Posting Behind the Button

Posting the Blinds

Posting the BlindsAny time I don't have to be dealt in when in the two blind positions I make money. Except in very extraordinary situations, even the best players will lose money in the blinds. Any time I get a chance to not have to put in money in those two positions, god bless America. (More on blind play.)

Suppose you had these two choices: you could play nine hands a round, every round and put out $30 per round in the blinds (the normal way); or, you could play six hands a round, only pay $20 in one single blind, at the same time as two other players also put out blind money totaling $30), and be in second best position each time you do it. This isn't close (assuming a full game). If you could do this every round and your opponents couldn't, it would incredibly hard to lose.

Compare a normal round in a 20/40 game where you get nine hands in all the positions, and pay $30 in blinds when out of position with... being able to come in behind the button without paying ANY blind.

Okay, obviously coming in for free is better. Getting six free hands before posting the big blind is better than just posting the big blind.

So then the question is: how much would you have to post behind the button to make it not preferable? $1? $2? Nope, those are still clearly better. Where is the "cutoff" line?

A reasonable return in a 20/40 limit game is about $9 a round -- say 36 hands an hour, you make one big bet an hour, so (ignore different returns from different positions) call it a buck a hand. This is a piddly amount of money compared to the blinds. The blinds are everything in limit poker. Even if you don't count the positional advantage of posting behind the button as opposed to in front of it, and the MAJOR advantage of posting when there is $30 of *other* blind money in the pot, ignoring that, the big blind is the same $20 cost as posting in the cutoff. Does a player making $1 a hand want to pay $10 to get two hands (small blind and on the button)?

There is no value in taking the big blind rather than posting. Taking the big blind is a pure negative. You lose money, period. The only value in doing it is, you have to if you want to start or continue to play poker.

I don't think it is anywhere close to a wash. Besides the value of position, you have to consider that in one case you are putting $20 into a pot that already has $10 (the small blind) in it. In the other case you are putting $20 into a pot that already has $30 in it.

When you post $10 (in a $10/20) game, there is $15 of other money in the pot with you. If you post the big blind, there is only $5. While other people will play a bit tougher because of the extra dead money in the pot, posting behind gives you position in this larger-before-the-cards-are-dealt pot.

In a nine-handed game, you can get nine hands for $15, or $1.66 a hand... or when you post, six hands for $10, or $1.66 a hand. Two of those extra three hands are out of position. If you could post every time (and nobody else could), you'd be giving up a lot to take the blinds. The advantage is greater when blinds are 2-chip/3-chip instead of 1-chip-2-chip like in a $15/30 game, or if you are playing ten-handed instead of nine.

If you were to be allowed to play six hands a round, posting a single $20 blind when you are one behind the button, while all your opponents played nine hands a round putting in the normal blinds, there is no way a good player wouldn't destroy the game.

See also Battle for the Blinds and Attacking and Defending the Blinds