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Blind (poker)

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Blind is a term used in poker. As a noun, this usually means a blind bet--a forced bet placed into the pot by one or more players before the deal begins, in a way that simulates bets made during play.

For example, the first player to the dealer's left (who would normally be the first to bet after the cards are dealt) makes a blind bet of $1, and the next player in turn posts a big blind of $2. After the cards are dealt, play continues with the next player in turn (third from the dealer), who acts just as if the $1 had been an Opening bet and the $2 had been a Raise, so he must either call $2, reraise, or fold. When the betting returns to the player who blinded $1, he acts just as if that had been the opening bet; he must equal the bet facing him (toward which he may count his $1), fold, or reraise.

An additional privilege is given to the player who posted the big blind to compensate for the fact that he is forced to bet. If there have been no raises by the time his first turn to bet voluntarily comes (that is, the bet amount facing him is just the $2 he originally put in), then he is given the right to raise at that point, even though his right-hand opponent's call would normally have closed the betting round under other circumstances. This "extra" right to raise (called a live blind) occurs only once: if his raise is now called by every player, the first betting round closes as usual.

For example, suppose there are only three players in a deal. The player to the dealer's left blinds $1, and the next player blinds $2. After the cards are dealt, the next player in turn (who is the dealer in this case) calls the $2. Now it is the turn of the player who posted only $1, and he adds an additional $1 to bring his bet up to $2. Now everyone has paid $2, and the round would be over if the big blind had been a voluntary bet, but because it was a forced bet, it is "live" and the player may now raise. He can also check his option, indicating that he does not wish to raise, and thereby end the betting round. He chooses to raise to $4. Now the dealer calls, and the player after him calls. Now everyone has bet $4 and the round is over. The player in the blind does not have the right to raise this time.

The most common use of blinds as a betting structure calls for two blinds: the player after the dealer blinds about half of what would be a normal bet, and the next player blinds what would be a whole bet. Sometimes only one blind is used, and sometimes three. In the case of three blinds (usually one quarter, one quater, and half a normal bet amount), the first blind goes "on the button", that is, is paid by the dealer.

In some Fixed limit and Spread limit games the big blind amount is less than the normal betting minimum. Players acting after a sub-minimum blind have to the right to call the blind as it is, even though it is less than the amount they would be required to bet, or they may raise the amount needed to bring the current bet up to the normal minimum, called completing the bet. For example, a game with a $5 fixed bet on the first round might have blinds of $1 and $2. Players acting after the blind may either call the $2, or raise to $5. After the bet is raised to $5, the next raise must be to $10 in accordance with the normal limits.

The term blind is also used to describe actions taken during play before seeing cards that one would normally be entitled to see before acting. For example, the first player to act after the draw in a draw poker game may "check blind" before looking at his replacement cards. One can also bet blind, call blind, and so on. It is common to announce that one is doing this, to influence your opponents' actions: I bet $5 in the dark, or I'll check while I look.

See also: Blind stud, card game, gambling



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