Straddling?

Gobbs

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Personally, I don't like straddles for many of the reasons stated - for the most part (but not always), it's a tool for weaker post-flop players and hinders the better players. (NOTE: I'm not saying I'm a better player because, in most games, I'm probably not, but I prefer the skill aspect of the game to be highlighted and the luck aspect to be minimized as much as possible, anyway.). It's also a tool for bored people to add more excitement.

I especially don't like the concept of forced straddles or forced bets (other than the SB and BB, of course) based on arbitrary things like an ace hitting the flop, the cat just walked across the table, or three people sneezed. While, I do agree that other people blindly putting money into the pot is probably good for me in the long run, I prefer to play at the stakes of the table and keep my variance a bit lower. Call me a nit or whatever, but poker is exciting enough for me. I don't need the added drama or artificial excitement.
 

trigs

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My home game is a $0.50-$0.50 cash game with $100 buy-in, so we're starting out 200BBs deep. Depending on who is there, we've had straddles go $1-$2-$4-$8-$16-$32 before but the norm is one or maybe 2 straddles when there is one. These are games with players that know what they're doing and have been playing for a while. Most of them are willing to play higher stakes too but I'm comfortable with the level we play.

I also sometimes run a "family" game with mostly relatives that really only play poker at my game. It's $0.25-$0.25 with a $40 buy-in and no one straddles except me, and everyone is fine with me putting in money blind ;)

To the people who think multiple straddles are ruining the skill part of the game, would you feel the same way if more than one person looked at their cards first and then just min raised or doubled the bet? I understand the argument that straddles affect post flop play because it makes shallower stacks, but so does raising preflop. Do the people who complain about this play in games where everyone limps constantly?

What's worse - a game with multiple straddling to $1-$2-$4-$8 or a game with constant 3bets/4bets preflop which easily grow to higher than the straddle would be? I guess it depends on your players. If I had to choose between these two options, I think I'd choose the straddling.
 

Rhodeman77

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My home game is a $0.50-$0.50 cash game with $100 buy-in, so we're starting out 200BBs deep. Depending on who is there, we've had straddles go $1-$2-$4-$8-$16-$32 before but the norm is one or maybe 2 straddles when there is one. These are games with players that know what they're doing and have been playing for a while. Most of them are willing to play higher stakes too but I'm comfortable with the level we play.

I also sometimes run a "family" game with mostly relatives that really only play poker at my game. It's $0.25-$0.25 with a $40 buy-in and no one straddles except me, and everyone is fine with me putting in money blind ;)

To the people who think multiple straddles are ruining the skill part of the game, would you feel the same way if more than one person looked at their cards first and then just min raised or doubled the bet? I understand the argument that straddles affect post flop play because it makes shallower stacks, but so does raising preflop. Do the people who complain about this play in games where everyone limps constantly?

What's worse - a game with multiple straddling to $1-$2-$4-$8 or a game with constant 3bets/4bets preflop which easily grow to higher than the straddle would be? I guess it depends on your players. If I had to choose between these two options, I think I'd choose the straddling.
You are comparing apples and oranges when talking about 3-4 betting preflop and multiple straddles.

First off if someone 3 bets they don’t get to raise again unless someone raises them. But if that same person straddles now they can raise still when the action gets back to them.

In the PLO game I play in if there is a staddle to $15 the game is changed dramatically that hand. It is no longer a $1/2 game. The opening bet can now be $50 instead of $15. And if several people limp in for the $15 the straddles can now bet over $100 preflop. Which if it was a normal opening bet to $15 couldn’t have been done.
 

BGinGA

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What's worse - a game with multiple straddling to $1-$2-$4-$8 or a game with constant 3bets/4bets preflop which easily grow to higher than the straddle would be? I guess it depends on your players. If I had to choose between these two options, I think I'd choose the straddling.
Not me. The 25c/50c game with multiple straddles is far worse. If players are 3- and 4-betting pre-flop, then they are raising after seeing their cards -- that's actually playing poker, a game of skill.

