Dealing with a blinds thief / stealing the blinds / defending your blind

It happens all the time in Hold’em: you’re in the big blind and some jackass goes to steal your big blind.  Stealing blinds is good money in a casino that doesn’t rake until the flop, but to be successful at it you have to be able to play after the flop or pick on a weak player who always folds to your raise.  Take the situation I’ve shown below:

Math-2 Assuming you’ve got a small or medium pair, nines through twos, your odds against anything from a tight raiser through a loose raiser are pretty good.  Assuming your opponent is willing to raise with 12% of his hands, you and him are 44%/56%.  Assuming he’d steal with half of all the hands he is dealt, you’re actually a slight favorite (54.5% / 45.5%).

Though you’re not going to have the advantage of position, if you can play after the flop you might be able to take control of the hand if you hit one of your hole cards on the board.  The pot is offering you a little better than 3 to 1 odds to call, and at no time are you a 3 to 1 underdog with these cards.

But what if you don’t have a pair?  I’ve computed some other useful odds against an opponent who would be willing to raise half of their hands:

Assuming your opponent steals with half his hands
Your hole cards Your showdown equity
Any two Broadway cards (AKQJT) 59%
Any two suited cards 43.4%
Any pair 62.2%
Any Ace or King 52.8%

The upshot of this is that you’re unlikely to be much of an underdog when you sense someone is stealing your blind, and while you may want to call for meta-game reasons, such as you don’t want to establish the fact that your blind is easy to steal, you have a little math behind you as well.

I computed all the math here with PokerStove, an awesome tool you should be using to scenario out these situations.

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