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Old 08-06-2017, 02:18 PM   #1
WehrmatsWormhat
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Strategy for playing against straddles

Can someone give me a bit more info on playing against straddles? I tend to just raise if I have a huge hand, and fold anything else, but I feel like there's more money to be made with players putting extra money into the pot with potentially marginal hands (via either being the straddler or limping for twice the amount).

For the purposes of this post, let's assume it's a regular straddle, not a Mississippi straddle.
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:54 PM   #2
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

If "regular straddle" means UTG straddle for 2 BB, then essentially just treat the straddle as the BB and everyone's stacks as if they have half (or very slightly less than half) of their BB. You don't play significantly tighter. You will need to play slightly tighter because the bottom of your open raising range gets through 3 blinds less often than it gets through 2. But some of that is counteracted by the fact that there's an extra dead .5 "SB" (the natural SB) and you need to play looser with more dead money.

When someone straddles like this, they cost themselves EV while increasing the EV of everybody else at the table, with the LP players getting the highest portion of the free EV and the blinds getting the least. You can continue playing vs the straddle as if it were a real open raise UTG with a tight range (as in the way you said, only raise or "re-raise" when you have a huge hand), and it won't be part of a losing strategy if you play well in every other regard, but you will be foregoing some of the free EV the UTG player has provided.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:01 PM   #3
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

Quote:
Originally Posted by NVF View Post
If "regular straddle" means UTG straddle for 2 BB, then essentially just treat the straddle as the BB and everyone's stacks as if they have half (or very slightly less than half) of their BB. You don't play significantly tighter. You will need to play slightly tighter because the bottom of your open raising range gets through 3 blinds less often than it gets through 2. But some of that is counteracted by the fact that there's an extra dead .5 "SB" (the natural SB) and you need to play looser with more dead money.

When someone straddles like this, they cost themselves EV while increasing the EV of everybody else at the table, with the LP players getting the highest portion of the free EV and the blinds getting the least. You can continue playing vs the straddle as if it were a real open raise UTG with a tight range (as in the way you said, only raise or "re-raise" when you have a huge hand), and it won't be part of a losing strategy if you play well in every other regard, but you will be foregoing some of the free EV the UTG player has provided.
Always wondered this and the bet sizing you use when 50bb deep w/straddle, i made a post about how to play 50bb deep in beginners dumb questions thread it got no responses as per usual.

Straddles in live poker are a very frequent spot, therefore it would make sense to know the most profitable strat in regards to 50bb play most of the time.
Tbh i'm not much of a tournament/MTT player but i'm guessing 50bb stacks depths are how most tournies tend to play minus the antes and the factor of busting out.

---

My experiences/observations are that i tend to just play a very value-heavy range because whoever straddled is likely going to be over-calling/over-defending preflop and being only 50bb deep don't really want to be raising with 86s and then get 3 or 4 callers (as per usual in live poker) and the SPR being insanely low with such a hand in a MW pot.

The fact that there aren't any antes/not being a tourney doesn't really give any incentive to trying to play a wider range IMO to try and steal $15 or $10 or w/e.

I try to play cautiously when it's pretty shallow stacked (anything under 100bb effect unless whole table has 100bb etc.) w/straddle but i would like to hear other's opinions.

Thanks for your post NVF

---

Bet sizing wise what do you raise to if whole table is roughly 50bb deep and straddled something like 2/5/10, 3x or 3.5x?
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Old 08-07-2017, 02:06 PM   #4
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

One important factor NVF didn't touch on in his port directly is stack depth. The deeper the effective stacks are relative to the blind and straddle the less change you'll need to make to your range.

For example if you were at a 2/5 table and someone straddled to 10 it's different being 100bb deep than 200bb. I think NVF just assumed 100bb at the start of the hand because it's a common buyin size.

But any way, the lower your stack the more you'll want to play hands that tend to retain high amounts of equity as opposed to more speculative drawing hands.

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Old 08-07-2017, 03:55 PM   #5
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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Originally Posted by just_grindin View Post
But any way, the lower your stack the more you'll want to play hands that tend to retain high amounts of equity as opposed to more speculative drawing hands.
I feel like this is true because of a cash game however in a tournament where there are ICM/payouts and antes in play i still see people playing wide as hell?

Correct my logic/understanding about this if i'm wrong?

Also what raise open bet sizing do you use 50bb deep?
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:56 PM   #6
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

Quote:
Originally Posted by NVF View Post
If "regular straddle" means UTG straddle for 2 BB, then essentially just treat the straddle as the BB and everyone's stacks as if they have half (or very slightly less than half) of their BB. You don't play significantly tighter. You will need to play slightly tighter because the bottom of your open raising range gets through 3 blinds less often than it gets through 2. But some of that is counteracted by the fact that there's an extra dead .5 "SB" (the natural SB) and you need to play looser with more dead money.

