There has been a lot of debate in recent months about straddling on the poker table. A lot of players go on the poker table with the intention of straddling. Some will even make it known to the other players on the table. It is important to understand the impact straddling can have on your overall game strategy.
When you end up on a table where someone is intent on straddling throughout the game, here are a few changes that must be made to your game plan.
1. Straddling Changes the Betting Dynamics
If you are playing a game where the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2, that is where you want most of the action to start. However, you may be in the presence of players that will straddle. They will start off the bet with either $5 or $10 in order to make things more interesting. This completely changes how you will approach the rest of the hand.
If there is no straddling, someone raising in a $1/$2 game will add a $5 or a $10. If someone straddled with $10 to begin with, the next raise could be all the way at $20.
2. Straddling Decrease the Size of the Stack
The number of hands you can play with your buy in money decreases dramatically when someone straddles. If you are playing a $1/$2 game and buying in for $300, this gives you 150 big blinds to start with. However, being involved in a straddling situation may reduce this number to 50 big blinds. The mistake a lot of straddlers make is they look for a quick gain by sacrificing the long term strategy. For example, a player that buys in for $200 and straddles at $10 every hand is only harming himself. That player will only have 20 big blinds from his buy in money, instead of the 100 without straddling.