What are the blinds in poker and what is…

Bets are an integral part of poker – they make the game way more engaging. The bank consists of bets, and in order to constitute the bank at the beginning of the game, two players have to make forced bets, which are called blinds. 

There are two types of blinds – small blinds and big blinds. A small blind is a half of a minimum bet and is usually made by the player sitting left of the dealer. The value of the big blind is equal to that of a minimal bet itself and is usually made by the player sitting left of the person making a small blind. Those types of forced bets are made before two players sitting left of the dealer receive their cards, hence the name – blinds. Sometimes, the term “blind” also refers to the player making said bet. Since the dealer is the last person to make a bet, the position of those players who have to make blinds is considered to be the hardest – you can’t properly analyze the consecutive bets of your opponents, since you’ve already made one.

The purpose of the blind is to make a game more interesting – if not for them, it would be too easy for players to pass without having strong cards in their starting hands. 

In online poker, the size of the blinds is equal to that of the table limit itself. Since the limits of bets in poker can range from a few cents to thousands of dollars, blinds are used as a standard measurement unit for all mathematical calculations in poker regarding money.


What is the call in poker?

A call is a poker term, referring to a specific type of bet. A call is a way of “answering” the opponent’s bet or raise with an equal amount of chips. So basically, the call always equals the previous bet. 

The use of call 

End of the betting round: if you have the last say or none of the opponents have raised the bet. It means that all bets are now equal and now another card is dealt or the cards are revealed in a showdown.

Opponents’ raise: if you don’t have the last say, it is highly likely that your opponents will raise their bets. In this case, you have to call, making your bet equal to that of your opponents. 

The initial bet remains: in this case, all players make their bet equal to the blind, and none of them makes the raise during this round. 

Variations of a call

Cold call: on preflop the first player is making a bet, the second player raises it, and the third player makes a call. This move is great if you have a strong hand. 

Snap call: an instant call to an opponent’s bet. A signature move of experienced players who calculate opponents’ actions, but also can be a sign of a new player, who is yet to learn what hands to play and when to fold. 

Flat call: calling a bet when raising it would have been an optimal move. Often viewed as a type of slow-play.

Sometimes call is viewed as a type of passive play, signifying the weak cards in your hand. This cant bait your opponents into thinking they have better cards and continue playing. This strategy is a typical bluff.


What is a poker mining?

Poker mining is a process of collecting and analyzing other players’ stats. This info provides an advantage over other players in the long run, since it shows how often the specific player takes specific actions in certain phases of the game, which makes it easier to predict the opponent’s moves and increases your winrate. 

While most poker rooms forbid the usage of poker miners while in-game, you can safely mine all the necessary data when you’re not actually playing the game.

A poker miner is a useful tool for those players looking to increase their winrate in the long term. It allows you to play higher limits without the fear of facing unknown opponents. Studying your opponents’ actions and mistakes will grant you the edge over them, significantly increasing your chances for victory. But it’s important to keep in mind that your data can also be mined and used against you.

Traits of a good poker miner

A decent poker miner should provide the following:

Daily updates.

The ability to refresh stats in online mode.

Mining data from both cash games and professional poker rooms (to better study the actions of professional players and improve your skills)

The minimal amount of delays, since you’ll often need to get the info as soon as possible.

One of the most popular poker mining services is HHMailer. It provides mining for popular poker rooms such as PokerStars or IPoker. The data on low-limit games is actually provided for free, which can be of use for beginners.


What is an All-In in poker and when to…

All-in is an act of betting all chips in your possession. It is possible to make an all-in during all betting rounds in the game, including the preflop. In No-Limit Holdem an all-in is used in the following situations:

You’ve collected the “premium” hand. Turn and River are the most suitable rounds for making an all-in – in later stages of the game opponents are more likely to call your bets. 

You have a good hand. If you’re sure your hand will result in a strong combination on the flop stage, it is wise to raise the bets. If the opponent calls very aggressively, it would be smart to make an all-in.

You have bad cards in your hand and want to bluff. Making an all-in while having a weak hand is a typical scene in movies, however, you shouldn’t repeat it in reality without necessity. 

You are in the tournament and have the biggest stack among the opponents. Your opponents with smaller stacks will do whatever it takes to stay in the tournament, so you make an all-in and add blinds and ante to your stack. Players with big stacks tend to play aggressively, while players with smaller stacks are more passive.

However, your opponents can also make an all-in. The smartest thing to do in this case is to simply look at your cards – you can safely call if you have a strong hand, and folding is the better option for those with weak hands. If multiple players make an all-in, the stack is split depending on the number of big blinds available to each player and the strength of the combination.


What is an ante and how forced bets affect…

Both blinds and an ante are forced bets. Both are made before the cards are dealt. However, if blinds are made by only two players (who sit left to the dealer), ante is something all players have to do. It is better to view ante as a sort of payment for participation in the game and something that constitutes the pot. Ante is a relatively small “payment”, usually one-tenth the size of the big blind. 

The main purpose of the ante is to prevent the artificial prolonging of the game – the players who otherwise would have constantly discarded their hands in the search for the better one are now forced to actively engage in the betting, or they lose their chips.

Antes are not always present – you better carefully read the description of the table before playing. “Casual” games are not guaranteed to have an ante, and games featuring blinds often lack it. However, its presence greatly affects the game – even in the preflop stage, a significant pot is already available, which speeds up the game and makes it more engaging. This is why ante is often seen in tournaments, especially in the later stages. With ante present, more players remain in-game with their cards in hand, rather than folding, which makes for good ratings for televised tournaments. Most televised high-stakes cash games also use both blinds and antes.

In live cash games where the acting dealer changes each turn, it is possible that the dealer pays an ante for each player.