Playing poker, blind

April 23, 2008

Not “blind” as in from the big blind/small blind, but “blind” as in not seeing my cards.

Recently I watched the $4-180 tournament that annette_15 claims she played and won without seeing her cards. Apparently she says she looked once when someone shoved on her or something. There were some fortuitous shoves with AK and other good hands, but lots of other aggression and suckouts with weak hands too as well as some folds of KK preflop, so I think I believe her. I also think that she’s done this more than once and just made the hand history for this one available because she happened to win it.

This is something that I’ve been meaning to try for some time and I think that I’ll make another project of it. I tried one last night, so I’ll review that game first, then think about objectives and application.


First try, a 25,000 play money SnG. In the past I’ve found these to play fairly reasonably, somewhere comparable to $1 real money SnGs. Not that that’s saying much, but it’s better than a freeroll or low play money situations. This one was a weak one though; multiple limps, a few preflop raise attempts that were called in 3 or 4 places, ect. My plan was to avoid any hands for the first orbit or so to see how the table plays and how the players play, but there was so much crappy limping that I ended up some 20+ hands in before doing much of anything. The one hand I did play/win I think there was one limper and the SB, a low paired flop that I bet at, called by the limper, and then I bet harder at the turn and he folded. I kept the hand history up so it was fun to look and see that I had K9o which had no connection with the flop at all. My first successful blind play!

Unfortunately the play was so poor that I kept forgetting to pay attention :/. More than once I had to take myself away from whatever I had loaded up in the browser window and remind myself to watch the game.

I won another hand from the BB betting the turn when no one bet the flop, then betting the river to get the caller to fold. Took a few blinds shoving when the blinds rose, folded one of my preflop raises to a shove from the button (T3o probably not good here 🙂 ) Doubled up when I shoved one hand and got called by a blind. Funny enough, not only did I win when I rivered a Q, but my hand turned out to be KQ so it wasn’t even embarrassing to have gone all in with less than 10 BBs. Took one hand in a blind battle when the SB minbet the flop and I raised 3x. A couple of orbits later he minbet the flop again so I decided to call instead. He minbet again on the the turn and I raised 4x. He paused and shoved so I called, getting like 3-2 pot odds even though I had no idea what hand I had. The truly amazing part was that I had A9 on a J high board, but he was minbetting/shoving over my raise with AT on a totally missed board as well. My excuse was that I didn’t know what my cards were; wtf was his thinking? 😮


Definitely an interesting experience. Takes me back to my entry about separating “me” and my on-line persona. Again I’m putting “myself” at risk making plays without knowing what my cards are so I feel newly vulnerable. I will try some more play money games but if the quality of play keeps up like this I may need to move to real money as it’s hard to play against really weak players.

  • I have to make a conscious attempt to get in some pots in position, either limping behind or more raising of limpers in position. As it was the only hands I played through the first 5 or 6 orbits were 2 that I took from the blinds. Later I raised/shoved from later positions but the blind to stack ratio was too high to play postflop. I want to do some postflop play so I need to get into some hands when the blinds are smaller.
  • The old bet/raise/fold exercise still shows it’s usefulness here as I have to be able to get off hands if I don’t have good pot odds. ‘Course, it’s easier to give up on a hand when you have no idea what it is 🙂
  • I have to work on the visual system. I could see through the sticky note sometimes, and it also covered my stack size which I need to be able to see. Plus, on this site the play money hand description shows up in the corner of the screen so I have to hide that as well.


I’m not in these to win or even to ITM. My chances are much lower than in the previous projects, and other than playing “well”, the results don’t even matter. On the other hand, donking out early because of useless aggression doesn’t teach me anything either.

I need some kind of objective, some kind of evaluation method. I’m after

  • hand reading,
  • weakness/strength reading,
  • board-based bluff reading

Preflop shoves when I’m small stacked doesn’t count for much, either than picking appropriate stacks/stats/position to do so.

Raising, c-betting and taking down pots doesn’t count for too much either except for appropriate stacks/stats/position, plus flop/opponent evaluation for c-bets.

Folding to preflop raises doesn’t count for much either.

3-betting preflop raises and taking down the pot would count.

Pushing off a preflop raiser or someone who bets weakly at a board would count.

Stealing unclaimed pots would count.

I can’t call down a LAG or maniac. Well, I guess I could, but without knowing what I have I still might lose. They might at least have Ace high against my J high.

Maybe I can come up with some sort of point system.

  • One point for successful 3-bets, donks, post-flop raise-steals, pot steals. Basically for any pots except BB walks and,
  • 1/2 point for successful raise/c-bet and shortstack shove, or maybe I should just get full credit for these as well, and
  • one point for each position survived.

And negatives for

  • getting slowplayed, even limped AA late,
  • getting bluffed (flop and later)

Of course the negatives can only count if the get shown.


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