Players who raise/straddle without seeing their cards are merely gambling and forcing the stated table stakes higher than advertised -- and should stick to single-player gambling options (like playing the lottery) instead of trying to force other poker players to gamble with them.

Straddles should only be allowed if 100% of the players at the table are in agreement. And even then, it's still stupid and pointless. :)
 

Gobbs

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My home game is a $0.50-$0.50 cash game with $100 buy-in, so we're starting out 200BBs deep. Depending on who is there, we've had straddles go $1-$2-$4-$8-$16-$32 before but the norm is one or maybe 2 straddles when there is one. These are games with players that know what they're doing and have been playing for a while. Most of them are willing to play higher stakes too but I'm comfortable with the level we play.

I also sometimes run a "family" game with mostly relatives that really only play poker at my game. It's $0.25-$0.25 with a $40 buy-in and no one straddles except me, and everyone is fine with me putting in money blind ;)

To the people who think multiple straddles are ruining the skill part of the game, would you feel the same way if more than one person looked at their cards first and then just min raised or doubled the bet? I understand the argument that straddles affect post flop play because it makes shallower stacks, but so does raising preflop. Do the people who complain about this play in games where everyone limps constantly?

What's worse - a game with multiple straddling to $1-$2-$4-$8 or a game with constant 3bets/4bets preflop which easily grow to higher than the straddle would be? I guess it depends on your players. If I had to choose between these two options, I think I'd choose the straddling.
I wouldn't buy into that game for less than $500. No way I'm playing the first hand with potentially only 3 big blinds and likely less than 15. (Well, I actually wouldn't buy into it at all, but you get the point.)
 

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Single Mississippi straddle allowed in my $1/1 mixed game, up to $3 for PL games, up to $5 for no limit. UTG has priority, then button, then counterclockwise from UTG+1.
 

MatB

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I get the concept that some people would LOVE to see their cards before committing any more than .25/.50. But really no one is being forced to straddle. If youre playing at a table of loose players who want to straddle to $4 or $8, and you consider yourself a decent player, you (the non straddler) should be loving the fact that you are getting to look at your cards pre-flop with minimum investment in the pot. Good players should be taking advantage of that.

I feel like the weaker players who dont straddle are going to get chewed up anyway if they are not adjusting their strategy to take advantage of a juiced up pot and getting to look at their cards for free.

I do find it a little ironic when we are talking about changing table stakes by straddling when most , if not everyone, is a NLHE player at some point and after seeing their 2 cards can literally go ALL IN ! no matter what the blinds are whether its .25/.50 , 1/3 or 5/10

Its all a game. Strategize, Adapt, Destroy !
 

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Straddle is a super dumb idea. I know people think straddles create more action. But if it does in your game, then you're in the wrong game. Just fix the game/player composition, etc. I know this is a controversial idea and anytime someone is against straddle is called a nit or a tight ass...but that is not always true and straddle isn't generally a good idea for the game (for lots of reasons). when a game is $5/10/$75/$200 and 6 people call, it doesn't need any straddling. When a game is $5/$10/$20, raise to $60 and everyone folds 90% of the time...find yourself a better game.
I think you and Dave have legit points against straddling. However, I think most games run fairly small and straddles are just used occasionally to change the flow of the table. I agree though if you are playing what you consider an already "big" game (whatever that means to the player) straddling becomes unnecessary.

In most games I have played people only straddle occasionally which is fun. If the game was straddled the whole night then the stakes should probably just be adjusted.
 

MatB

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...and by jam. You mean ‘pot’

I like it. You’ll isolate to 2 or 3 players. Then we play some poker.
 

Leonard

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keep in mind we most times play 11 handed
I can top that. We have played 12 handed. Seriously, 12 handed. It never lasts long because I can't take it and usually leave if we are 11 or 12 handed and that solves the problem. Several players strongly object to splitting to two tables because they may get a different table than the "action players" (ie habitual losers). Rational explanations like "more hands per hour" and "playing a greater percentage of hands" or "more elbow room" fall on deaf ears. Fortunately, this doesn't happen often.

