• August 3, 2021

Online Poker Dictionary: Straddle

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When a player decides or says he is going to ‘straddle’ in a poker game, he is putting in twice the big blind before the cards are dealt. Usually, it is the player to the left of the big blind who straddles. It is basically a raise in the dark, and all players following must now call or raise the amount of the straddle bet.
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In a poker room, ‘I straddle’ is often received with mixed emotions, but the definition is understood – ‘I straddle’ means I’m going to put up a voluntary blind bet and the action starts on my left. And like the other two straddles above, when you straddle in a game sometimes your stack will fall hard and sometimes your stack will, uh, rise. Whether or not the straddle is a profitable play depends on how well you understand it and utilize it.
The straddle is a minimum of double the big blind and when there’s no cap it sometimes can be a much, much larger blind. It’s also a blind raise that allows you to act last in that round where players wanting to enter have to at least call your blind raise, giving you the open to raise your blind raise, reraise a raiser, check, or fold. Confused? I hope not. PTP readers are savvy, educated players and should know the basics of the straddle. But knowing how to straddle doesn’t mean a savvy, educated player can do it right or will even straddle when it’s right to do so.
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There are many variations of straddle bets and depending on the rules of poker being applied, any one of these may be applicable at any given point of time.
* Live Straddle: The player under the gun may place a straddle bet that is the size of a normal bet, over the big blind value. Therefore, if the stakes are $4/$8, then the value of the straddle bet is $16. In the case of the live straddle bet, the bet being placed becomes the new big blind and therefore, becomes the normal opening bet for all subsequent players. A subsequent player may re-straddle the live straddle by placing a bet that is the value of the live straddle plus the normal betting amount. Taking the earlier example, a re-straddle would mean $32 for a normal bet.
* Mississippi Straddle: The Mississippi straddle bet runs on the same principle as a live straddle bet however the major difference lies in who can make the straddle bet. Unlike in the case of the live straddle bet, where only the player under the gun can make the bet, a Mississippi straddle rule allows any player on the table to make the straddle bet. Once a player makes the Mississippi straddle bet, the normal sequence of play begins from the immediate left of the player who made that bet. Re-straddle options are the same as in the case of the live straddle.
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Steve Carr

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