When someone straddles like this, they cost themselves EV while increasing the EV of everybody else at the table, with the LP players getting the highest portion of the free EV and the blinds getting the least. You can continue playing vs the straddle as if it were a real open raise UTG with a tight range (as in the way you said, only raise or "re-raise" when you have a huge hand), and it won't be part of a losing strategy if you play well in every other regard, but you will be foregoing some of the free EV the UTG player has provided.
Yeah UTG 2x BB is what I meant, so you're right! I'm a 1/3 live player, so 1/3/6 with the live straddle is generally what I'm facing when a player chooses to straddle. Does it make sense to try to play a bit more aggressively (i.e. raise and them c-bet on a dry flop) since there will be more money in? Or does the extra 6 not matter enough to make that relevant?
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:45 PM   #7
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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Originally Posted by Evoxgsr96 View Post
I feel like this is true because of a cash game however in a tournament where there are ICM/payouts and antes in play i still see people playing wide as hell?

Correct my logic/understanding about this if i'm wrong?

Also what raise open bet sizing do you use 50bb deep?
Well to back track my comment a little bit my understanding is that as stack sizes vary certain hands can come into or move out of your strategy.

Looking at one extreme if you start the hand with 1bb all hands become playable (tournament or cash) because you have the equity vs random hands to gamble it up.

At the other extreme say 1000 bb or infinitely many bb if you will it's possible that a lot of hands become playable for implied odds and board coverage while a lot of other really good hands become unplayable due to roi.

Now at every stack size in between hands can move in and out of playability for various reasons mostly related to the concepts above.

Now to get back to your question specifically about tournaments. My understanding is that ICM considerations track really closely to chip EV until you get closer to the bubble or significant jump in payouts and most of my understanding is that chips that you have are worth more than chips that you gain in terms of prize EV so most of the stuff that I know would cause people to call with a much tighter range, leading people to shove with wider ranges expecting to get called less frequently.

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Old 08-07-2017, 07:08 PM   #8
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

Oh and as far as 50bb stacks are concerned if I was playing with 2 blinds then I would raise a normal amount. If it was a straddle situation where I am 50bb effective I would likely treat it as if a couple of people had limped ahead of me.

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Old 08-08-2017, 10:09 AM   #9
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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Oh and as far as 50bb stacks are concerned if I was playing with 2 blinds then I would raise a normal amount. If it was a straddle situation where I am 50bb effective I would likely treat it as if a couple of people had limped ahead of me.

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So blinds are 2/5 now a $10 straddle making it 2/5/10, Hero is first to act and raises to... 30 (if 20 is standard open for 2/5)?
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:40 AM   #10
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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So blinds are 2/5 now a $10 straddle making it 2/5/10, Hero is first to act and raises to... 30 (if 20 is standard open for 2/5)?
Seems right to me if the standard open is 20 from your position. Usually add 1bb per limper. I have no idea if it's the best strategy but makes sense to me.

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Old 08-08-2017, 11:41 AM   #11
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

This is entirely dependent on how your opponents view their poker investments. There are a few different ways your opponents think:

a) crushers think in terms of ev.

b) some others think in terms of their hand being worth $X.

c) some others only think about their hand and how often they'll flop something decent with no regard for the size of the investment.

So if you're at a table full of (b) players, you should loosen up significantly when there's a straddle; these players will think "oh I'd usually play this hand for $15 but I'm gonna fold for $30." All with no regard for the size of the investment relative to the existing pot nor your opening range. ATTACK!!!!!!!!

If you're at a table full of (c) players, you should tighten up the bottom of your opening ranges because they will call too often which will affect your winrate with the weaker hands that would otherwise be profitable at a table full of players with fold buttons.

If you're at a table full of (a) players, there are a few factors that will affect your ev with the marginal hands: first, the effective stack is cut in half relative to the blinds; what was a 100bb stack with normal blinds is a 50bb stack with a straddle; this seems to point us in the direction of tightening up. However, this isn't the only factor. The addition of the straddle changes everyone's ev at the table. What was a profitable position of being utg is now unprofitable for the straddler; nobody wins money in the blinds; everyone loses; thus the ev must be transferred to the other players. In order to capture this ev, there should be a loosening up effect for all of the other positions. Considering both of these effects isn't an easy task, but I think there should be generally looser play with a straddle than without. Here's a mind **** to illustrate why:

blinds are posted in a six handed game. Jimmy straddles utg 2bb. Joey restraddles in the hj to 4bb, Jane rerestraddles to 8bb in the co, I'm first to act on the button. Since everyone loses in the blinds, the ev loss from all the dead money in the pot is transferred to me on the button, thus I should play looser than I would vs standard blinds.

