are frequently played without antes, allowing a player to fold his hand without placing a bet. The blind bets introduce a regular cost to partake in the game, thus inducing a player to enter pots in an attempt to compensate for that expense.

Generally, the "big blind" is equal to the minimum bet, and is twice as much as the "small blind". The small blind is posted by the player to the left of the dealer button while the big blind is posted by the player to the left of the person sitting in the small blind. After the cards are dealt, the player to the left of the big blind is the first to act during the first betting round.

Blinds in tournament play

In poker tournament play, blinds serve a dual purpose. In addition to the purpose explained above, blinds are also used to control how long the tournament will last. Before the tournament begins, the players will agree to a blinds structure, usually set by the tournament organizer. This structure defines how long each round is and how much the blinds increase per round. Typically, they are increased at a smooth rate of between 25% and 50% per round over the previous round. As the blinds increase, players need to increase their chip counts (or "stacks") to stay in the game. The blinds will eventually consume all of a player's stack if he or she does not play and win more.

Goals

There are two main goals for the blinds structure:

  1. Ensure that by the time the desired duration of the tournament is reached, it will be very hard for players with small stacks to stay in the game. This forces players with smaller stacks to play them aggressively, thus increasing their chip count or losing everything quickly.
  2. Ensure that players, in general, do not have a large stack relative to the blind level.

If desired, antes can be added to further increase the pressure to win more chips.

Example

If each player in a tournament starts with 5,000 in chips and after 4 hours, the big blind is 10,000 (with a small blind of 5,000), it will be very difficult for a player with only 15,000 in chips to stay in the game.

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