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Straddling and Insurance

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  • Straddling and Insurance

    Has anyone watched The Big Game (channel 5 in the UK on Wednesday's about 12.00am)?

    A lot of the pro's talk about 'straddling' and 'insurance' but I'm not really sure what they're on about. Can anyone explain these terms for me? Some examples would be great too, thanks!

  • #2
    I don't know too much about insurance, but I can talk about straddling a bit.

    Not breaking out exact definitions here, just explainations from personal experience. A straddle is opting to put money into the pot preflop before you are dealt your hole cards with the intention of inducing increased action. The blinds help drive the action in poker, as does the straddle. Main difference is the blinds are manditory and the straddle is optional for the player.

    The rules for straddling vary from casino to casino. Where I play the 'Under The Gun' player can put double the Big Blind in preflop before the cards are dealt. He is then last to act preflop. The straddle has to be double the Big Blind, no more or less. At another casino I've played at, the player on the Button had the option to straddle as well.

    The straddle is basically just raising blind preflop. When done 'Under The Gun' it has the added benefit of allowing you to act last preflop instead of first.


    • #3
      Straddling is putting extra dead money into a pot before you see your cards, often in exchange for the privilege of acting last on the preflop betting round­. Straddling typically has the effect of temporarily doubling the table stakes, so people often do it simply to make the game more interesting.

      Taking insurance is betting against yourself winning a hand, so that if you lose, you don't lose as much.

      Neither is something you can typically do in online poker, but they are prevalent in live cash games. Both are generally considered -EV.


      • #4
        Straddling is technically -EV, but there is more to it than that. It can be used as a tool to manipulate players or the table dynamic.

        Example: Table tightening up and the action dying? Start straddling and making lots of small raises.


        • #5
          don't forget about the double straddle!


          • #6
            REGULAR STRADDLE: This is essentially a raise made by the UTG player, before he sees his cards. As UTG would be first to act in the hand anyway, he would be acting in turn to bet whether he does so before or after receiving his cards; a regular straddle would be considered the UTG's first "action" in the hand, and if he/she is only called, the straddler CANNOT raise again. This differs from a "live straddle". A Regular straddle in a NL game can be any amount, not just a minimum bet, although a min bet straddle is most common.

            DOUBLE STRADDLE: This would be exactly like a regular straddle, only made by the person UTG +1 after UTG has straddled. Again, as the action would occur "in turn", it is a legal and binding bet made "in the dark". The minimum amoutn would be double the raise amount of the initial straddler in an NL game, but it can be for any amount in an NL game. Double straddles are almost never live straddles (see below), but some venues or sites may allow them to be.

            Effectively, the entire table can straddle and re-straddle in order around the table, until all chips are in the middle (in a NL game), or until the raise cap is met in a Fixed Limit game.

            LIVE STRADDLE: This is a straddle bet made UTG (for double the BB), which is considered like another blind. As such, if a venue or site allows a LIVE STRADDLE, the straddler has the option to raise again, even if he/she was only called. This is the major difference between a "live" and "regular" or "double" straddle.

            "Mississippi" Straddle: This is a regular straddle made from ANY position at the table without consecutive straddles ahead of it, although it is most common the button. As this action is "out of turn", it is usually not a "legal" bet at most venues and sites, even those allowing other types of straddles. Mississippi straddles are almost never "live" (although I hear tell from Ol Mud, a PSO'er, that a live home game he plays in Kentucky allows them to be played live, sheesh!).

            "KILL GAMES/KILL POTS": 'Kill games" are those with a special rule calling for the winner of 2 consecutive hands (usually) in a High only game, or someone who scoops (in a high/lo split game), to post a double big blind amount from any position at the table on the hand following their win. Any pot where this double blind has been posted is a "kill pot", and for Fixed Limit games, the bet amounts usually DOUBLE (a 3/6 game becomes 6/12 as long as their is a "kill" on). Kill Games are usually found only in fixed limit games.

            The BB and SB still post only the normal blind amounts, even though the betting amounts have doubled, and the BB must call the additional amount of the double posted blind (at least) to continue. The "Killer", having posted the full bet amount for the higher level, can elect to CHECK (unless the bet amount has been raised before he acts).

            A "Kill" post is almost always considered live because it is a "forced" bet (the Killer has no choice aobut posting it), and allows the Killer the option to raise from any position when it is his/her turn to act.

            The PURPOSE of straddling is usually to generate more "action" in the hand. A straddler forces anyone who wishes to play agaisnt their random hand to do so for at least double cost, and any subsequent raise amounts in NL games are also generally larger as a result of straddles.

            In Fixed Limit games, live straddles are almost never counted amongst the betting "cap limit" (generally FL games have a "cap" of a bet and 3 or 4 raises). As such, a straddle in a FL game tends to generate larger pots because an "additional" raise is now allowable on the flop. Some venues and sites may count a regular straddle and/or Mississippi straddle against the betitng cap, and some may not.

            A Kill game posted double blind is never considered to be part of the raise cap in FL games, as it is not a raise at all, simply a "call" in the full amount of the higher bet amounts for the temporarily raised limits.


            All you ever wanted to know aobut straddles, and probably more!

            Last edited by JDean; Thu Mar 15, 2012, 10:50 PM.
            Double Bracelet Winner



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