A straddle is in the same category as big blinds and antes. It’s money that goes into the pot before any cards have been dealt. Traditionally in a Texas Hold’Em poker game, there is a big blind, a small bind and sometimes there are antes. A straddle is an amount that will be twice the size of the game’s big blind.
There are two main types of straddles in poker, classic and Mississippi.
A classic straddle is where the first player to act preflop will post the straddle. The player that acts first preflop is the UTG position, directly on the big blind’s left. They will place an amount 2 times the size of the big blind.
In some games, re-straddling is allowed and encouraged. Re-straddling is where the person directly on the straddle’s left has the option to place an amount that is two times the original straddle. This has the potential to go around the whole table.
If you’re confused, our article on position at the poker table might help.
A Mississippi Straddle is where most positions will have the option to straddle. The button has first dibs. If the button opts in to straddle, preflop action will start on the small blind and continue around clockwise until the action reaches back to the button.
The button will always have first priority to post a Mississippi straddle. However, if the button chooses not to straddle, the player to the button’s right, the cut-off position, will have second priority.
If both the button and but-off position opt-out of straddling, then the player to the cut-off’s right, called the hijack, will then have next priority. This will go around counter clockwise until it reaches the big blind. The big and small blind are not allowed to straddle.
When should you place a straddle?
There are some good opportunities to place a straddle in certain poker game scenarios. In some games you may want to take players out of their comfort zone by introducing a straddle.
However, posting the straddle and being in the straddle position is not a profitable move in the long run. Similar to the blind positions, you cannot win from these positions.
In some games straddles are mandatory. You will have to post them every time you’re on the big blind’s left. The Asian poker apps tend to run with this format: small blind, big blind, antes and then a mandatory straddle.
Pros of Placing a Straddle
- Increasing the stakes. You are essentially doubling the amount of money on every street that all players are now playing for. Every preflop, flop, turn and river are going to have twice the amount in the pot than if there was no straddle.
- More potential for mistakes. Other players may not be familiar with straddling or playing with shallower stacks. There will now be different stack to pot ratios and some players might adjust poorly.
Cons of Placing a Straddle
- A losing move that is –EV in the long run. You cannot win from placing a straddle. You’re out of position and have posted the largest amount of dead money before seeing any cards. Players in other positions may wait for their cards and act accordingly before putting any money into the pot.
- More potential for mistakes. If you are not too familiar with straddling you might adjust or re-adjust to other player’s actions poorly. You might not be familiar with shallower or lower stack to pot ratio play.
Where you will most likely encounter straddle play?
In any live poker cash game, there is a very high likelihood that you will encounter someone attempting to straddle. This will happen in both casinos and private games. It is not always allowed in live cash games, so you will usually need to ask the dealer if this is acceptable.
In most traditional online No-Limit Hold’em cash games, there is no straddle and no antes. Just the small blind and the big blind. In most of the available poker apps including the PKC app, there will be a small blind, a big blind, a mandatory straddle and antes.
Where to play online poker with straddles?
Come play with us at PKC. There are No Limit Hold’Em cash games around the clock which all include straddles. There are stakes from the penny micros all the way up to high stakes of 50/100/200, which is $7.20/$14.40/$28.80. There’s a game for everyone, so why not come down and check out the action?