What is Straddling in Poker?
by Chad Holloway of Predictem.com
Straddling is usually an option reserved for the player under-the-gun (the player after the big blind), which allows the player to double the amount of the big blind, without looking at his cards, and essentially makes him the new big blind with last option to act; that is, he will force everyone to call, raise, or fold to the doubled amount and then when action gets back to the straddle, he will have the option to check, raise, or fold himself. For example, in a $2-$4 Limit Hold'em game, the blinds are $1-$2, but if the player under-the-gun wishes to straddle he must blindly put out $4, which all players would have to call or raise in order to continue playing.
The straddle is usually an option in all flop games (I.e. Limit Hold'em, No Limit Hold'em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, etc.), although some casinos do not allow it. If it is allowed, it is important to find out the rules regarding a straddle since casinos implement a number of them. For instance, is the straddle capped or uncapped (is it a predetermined amount or can a player straddle any amount he wishes)? Is the straddle optional or mandatory (had the table agreed to implement a mandatory straddle before you began play)? Finally, from what position is the straddle allowed?
As previously stated, the straddle bet is usually reserved only for the player under-the-gun; however, a few casinos implement other options. The most notable has become known as the "Mississippi Straddle," which refers to straddling from any position. If a casino allows this, the button has the priority to straddle first and the option works counterclockwise, away from the blinds, with the under-the-gun player having the last option. This is a popular option in the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, where you can also re-straddle the straddle, and that can be re-straddled, and so on and so forth all the way down the table. Another option is offered at Caesars Indiana, which is essentially the same as the "Mississippi Straddle," but with one exception. That exception being that the under-the-gun player retains the first straddling option, but if declined, then priority goes to the button and works back counterclockwise.
Knowing how and when to use a straddle is important to anyone's poker game. Even if you decline to utilize it, it is likely someone else at the table will. The straddle is an excellent option to help loosen up the table and increase the action, which can change the dynamics of any game. Needless to say, the more liberal the straddling options, the looser and faster the game will likely go. With that said, it is important to recognize and respect both the advantages and dangers of straddling. Some of the advantages include loosing up your table image, throwing in a large raise on your straddle to swipe the money in the pot, and trapping your opponents on the rare occasions that you actually pick up a big hand in the straddle. Some of the dangers include loosing extra money when your straddle is raised, which is often the case, forcing you to fold, being trapped by an opponent with a big hand, and feeling pressured to defend you straddle, which can become costly. Straddling is an important factor in most poker games and is one most players will want to account for. With enough practice, play, and experience, a player will learn and understand the straddling procedures, rules, and benefits.
Check out all the guaranteed tournaments, SnG's, satellites and qualifiers Bovada Poker has to offer! They are truly a one stop shop for everything you could possibly need in an online poker room!
Party Poker - The PartyPoker "Monthly Milion" plays on the 1st Sunday of every month. The tourney starts at 12:45EST. (Note: Party does not accept USA players)
Bovada Poker - Sign up, deposit and get an instant 10% bonus. Get a 100% bonus up to $500 which is released as you earn points. If done right, this could equate to a 110% bonus!
The Difference Between Limit and No Limit Texas Hold'em - Cash games, tournaments, no limit, pot limit, fixed limit and more. Loki breaks it down!!
Tilt - It's a classless way to play online poker, but this article is a good read if you'd like to learn how to put other players "on tilt."
Satellite Poker Tournaments - What are they? How do they work? Jason explains.
Famous Poker Players - Short bios about some of the greatest poker players ever to take a seat at the tables!
Female Poker Players - Biographies of all the best women poker players in the world.
Legends of the Game - Bio pages of legendary poker players, many of which have died and gone on to leave their mark on the poker world.
Poker Hall of Fame - Inductees along with their feats listed in chronological order.
Poker Players Alliance - This advocacy group is fighting for YOUR right to legally play online poker. Join today!
Home Poker Games - Everything you need to know about hosting your own game.
What is Rake? - This is how card rooms earn their money off of poker games. K. Swope talks about this fee in detail.
Perspectives Weekly - Check APCW.org's Jay Todd each week as he brings us all the current news in the online gambling industry.
Poker Quotes - Famous and funny poker sayings from around the internet.
Famous Poker Hands - Sure, you know that "AA" is often times dubbed "bullets" or "american airlines" but what about other hands such as "JJ" and "88"? Chad tells all!
Poker Questions - Burn cards, clubs, spaces, diamonds, hearts, the deck, community cards etc. You've got a question? We've got an answer!