Featured Feature: Straddle
What Is It?
A straddle is a blind raise preflop made before the hole cards are dealt. It can be a fun element in a poker game, but many players don’t fully understand how this feature really works. Its significance exceeds merely putting out twice the value of the big blind before the cards are dealt. Indeed, it can dramatically alter the game in different ways.
How Does It Work?
The option to straddle is offered to players in both Hold ’em and Omaha games. The player who’s the first to act may choose to place a straddle bet before the cards are dealt. The size of this bet is double the big blind. For example, in a $1/$2 no-limit Hold ’em game, the straddle is $4.
When the straddle bet is placed, the other players must then in turn either call, raise or fold. This means that the straddle transforms the game from $1/$2 no-limit to $1/$2/$4 no-limit for one hand.
After placing his bet, the straddler is given another chance to act after his cards are revealed, similarly to the two players in the blinds. After the flop, the game continues as normal.
When and Why Straddle?
One example of when straddling is a good idea is when you’re at a table with a bunch of callers. Attacking them with a big raise when the action comes back to you can lead to excellent results, giving you a chance to pick up some easy money.
Straddling can be of great use to aggressive players who are willing to lose an occasional extra bet to spice up the game or fold many times and then blast people. It essentially makes the game bigger and is often contagious.