However, if given the option to rererestraddle to 16bb, I would do so.
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:02 PM   #12
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

Very game dependent but IMO

1. People play tighter pre with the straddle except the actual straddle. Hence emphasise opening a bit wider with offsuit high cards
2. Cbet 100% vs the straddler on a lot of textures as they never fold it.
3. People continue much less on the flop in straddled pot (ie they might fold bottom pair say whereas in a non straddled pot they would call with it)
4. Watch out for shirt stacks.


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Old 08-10-2017, 12:15 PM   #13
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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Very game dependent but IMO

1. People play tighter pre with the straddle except the actual straddle. Hence emphasise opening a bit wider with offsuit high cards
2. Cbet 100% vs the straddler on a lot of textures as they never fold it.
3. People continue much less on the flop in straddled pot (ie they might fold bottom pair say whereas in a non straddled pot they would call with it)
4. Watch out for shirt stacks.


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Yeah in regards to 1) i see people limping hands they should be raising, which throws me off a bit so yeah be a bit cautious about their limping ranges in regards to isoing hands you normally would like A9o/ATo or 56s etc.

**** short stacks, if only a few at the table are 100bb effective then yeah might make sizing's smaller like mentioned above in regards to 50bb play.
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:53 PM   #14
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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Originally Posted by just_grindin View Post
Seems right to me if the standard open is 20 from your position. Usually add 1bb per limper. I have no idea if it's the best strategy but makes sense to me.

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Sometimes i will go slightly larger sizing like 3.5x or 4x if straddler is really fishy/loose passive and whole table as well (will call with same range of holdings vs a 3x as a 3.5x or 4x)

I think the main things to consider here is SPR & Implied Odds (pre-turn) in terms of our bet sizing both preflop & postflop and the range of holdings villain's is going to be call with + setting up to GII.

Ex: 2/5/10 (50bb effect)
We raise 30, 35 or 40, villain's pot odd pre are 30%, 33% and 37.5% equity to call in these 3 scenarios

Similarly postflop in this same scenario implied odds and equity realization are important to how much EV we gain.

Our goal is to make villain have -EV calls and for him to not realize his equity and for us to get stacks in/planning to get stacks in as smoothly as possible with good sizings/exploitative sizings (which should be easier in a shallow 50bb-100bb effect stack then say 200bb+ deep).
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Old 08-15-2017, 09:34 AM   #15
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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Originally Posted by Bob148 View Post
This is entirely dependent on how your opponents view their poker investments. There are a few different ways your opponents think:

a) crushers think in terms of ev.

b) some others think in terms of their hand being worth $X.

c) some others only think about their hand and how often they'll flop something decent with no regard for the size of the investment.

So if you're at a table full of (b) players, you should loosen up significantly when there's a straddle; these players will think "oh I'd usually play this hand for $15 but I'm gonna fold for $30." All with no regard for the size of the investment relative to the existing pot nor your opening range. ATTACK!!!!!!!!

If you're at a table full of (c) players, you should tighten up the bottom of your opening ranges because they will call too often which will affect your winrate with the weaker hands that would otherwise be profitable at a table full of players with fold buttons.

If you're at a table full of (a) players, there are a few factors that will affect your ev with the marginal hands: first, the effective stack is cut in half relative to the blinds; what was a 100bb stack with normal blinds is a 50bb stack with a straddle; this seems to point us in the direction of tightening up. However, this isn't the only factor. The addition of the straddle changes everyone's ev at the table. What was a profitable position of being utg is now unprofitable for the straddler; nobody wins money in the blinds; everyone loses; thus the ev must be transferred to the other players. In order to capture this ev, there should be a loosening up effect for all of the other positions. Considering both of these effects isn't an easy task, but I think there should be generally looser play with a straddle than without. Here's a mind **** to illustrate why:

blinds are posted in a six handed game. Jimmy straddles utg 2bb. Joey restraddles in the hj to 4bb, Jane rerestraddles to 8bb in the co, I'm first to act on the button. Since everyone loses in the blinds, the ev loss from all the dead money in the pot is transferred to me on the button, thus I should play looser than I would vs standard blinds.

However, if given the option to rererestraddle to 16bb, I would do so.
Yeah, I figured that, like most other things, it's dependent on the table, which makes sense. Most of the people I've been playing with seem to just limp to the straddle (or fold). I've seen a lot of limped pots for $6 each pre with the straddle on.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:25 AM   #16
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

So what's proper 3! sizing in a straddled 50bb pot preflop if we are OOP or even IP?

