Against a Live Straddle

Occasionally when someone decides to ‘gamble poker,” he will put up what is known as a “live straddle.”

Specifically, the player just to the left of the big blind will post an additional blind that is double the size of the big blind.

For example, in a $10- $20 game, the live straddle would be $20.

This play is not recommended. However, some significant strategy changes are required when one of your opponents posts a straddle.

To begin with, notice that it is now virtually impossible to steal the blinds. Consider the $10- $20 game with a straddle.

Suppose you bring it in for $30. It is a rare player who would post a $20 blind and then not call for just $10 more.

In fact, most players who post a straddle will call for an additional $20, no matter what they hold. ( Remember, they came to gamble. )

This means that you should raise only with legitimate raising hands.

Semi-steal plays before the flop, which are normally so important to winning hold’em, will not work in this situation.

Moreover, you might not want to make the pot so large that it becomes correct to draw to gut shots, bottom pairs, and so forth.

Consequently, it is generally correct to raise less frequently with big pairs and big unsuited cards than it would be if there were no live straddle.

Also be aware that your implied odds will not be as good, since it will cost you more to play compared to what you can expect to win.

As a result, you should call with fewer hands.

Specifically, throw away hands like unless you are in a position.

Notice that we have just recommended that you play tighter against a live straddle, even though there is more money in the pot.

An example will show that this is correct. Suppose you are playing in a crazy $ 10-$20 hold’em poker game, where there are not only the standard $5 and $ 10 blinds, but also straddlers of $20, $ 30, and $ 40. ( Playing when two suited cards flop. )

Clearly, if you played only the “nuts” (or extremely strong hands) in this game when you wee not in one of the larger blinds, you would be a winner.

This is because of the large overlay that you would be getting when you did enter the pot.

However, if you played super tight in a standard poker game, you would not be in enough pots to show a profit.