A game of live poker is a whole different ball game altogether. Just when you think you’ve got a hang around the felts and gotten comfortable, the player to your right puts out some chips even before seeing his cards! The dealer shouts ‘Straddle’ and now it’s on you to act!
Most often players don’t have the slightest clue on how to deal with it. It’s either their first time being straddled, or they haven’t done enough homework on how to act on it.
Let’s break it down for you.
What is a Straddle in Poker?
A straddle is an additional sum of money that is placed on the table before the cards are dealt. It’s essentially an optional blind bet. Most often the bet placed is 2x the big blind, however, it may not be a thumb rule for everyone. What’s overwhelming for most poker players is the number of variations this action opens up.
How does one choose to straddle in a game of poker?
The option to place a straddle bet is only available to the player who would be first to act, i.e the position to the left of the big blind. The player must put out or verbally shout straddle before the cards are dealt or at least before the player has looked at his/her cards.
The player straddling his money without seeing his cards is given another chance to act after having looked at his cards, just like the small and big blind. His actions remain the same: Check, fold or raise. Once the table sees the flop as per the regular rules of the game, the game continues like any other hand. The straddle has no impact on how the hand is played or any further rounds of betting.
The different types of straddle
The Under-the-Gun Straddle: The UTG straddle is the most commonly encountered type of straddle. In this case, the UTG player is required to place the straddle bet before the dealer begins to distribute the cards.
The Mississippi Straddle: This type of straddle is not a common encounter in most live poker rooms. However, some house rules allow for any player to straddle as long as they do it before the cards are dealt. If no one re-straddle the player who places the straddle bet is the last one to act before the flop.
The Un-Capped Straddle: In a game of no-limit, as the name indicates, there is no limit on the bet size and that applies to the straddle as well. This type removes the 2x BB rule and lets players bet as much as they want.
The Button Straddle – If a player on the button decides to straddle, it trumps the under-the-gun straddle and the dealer pushes the latter bet back to the player before passing out the cards.