Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How I LOATHE the Button Straddle

Why?  Let me spell it out.  It takes any game and forces it to play 1 level higher, without the stacks.  For example, in a 1-2 game the button straddle is $5.  So, you are playing a $2-$5 game, but the buy-in is only $200 max.  So, you are forced to play a bigger game against stacks that have accumulated at the table with only 40 BB. 

Yes, that REALLY bothers me.  It changes the game in that the table play is looser, but most of the time the loose play is unjustified.  Worse, if you are not getting cards, you bleed chips relatively quickly.

Here is a scenario.  You see some flop (at $5-$10 each) and miss EVERYONE and have to refill even though you have NOT LOST A HAND.  The stack to your left is $800 and ALWAYS button straddles and often raises it.  So, a new girl on his left limps.  I look down at 88 and its a perfect place to see a 4-5 handed flop.  I limp too.  The button makes it $20 to go and then the UTG girl, who is being tricky with QQ, re-pops to $45. 

She only has $120 behind and this button guy is probably going to call pre-flop, but who can be sure.  Do I want to play for $45 with 88 in a $1-$2 game??? No, of course not.  I am WAY behind and I would need to win a pot of $400 to have justified the call.  She only has $120.  And if I miss the flop, which I will 7 out of 8 times, I just called off 9 BB in a losing effort. 

The flop was A8X.  Figures. 

But my point is that the people building big stacks (and another guy was stuck $400 before he won a pot and started to build a stack) are doing it getting their money in with total disregard for EV. 

Conclusion: Its a donk-fest only you dont have the usual edge you would at said fest.  Your best bet is to build a stack fast, but if you keep getting "see a flop hands", you had better hit a few of them.


matt tag said...

SPR concepts will steer your path here. This makes the game play just like the capped cash game on FTP. In a nutshell, play for top pair and get it in. Drawing hands have no value anymore - implied odds are gone. Wait for AK and get it all in preflop, or AT/J/Q and get it in with top pair.

Chris Helms, MBA said...

I'm not a fan of wild-ass poker and the straddle tends to fall into that category. Having to use luck more than necessary is a sure path to disaster. Those good hands to see a flop with can be killers. But you have to know your opponents and figure out a way to win. I would probably just find a new table to win at. Nice blog.

Chris Helms