The Tsunami

Strategize. Optimize. Pulverize.


How Important are the Blinds in No-Limit Hold’em Cash Games?

Happy New Year! I hope that 2K10 is off to a big start for all the faithful. Oh, what the hell, I’m feeling a bit generous this afternoon…I’ll extend my good wishes to everybody (even those who have never heard of me).

I just received an email asking the following question:

“My question has to do with the amount a player pays in blinds. Despite the battle against the rake, are the blind totals a significant factor to keep track of? I do, and my monthly statistics show that my blind $ totals [are] more than my win $ totals. I am thinking that this is not a good thing.”

I’m assuming that win $ in this question is synonymous with net money. Given that, I’ll just toss out that a win rate of 5PTBB/100 = 10bb/100 is an extremely good win rate in modern 6-max no-limit hold’em cash games. At a 6-handed table, you play 16.67 orbits. Since you pay 1.5 big blinds per orbit, then over the course of 100 hands, you pay an average of 25 big blinds every 100 hands played. Thus, the amount that an elite 6-max no-limit hold’em cash game player pays in blinds exceeds how much he nets.

In short, I would say that blind totals aren’t an important factor to keep track of with respect to your overall net money (just look at your overall net money). However, blind totals are important for analyzing your play from the blinds. If you play online, you should be using eitherĀ Poker Tracker 3 (PT3) orĀ Hold’em Manager (HEM). These are player tracking software packages that are useful for analyzing your own play and the play of your opponents. In analyzing your own play, you can break down your results with respect to position. For your play from the small blind and the big blind, both PT3 and HEM show:

  • Net money including blinds
  • Net money without blinds

If your play from either blind position is negative without the blinds, then you’re doing something wrong (and most likely, it’s playing too many hands). This is because your net result without the blinds would be $0 if you simply folded every single hand from the blinds preflop. Several years ago, I was actually profitable from the blinds (when including the blinds) in 6-max $0.50-$1 no-limit hold’em cash games. However, those days are long gone. I now lose money from the blinds (when including the blinds), but I profit from the blinds (when not including the blinds).

May Your EV Always Be Positive!

Tony Guerrera


Tags: , , , , , , ,

One Response to “How Important are the Blinds in No-Limit Hold’em Cash Games?”

  1. Thomas Lobur says:

    Cool! This makes things clearer! I will most likey check this whole blog out again, thanks again, OP!

KillerEV Updates

Leave your email address here if you wish to receive updates when new content is added to

Tony's Books

Tony's Blog

Show By:

  • Category

  • Date