What is a Poker Blind?

A poker blind refers to the fact of being in a position to put money into the pot before the hand has even started play. This works in certain types of poker games, namely in variants of poker in which players do not ‘ante’, meaning that not all of the players put a set amount of money (or chips) into the pot in order to be able to participate in that round. Games in which all the players ante are played by each player putting in a small amount in order to gain that round. On the other hand, games that are played with blinds are done by having a few of the players at the table put larger sums into the pot before the hand begins. Not everyone puts money into the pot; however, the pot has some money in it before each hand begins. Traditionally, the blinds are designated by where they are sitting in reference to the dealer. Wherever the dealer is at a certain round, the small blind is to the dealer’s left and the big blind is to the small blind’s left. Before explaining the small blind and the big blind, let’s take a look at the dealer for a moment.

The dealer typically changes after each round of play. This is because the dealer is the player at the table who has the most opportunity to cheat. Since the dealer might get the chance to cheat, the same person should not always be the dealer. Each hand, the dealer changes, typically going around the table so that everyone takes turns being the dealer. In most games, the dealer is designated by some physical sign on the table in front of him or her so that everyone can see who is presently the dealer. After each round, this physical mark has to be passed to the next person. As the role of dealer goes around the table, so does the role of being the small blind or the big blind. The small blind sits next to the dealer and the big blind sits on the other side of the small blind. Now, what exactly are big and small blinds?

A big blind is the amount of money that is the minimum bet in that game; the small blind is half of the amount of the big blind. What is the minimum amount? The minimum amount varies from one game to another, some games have minimums from $10-$20, meaning that at the beginning of the game the minimum is $10, but toward the end of the game, the minimum will be $20. In more serious games, the amount is much higher, for example, the big blind could be putting in $100 and the small blind could be putting $50. Games are for many different stakes, you’ve just got to know what kind of a game you’re playing before you start playing.

Poker blinds bring a different atmosphere to the poker table than games in which everyone antes before the hand begins. While the two blinds in each round pay a larger sum of money, the rest of the players around the table have the feeling that they’re not paying in order to play that hand. Of course, their turn will soon come to be the small blind and the big blind, but for each round in between, the hand is ‘free’. Know which kind of a game will be played, and now what the minimums are, whether playing by antes or by blinds. The key is to know what you’re getting into; really, either way is good.


Darnell V. Denman
Poker Player

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