Ever been in a poker table and then a player throws in some chip in before the cards are even dealt? Well, that means you already have a rough idea about what a straddle is. Not to worry though. We are here to explain everything so there are no surprises.
Straddles are simply optional cash game pre-flop bets which have to be exactly equivalent to double the current blind amount. These bets are usually made by the players that are seated directly to the left of the big blind. As mentions earlier, they have to be wagered before the dealing of the cards begins and after the flop. The player who placed a straddle bet will act last.
To make it even easier to understand, you can think of a straddle as a third blind that comes after the big and small blinds. It is quite special, to say the least, and therefore you should be very informed in case you ever need to use it since it often has very significant impacts on any poker game.
Not sure what blinds are in poker? Take a look at our blog post “What Is a Blind in Poker?” where we explain it all.
What Is the Point of Straddles?
Just like any other concept in a game of poker, the straddle serves a purpose. According to many poker experts, these bets are a losing game in the long term but this does not mean that it is entirely out of the question for even poker pros. In given scenarios, they could be a profitable metagame move.
Straddles typically act as a minimum raise. The only difference is that the player who uses it still has the option to act when it is their turn.
If you are playing a No-Limit poker game and a player on the table wants to raise with a straddle on board, the minimum raise for that game will be the difference between the straddle bet and the big blind.
That aside, just like the small and big blinds, the straddles can be used by some players as an attempt to loosen up the game and create more action. It is recommended that you avoid straddles if you can, but there is no particular rule that forces you to do this.
The choice is totally up to you. Just make sure to read to the end to learn the rules, types and when they are use.
The main takeaway here is that straddles are okay so long as they are done once in a while. However, it is advisable not to make it a habit. In essence, you should apply it if you are sure you are going to win. Other than that, straddles raise the stakes and if you are bluffing, there is a possibility that you will get caught. Moreover, there is a possibility that a player who has a hand that is better than yours can steal your chance to bag the pot. Do keep these in mind before you dive in.
The Rules for Straddles in Poker
If you intend to straddle in a game of poker, you will have to adhere to some rules. These are very simple guidelines that even newbies will have an easy time grasping.
To begin with, to play a straddle you will be required to make every other person on your poker table know that you intend to do so. You can also do this by putting out the bet with poker chips. It is worth noting that since this doubles the big blind, it will also double the amount that the other poker players bet.
Once you have acted, you will have another chance to act after you look at the cards in your hand. The options that you will have on this other chance to act will be checking, folding, or raising. Once all that is done, the poker game will continue normally.
- You MUST make every other player aware of what you are doing
- Put out a bet with poker chips
- This bet doubles the big blind, doubling what other players bet.
- You can act again after seeing your cards
- Your act can either be checking, folding or raising
The Types of Straddles
All straddles are not the same. They may vary from one scenario to the next or depending on a specific variant of poker. You should, therefore, have at least a little knowledge about the available types before you dive in.
We have listed the types with an explanation for each below:
List of Straddle Types
The Classic Straddle
Also known as the Under-the-Gun (UTG) Straddle, is the most common straddle. This type is usually double the size of the big blind and is made by the player that is directly on the left of the big blind.
Any game of poker you will be playing is likely to include this one but this is not always the case as there are other kinds too.
Classic Double Straddle
Another popular type is the Classic Double Straddle. In this case, a second player who straddles chooses to place an even larger amount after an initial straddle is made by another player. Classic Double Straddles come after the classic straddle has been made. The result is a poker game that has 4 blinds.
Next, we have the Mississippi Straddle. This is a special kind of Classic Straddle. The only difference is that, in this case, any player in the table can place a straddle bet save for the blinds. It does not restrict straddling to the player sitting to the left of the big blind.
With an Un-Capped Straddle, the player can bet as much as they want to – even with all of the chips in their stacks if they so wish. This is, obviously, not a very wise move in most cases but there are chances that it could help you go big. They are slim chances though. Be wary of that.
The Button Straddle shares quite a lot with the Mississippi Straddle and as its name suggests it is also open to the player in the button position, that is, the player who is dealing the cards during a particular round of a poker game. Playing the Button Straddle usually cancels all the kinds of straddles in the game. It is rarely included in poker games because of its implications.
There is also the Sleeper Straddle that can be made from any position on the poker table.
It does not buy a relative position with this and it starts in the normal UTG spot.
These types of straddles are also pretty common and they apply to any of the straddles that are allowed by the casino. A Classic Double Straddle is an example of a Re-Straddle.
Now that you have all that knowledge, you can make better choices regarding whether or not to ‘straddle’. The main point to consider is that poker is a very dynamic game and you have to adjust your strategy appropriately if you want to win.
We have a whole page dedicated to poker strategy right here.