C8C #27 – Straddling

Good Evening! Welcome to the Cre8ive Coaching Newsletter. Here is a serving of poker related knowledge regarding on or off the table topics.

In this piece, we talk about what cowboys love to do in Texas… straddle!!!

Today’s Topic:

Straddling isn’t talked about much for live cash games. A straddle is essentially a raise in the dark, normally twice the big blind, from under the gun or the button. Some card rooms allow players to straddle from any position.

There are pros and cons to straddling. The cons might seem obvious. First, we would be increasing the size of the blinds by double. This immediately cuts every stack at the table in half, in terms of big blinds. Most people would look at this as a disadvantage since the deeper we play, the more information we receive during hands. Another negative is if we straddle under the gun, we would most likely have to play out of position unless we were up against one of the players in the blinds. Putting two blinds in with a random hand, maybe out of position, making the game twice as big, doesn’t seem like such a good bet…

To determine the advantages of straddling, we have to analyze the game we are playing in and think a little more outside the box. Straddling can add a different element to the overall feel of the poker match. If players are adding dead money in the pot before cards are dealt, this could create more action in general, and make for a better overall poker experience if players become engaged. This is called FUN! People feel the need to defend their straddle, which will foster a looser image for some. If there are a lot of short stacks sitting at your table, a straddle might be able to apply more pressure. They will have to be very selective with their starting hands and understand how their stack size changes with the straddle. If you have a limp happy table, the straddle can help pick up dead money from limp folders, or let you see multiway flops with decent hands.

My favorite type of straddle comes from the button. This way we have ultimate position no matter what. It is the most beneficial way to straddle. People will not be able to easily define your range, and if you are playing in a poker game with weaker opponents, straddling can increase your win rate significantly.

Strategically, you have to be careful when and where to straddle. But by being selective, I believe straddling creates more action, builds bigger pots, gets people outside of their comfort zone, and makes the game more engaging and entertaining. The straddle becomes another weapon in your preflop arsenal. It is a win for everyone! Except maybe the nits who hate you for making the game bigger… but get them on board and have some fun! Best of luck.

“Opportunity never sneaks up on those who straddle the fence of indecision.” Napoleon Hill