I don't understand the hate for straddles. I understand not doing them, of course, but any theoretical advantage obtained by straddling is offset by the type of player who choses to straddle. Our game plays deep, especially late - 300-1000+ BB - so any advantage is minimal. Everyone straddling just raises the stakes of the game in general - which is fine if that's what your want. Unanimous agreement would be required in any case.

Personally, I don't allow button straddles but unlimited UTG++ straddles are allowed. Our game is $1-$2 and the first straddle is $5, then $10, $20, and $40, which is as high as we have gone.
 
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Gobbs

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Strategy option: always jam pre-flop when somebody else straddles. Discuss.
Assuming a 9-player or so table, it depends on position and stacks.

From early or even middle position, almost always no. Too many players to act after you if you have a bad or marginal hand and, most likely, you'll be leaving money on the table from other players if you have a premium hand. I think you just have to play it straight. Of course, I leave the door open for rare occasions when you have KK or AA and you think you may get a call from somebody who simply refuses to give up their straddle.

From late position or blinds in an unopened pot, there are four basic scenarios (NOTE: by smallish stack, I mean something in which betting about 1/4 of your stack would probably not produce enough fold equity to justify not going all-in.):
  • Both players with a smallish stack - Yes, with a better than average hand. No, if less than average hand. You are likely to get called by the straddler.
  • Straddle with smallish stack, player with a biggish stack - Same as above except, instead of moving all-in, bet enough to put the straddler all-in (making sure it's also enough to likely isolate him).
  • Straddle with biggish stack, player with a smallish stack - Simply depends...but probably not without a decent hand because you are likely to get called by the straddle.
  • Both players with biggish stack - No, but only because 1/4 of your stack should accomplish about the same thing.
 

Gobbs

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I get the concept that some people would LOVE to see their cards before committing any more than .25/.50. But really no one is being forced to straddle. If youre playing at a table of loose players who want to straddle to $4 or $8, and you consider yourself a decent player, you (the non straddler) should be loving the fact that you are getting to look at your cards pre-flop with minimum investment in the pot. Good players should be taking advantage of that.

I feel like the weaker players who dont straddle are going to get chewed up anyway if they are not adjusting their strategy to take advantage of a juiced up pot and getting to look at their cards for free.

I do find it a little ironic when we are talking about changing table stakes by straddling when most , if not everyone, is a NLHE player at some point and after seeing their 2 cards can literally go ALL IN ! no matter what the blinds are whether its .25/.50 , 1/3 or 5/10

Its all a game. Strategize, Adapt, Destroy !
That is somewhat true if you are allowed to buy in for a very large stack, but take the example given...I can only buy-in for 200 big blinds, which sounds like a fair amount until the first straddle goes to $8. Now, I only have 12.5 BBs. (Even if it goes to $4, I still only have 25 BBs.). All semblance of playing poker just went out the window. Sure, in the long run, it's probably a positive play for me, but for it to become positive, I have to play with a ton of poker with a ton of variance and, theoretically, the strongest part of my game (post-flop play) is rendered all but moot. (NOTE: Post-flop play is not necessarily my strongest asset...just using it as an example.). So, in theory, yes, stronger players should want other players to straddle, but in reality, it only serves to make the game far less interesting in many cases and increases the luck factor exponentially. As I've stated before, I prefer not to increase the luck factor.

EDIT: That's twice today that I posted before I was done....sorry. I meant to add that you also have to weigh the increase in your expected profit from this way vs. the expected profit you can make without straddles as a strong post-flop player. While the straddle may be profitable, the non-straddle may be more profitable.
 

Venturalvn

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I'm surprised to see so much hate for such a simple bet on a poker forum. The whole argument about a straddle being for gamblers is totally silly. It lets the UTG player buy position for a min raise, and that seems pretty strategic to me.

