Online poker cash games are fun, but tournaments are the real deal, as they offer you an opportunity to go big or go home. However, to understand how online tournaments work, you need to understand one of the most important concepts related to this type of poker competition – blind levels.
A blind is a type of bet that all players need to make as a sort of a “fee” of taking part in a hand. The first player to the left of the dealer must make a “small” blind, and the second makes the so-called “big” blind, which is also the amount all other players have to play.
For example, if the tournaments start at $1/$2, it means that the small blind is worth $1, and the BB is $2. However, all USA online poker sites that host tournaments need to make blinds increase over time. Why?
Imagine having $500 in chips, and having to pay only $2 for every hand. This type of tournament would last forever. That’s why blind levels increase after some time.
For example, if the starting level is $1/$2, and the blind levels are 30 minutes, it means that blinds will increase after half an hour of play and become $2/$4. After an hour, they will increase to $4/$6, and so on.
Blind Level Lengths
The length of blind levels varies on the type of tournament. Online poker tournaments are usually faster, and blind levels can last only a couple of minutes in some of them (these are traditionally called turbo tournaments).
The optimum time for blind levels to increase is 20 minutes in online poker, although this is often longer in live tournaments, as they are usually slower.
Based on the blind level on your number of chips, you need to adjust your poker strategy in order to get the most of it. For example, if you have a lot of chips and the blind level is significant, you can play aggressively against short-stacked players. On the other hand, you need a completely different approach if you have a couple of BBs left, and the stakes are high.
We made a list of the best USA poker sites, and all of them offer all kinds of tournaments that have different blind levels. The best way to learn how to play poker at different levels is to start practicing right now in some of the low and micro stake tournaments.