Definition of Defending the Big Blind

What does "defending the big blind" mean? What is the definition of "defending the big blind"?

In poker, "defending the big blind" occurs when you call a pre-flop raise when you are in the "big blind". "Defending the big blind" also occurs when you have a less than optimal starting hand (something like 4-5 suited or 8-9 offsuit).

Definition of Defending the Big Blind - Poker DictionaryWhy would you want to "defend the big blind" with a trashy hand? There are a few reasons, including:

1) The math. Let's say that you are playing in a $5/$10 cash game. Action folds around to the button, who raises to $20. The small blind folds, and action is now on you.

Let's look at the money that is already in the pot:

$5 Small Blind
$10 Big Blind
$20 Raise

That is $35 that is already in the pot. It's $10 more for you to call, which means that you are getting 3.5 to 1 odds to call. Even with a weak hand, you have the right odds to call.

2) Playing Your Opponent. Do you have a good read on your opponent? If so, you may want to get into a confrontation with him, regardless of your holding. If you are confident that you can outplay your opponent after the flop, defending your big blind allows you to play a hand with him.

3) Not Allowing Yourself to Get Run Over. Is the button raising EVERY one of your big blinds? If so, you want to establish yourself as a person who doesn't allow themselves to be run over. Having said that, re-raising the pre-flop aggressor is likely a better idea in this situation, as it will give you a better idea as to where you are at in the hand, as well as giving you a chance to win the pot pre-flop.

Let's look at an example of "defending your big blind":

You are playing in a $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em cash game. You are in the big blind.

Action folds around to the button, who raises to $5. The small blind folds, and you look down at 7d-4d. Not the best hand, but let's do the math.

There is already $1 + $2 + $5 = $8 in the pot. Calling will cost you $3 more. So, by calling, you are getting better than 2.5/1 odds.

This is "defending the big blind".


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