Blind v. Button Quiz

Here’s a quick hand setup, then a quiz, from a hand I played this afternoon because killing some time on a poker app beats the heck out of shopping, gift wrapping, dog walking, working, cooking and just about anything else. Although naps are nice.


It’s an online, mobile app-based cash game of no limit Hold’em with blinds of $1 and $2. I start the hand with $290 and the main villain has me slightly covered.

UTG+2 limps, CO limps, then button raises to $12. For purposes of this blog post, I’ll call him “Nick.” Nick is a very good player and a student of the game.

I am the big blind, with A9o.

After SB folds, $19 stares back at me from the pot and it’s $10 to call.


Should I…

   A. Fold

   B. Call

   C. Raise to $35 (or less)

   D. Raise to $36 (or more)

   E. Go all-in right now

NOTE TO SELF: WordPress probably has a tool somewhere that I could use to create a survey form here and tabulate results.

REPLY FROM SELF: Shut-up already. I’m not in the mood to learn shit right now.


I guess readers will offer their answers and/or rebuttals in the comments.

As played, I went with answer D, and raised to $42.

The value of real estate is mainly a function of location, location, location. And the value of a Texas Hold’em starting hand is mainly a function of position, position, position. In this hand, I have the worst position. #TheyAlwaysHaveIt  Nick is on the button, and the small blind has folded. As the big blind, I’ll be first to act on the flop, turn and river. That’s bad.

Making a somewhat larger raise negates some of Nick’s positional disadvantage. He should fold most of his range now, surrendering his positional advantage before it becomes useful. Even if I’m ahead now, an early (and small!) climax and $19 pot is a fine result with these cards in this position.

If the hand continues, I’ve shrunk the stack-to-pot ratio considerable, which reduces Nick’s betting leverage.

The supreme importance of position in Texas Hold’em is rivaled by the importance of aggression. I should re-raise here because I can offset Nick’s positional advantage, and because I have a range advantage over Nick. His range for attacking the limpers when he has the button has to be pretty wide, potentially including 30-40% of all starting hands.

Against Nick’s range, A9o has approximately 52 – 55% equity. My ace weakens his range, removing three AA combinations and 20 combos of AT+. An awful lot of hands remaining in his range will fold to my 3-bet, making the equity of re-raising better than the equity of calling. Does Nick really want a bloated pot against my range (unless he reads me as having a range as wide as his own).

The rest of the story

Nick called my raise. We should assume he is defending a much narrower range, and also should not rule out the possibility he is trapping with a monster.

Anyway. The flop was A98, followed by another 9. Easy game, right?

Nick had AKo.

Thanks to the good fortune of my pre-flop aggression, I could get all of my chips in with no over bets, the pot was too big for Nick to get away from it, and I doubled up nicely. Thanks Nick!

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