2/5/10 (50bb/$500 effect)

V raises to 3bb-4bb, Hero is in sb w/AA...?

We still 4xing it out OOP, if called pot is 330ish OTF and we have 340 behind 1 street of play/weird SPR?

What's our 3! sizings typically in these scenarios preflop when 50bb/shallow stacked? Not much of a tourney player here...
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Old 08-16-2017, 02:50 PM   #17
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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Originally Posted by WehrmatsWormhat View Post
Can someone give me a bit more info on playing against straddles? I tend to just raise if I have a huge hand, and fold anything else, but I feel like there's more money to be made with players putting extra money into the pot with potentially marginal hands (via either being the straddler or limping for twice the amount).

For the purposes of this post, let's assume it's a regular straddle, not a Mississippi straddle.
OK, so you want the regular UTG straddle and not the Mississippi, OK

Defense against maniacs that straddle every round and raises when people put money like a heroic FoS OOP in UTG blind .. haha big -EV

Regular straddle is done by the villain UTG. If you don't feel comfortable or don't want to call the straddle because he's raising most of them, this is what you do:

Pay attention and tale note:
You are in the big BB and I am in the SB and the straddle master is UTG. Now, when he's about to put his straddle down and announces "straddle" you immediately ask the dealer to give you the Missing Big Bling Button (is like you take a pissing break ..) and you stay out and force him to take the BB ... haha. On the next round if you want to buy the button you can do that but if he try again to straddle you tell the dealer again that you change your mind and you'll be pissing one more time but posting behind the button (same price 1.5bb,...0.5bb goes in the middle and 1bb in front of you). Now, that smart FoS dude will never the entire night be able to straddle again as long as you two guys keep the same seats. Got it? -- You actually force the straddle specialist-good-for-nothing dude to take BB and SB and on top of all this you still get the option to raise the hell out of limpers from a back position that is the C/O where you will be when posting behind the button. If he wants to straddle OTB when you want to post behind the button, you stay out one more hand (pissing if you need from so much beer) and post your missing blinds in the HJ.

So the dude get straddle nothing because you give him the both blinds to shove then up his ...., haha .. . Got it?

Note: .. when asking for the missing button tell the straddle dude that you got the need of pissing every time you get the BB ... hahaha .. just give it to him until he feels like a fool but don't move from the table. Stay there and ask him: "How come you are in the BB?" ...haha!

Last edited by outdonked; 08-16-2017 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 08-17-2017, 11:26 AM   #18
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoxgsr96 View Post
So what's proper 3! sizing in a straddled 50bb pot preflop if we are OOP or even IP?

2/5/10 (50bb/$500 effect)

V raises to 3bb-4bb, Hero is in sb w/AA...?

We still 4xing it out OOP, if called pot is 330ish OTF and we have 340 behind 1 street of play/weird SPR?

What's our 3! sizings typically in these scenarios preflop when 50bb/shallow stacked? Not much of a tourney player here...
Can anyone answer this just_grindin or bob?

Live compared to online... the preflop bet sizings are so much larger i'm talking 4x-5x open sizings (vs 3x or 2.25xlol) which has an effect on SPR/implied odds being 100bb>.

And when we are OOP are we still suppose to be using a 4x sizing to deny equity/implieds EVEN when 100bb> and some guy makes it like 5x pre etc...?

Ugh i hate bet sizing in NL Hold Em it's so complex...
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Old 08-17-2017, 11:58 AM   #19
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

I would need a specific example. Sometimes I'll 3 bet smaller, sometimes I'll just shove.
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:57 PM   #20
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoxgsr96 View Post
Can anyone answer this just_grindin or bob?

Live compared to online... the preflop bet sizings are so much larger i'm talking 4x-5x open sizings (vs 3x or 2.25xlol) which has an effect on SPR/implied odds being 100bb>.

And when we are OOP are we still suppose to be using a 4x sizing to deny equity/implieds EVEN when 100bb> and some guy makes it like 5x pre etc...?

Ugh i hate bet sizing in NL Hold Em it's so complex...
As Bob said who is the opener or are you just counting the straddle as an open so you're asking about raising the straddle?

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Old 08-17-2017, 05:19 PM   #21
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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I would need a specific example. Sometimes I'll 3 bet smaller, sometimes I'll just shove.
Quote:
Originally Posted by just_grindin View Post
As Bob said who is the opener or are you just counting the straddle as an open so you're asking about raising the straddle?