Additionally, it raises the bet for a single hand in a game. We've had this type of action pull a game out of the muck multiple times in our games, and it was welcomed every time.

It incites action most times, and builds a pot for stronger hands. I really see no reason to tell straddlers to f off, as I can't really see either of those as downsides.

I should mention I only allow UTG straddles in my game since a button straddle has the exact opposite effect and is an action killer.
 

BGinGA

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I'm surprised to see so much hate for such a simple bet on a poker forum.
You've clearly never been in the small blind of a 25c/50c meetup circus game (second hand of the session, $100 buy-in) holding 99 and seeing straddles half-way around the table -- seriously, four straddles of $1-$2-$4-$8 -- and then Ben (first to act) pot-raises to $48 and the button shoves with $100+, action on you (call all-in or fold) with five players yet to act. That's not poker, that's bingo.
 

MatB

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Poker is that moment when you have a hand, not the nuts, but a decent hand no less. And someone says POT which would put you all in if you call.

If you're not saying "OH SHIT" in your head when someone says pot. Youre not doing it right.

That is poker. ;)
 

MatB

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You've clearly never been in the small blind of a 25c/50c meetup circus game (second hand of the session, $100 buy-in) holding 99 and seeing straddles half-way around the table -- seriously, four straddles of $1-$2-$4-$8 -- and then Ben (first to act) pot-raises to $48 and the button shoves with $100+, action on you (call all-in or fold) with five players yet to act. That's not poker, that's bingo.
what kind of circus freak only has 2 cards in their hand? Obviously you're playing Scrotum8 and you've set 99 as you're holding. Right? :ROFL: :ROFLMAO:
 

Venturalvn

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You've clearly never been in the small blind of a 25c/50c meetup circus game (second hand of the session, $100 buy-in) holding 99 and seeing straddles half-way around the table -- seriously, four straddles of $1-$2-$4-$8 -- and then Ben (first to act) pot-raises to $48 and the button shoves with $100+, action on you (call all-in or fold) with five players yet to act. That's not poker, that's bingo.
I agree...that's not poker. My argument was moreso based on reasonable play. If straddling more than 1 or 2 spots became a normal situation in my game, I'd simply limit it to one UTG straddle and be done with it.

Luckily in our game people actually want to play cards and to play for cards sake. In the same respect, our 50 cent game actually plays to the blinds, and doesn't have a table full of $1k stacks like we see posted here all the time.
 

MatB

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it’s all poker

Just because it makes you uncomfortable or makes it less fun, or more importantly, goes against the way you think poker should be played. None of those things make it less a game of poker

Yes. Sometimes it’s bingo. So what? Adapt

I’ve played NLHE at a table with someone on major tilt and they go all in every hand for 4 or 5 hands in a row. Still poker. I’m more likely to fold but if I have playable hand I’m calling. Still poker
 

Venturalvn

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it’s all poker

Just because it makes you uncomfortable or makes it less fun, or more importantly, goes against the way you think poker should be played. None of those things make it less a game of poker

Yes. Sometimes it’s bingo. So what? Adapt

I’ve played NLHE at a table with someone on major tilt and they go all in every hand for 4 or 5 hands in a row. Still poker. I’m more likely to fold but if I have playable hand I’m calling. Still poker
It's poker in the same way you can play football and spike the ball into the ground on every snap. It's poker in the same way you can play baseball and enter into the batter's box standing backwards and never swing the bat. It's poker the same way you can play basketball and just chuck the ball out of bounds every time someone passes it to you.

You can call it whatever you want. But if you do it at my game, coach is pulling you out of the game.
 

MatB

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But your house your rules.

If you set a rule for only 1 straddle. That’s fine. Won’t bother me. I’ll adapt.

All the examples you quoted would cause the team/ player to lose ( I have know idea how football is playedo_O)
But I can attest. Straddling has not hurt my game
 

Venturalvn

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You could lose your whole buy-in by being the 7th person to straddle on the first hand too. The point isn't about if you can win or lose, the point is about gamesmanship.
 
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