Jan 17 2010

Exploiting a Straddle

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

A straddle in poker is when the player after the big blind puts out a bet two times the big blind in the dark. The intent of a straddle is to help add some life to the game. Straddles, however, should be the most profitable for the players who aren’t putting them out. What is the point in putting out money if you don’t have to, especially when you haven’t even seen your cards yet?

If you really think about it there are few legitimate reasons why a straddle would ever be beneficial. Perhaps if your aim as a poker player was just to have fun you would be well served by straddling from time to time, but it isn’t going to give a big boost to your bottom line. What you can do, however, is learn to exploit the players who do straddle.

Live poker is going to be the place where you usually run into a player who straddles, and it is seldom a challenge to make their extra bet an addition to your stack. This doesn’t mean that there is any way that you could take down every pot pre flop that a straddle was involved in, but it does mean that in the long run a straddle is going to be to your benefit. Some poker players fear a straddle because they don’t want to have to unnecessarily risk any more money than they have to, but there is no need for your play to be risky.

In the Blinds

When you are in the blinds it is very easy to exploit the straddle. Widen your range a bit from what it is when you steal and make your steal sizes a bit bigger. There is literally nothing else that you have to do when exploiting a straddle from the blinds. Keep in mind that a straddler will inevitably be a bit hesitant to give up their hand pre flop, but a lot of continuation bets on the flop will usually take down the pot.

Out of the Blinds

When you are out of the blinds there will be a different way to play against the straddle. Instead of stealing the blinds (and the straddle) you will want to really maximize the value that you can get from your decent to strong hands. The fact that someone straddled means that there is a little bit more money required as an initial investment. The straddle essentially serves as an instrument to bump up the blinds. A 1/2 game with a straddle will transform to a 2/4 game. The stack sizes will not change, but the play certainly will. Many players will be scared to get involved, but other players will overreact. All you have to do to capitalize on both of these types of players is make sure that you play your strong hands to their fullest. If you would normally open to $8 or $10 with AJ at 1/2, you should instead open to $18 or $20. Pretend like you are playing the limits that the straddle represents. Don’t forget that the other players are going to be tempted by the abnormally large amount of money available. You will be able to not only bet more money, but you will also be able to win more. Don’t expand your raising range by too much, just adjust the size of your actual raises.

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