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Ex:
2/5/10 (50bb/$500 effect)

UTG+2 (not straddler) raises to 3bb-4bb, Hero is in sb w/AA...?


Hero is in the sb with AA, just asking in general what our 3! bet sizing should be here preflop, given awkward SPR postflop.
Forgot to mention this example say MP calls or Bu calls and we 3! squeeze here with AA even more of an awkward SPR... (cold calls/squeeze oppurtunities happen a lot in live poker therefore this leads to a bloated pot/small awkwardish SPR OTF postflop)
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:06 PM   #22
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

It's a good question that I had to put a lot of thought into before trying to put it into words. This is what I came up with:

The stronger the opening range, the more we should reraise our stack, because we get paid either way: a) if he's a nit then we win the pot often. or b) we get called and win often. It's just the nature of playing vs a strong range such as utg +2, particularly from the small blind. So I think we should be a bit value heavy here with our shoves relative to premodern indifference theory.

Think of playing vs someone that calls a high percentage of a strong range, such as utg+2 is supposed to have and contrast that with how often you're gonna get called by a button range. I'd much rather reraise smaller vs the button: probably $100 vs a $30 raise, and $110 vs a $40 raise without evidence that they'll call off stacks with really bad hands.
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Old 08-19-2017, 11:14 PM   #23
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

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OK, so you want the regular UTG straddle and not the Mississippi, OK

Defense against maniacs that straddle every round and raises when people put money like a heroic FoS OOP in UTG blind .. haha big -EV

Regular straddle is done by the villain UTG. If you don't feel comfortable or don't want to call the straddle because he's raising most of them, this is what you do:

Pay attention and tale note:
You are in the big BB and I am in the SB and the straddle master is UTG. Now, when he's about to put his straddle down and announces "straddle" you immediately ask the dealer to give you the Missing Big Bling Button (is like you take a pissing break ..) and you stay out and force him to take the BB ... haha. On the next round if you want to buy the button you can do that but if he try again to straddle you tell the dealer again that you change your mind and you'll be pissing one more time but posting behind the button (same price 1.5bb,...0.5bb goes in the middle and 1bb in front of you). Now, that smart FoS dude will never the entire night be able to straddle again as long as you two guys keep the same seats. Got it? -- You actually force the straddle specialist-good-for-nothing dude to take BB and SB and on top of all this you still get the option to raise the hell out of limpers from a back position that is the C/O where you will be when posting behind the button. If he wants to straddle OTB when you want to post behind the button, you stay out one more hand (pissing if you need from so much beer) and post your missing blinds in the HJ.

So the dude get straddle nothing because you give him the both blinds to shove then up his ...., haha .. . Got it?

Note: .. when asking for the missing button tell the straddle dude that you got the need of pissing every time you get the BB ... hahaha .. just give it to him until he feels like a fool but don't move from the table. Stay there and ask him: "How come you are in the BB?" ...haha!
Ha, I like the trolling effort, though I'd be real awkward trying to pull this off.
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Old 09-04-2017, 03:09 PM   #24
Evoxgsr96
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evoxgsr96 View Post
Ex:
2/5/10 (50bb/$500 effect)

UTG+2 (not straddler) raises to 3bb-4bb, Hero is in sb w/AA...?


Hero is in the sb with AA, just asking in general what our 3! bet sizing should be here preflop, given awkward SPR postflop.
Forgot to mention this example say MP calls or Bu calls and we 3! squeeze here with AA even more of an awkward SPR... (cold calls/squeeze oppurtunities happen a lot in live poker therefore this leads to a bloated pot/small awkwardish SPR OTF postflop)
Some other factors to consider...

The less stack we have left less implied odds for villain to call a 4x especially in a 50bb effect spot, in addition if villain has a low PFR/raising range does not include stuff like suited Ax or T9s etc. (like vs a nit/super loose passive) i think choosing a 3x sizing is better no?

Ex:

Like if we have AA and 4x it in the bb vs IP opener in a 50bb effect spot (also take into account the large raise bet sizings in live poker) and initial raiser has like T9s-KQs that is going to be a trivial fold vs a 4x here maybe not vs a 3x sizing...

Can someone lmk what is most profitable sizing in this spot (obv it depends on a lot right), and if my logic is correct in regards to what i said above?

Last edited by Evoxgsr96; 09-04-2017 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:11 AM   #25
Tutejszy
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Re: Strategy for playing against straddles

this is poker theory forum, not live poker exploits forum. From theoretical point of view, straddle is just a third blind, and thats all. If a stradde makes you 50bb deep, you play 50bb poker. If it makes you 3bb deep, you play 3bb poker. People reacting to straddle differently can and should be exploited, but it depends on a player.
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