Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kill the Button Straddle!

[Content Disclosure: 100% Poker Rant]

I don't exactly know who was the idiot that came up with the button straddle but we have got to put a bullet in this brainless play. The button straddle is anti-poker, it is all about luck not skill, it creates an advantage for some players and disadvantages others and it re-penalizes the players who are already in jeopardy in the blinds.

If you want to play a game with an uneven advantage there are plenty of craps tables and blackjack games for you out in the casino. Hell, play Wheel of Fortune if that is how you want to redistribute your cash but stay the hell away from poker with your lame ass gimmick bets. The button straddle is no better than floor approved angle-shooting and it has to stop!

(end of rant, beginning of rational arguments on this dumb ass issue)

In most poker games, played with blinds, one or twice each round you are put at a disadvantage by having to post a small or big blind before seeing your cards. We all know that the games stagnate without blinds, so we accept them as part of the game because the blind burden shifts equally around the table among the players. To compensate for paying a blind bet, you get to act after all the other players in the pre-flop betting round. Now comes some incredibly perverse idea that a player on the button can straddle (double the big blind) and force the small and big blinds to act first. Suddenly the blinds are triple-disadvantaged by having to put up a forced bet and then having to act first and act behind a nutso raiser who will get another opportunity to raise again behind them.

Look, why not just put the jokers back in the deck instead of letting the morons play with the button! This is a stupid way to play a game of skill. You all remember that the poker community is making an argument before the governments of the U.S. and several other nations that poker is a game of skill. Well, the button straddle is not skill. If you want to play a home game then GO HOME!

(OK, so the rant really wasn't over)

Seriously folks, make your feelings known to each and every poker room manager and floor staff person you encounter. In fact, when it's your big blind, hold the chips in your hand until the dealer tosses out the first card; if someone puts up a button straddle announce you are sitting out the hand and will come in after the button. Then call for the floor and make your objection loudly while seated at the table. If you did that and the guy on your left refused to post a big blind and the next guy and the next... how long before your poker room banned the button straddle?

You see the issue is that not every player is disadvantaged or advantaged equally. I object to the button straddle universally. But I am only disadvantaged if the players one and two to my right actually make the bet. When it happens in other positions I actually may gain an advantage. It's like a random kill game. If I'm under-the-gun, I benefit because now I act third not first. If I'm in the cut-off seat, marginal hands that may have played for one bet have folded, which is sometimes a plus and other times a negative to my game, depending on what I am holding. Randomness has been introduced into a game that already has a definable amount of variation. Skill/knowledge has been diminished and luck has been increased; is that what a good poker player wants in the game?

The primary question simply is ... why?

Why add a gimmick to a game of poker?
Why add a gimmick that does not treat all players equally?
Why let the drunk moron on the button buy an advantage?
Why not just put the joker back in the deck? or let each player buy an extra card or follow the queen?

The answer is: because we are playing poker not bingo. We all know the rules and fairness is a constant but not with this stupid pet trick. So make your feelings clear to your poker room staff. Make it each and every time to take a seat. Be willing to get up and leave if they don't get the message. I have asked around for the past several weeks at over a dozen poker rooms and it appears to me that about 75% of the players don't like the button straddle. So why is it allowed? Whose game is this anyway?


Cardgrrl said...

Amen. What you said.

diverjoules said...

I SO AGREE. I just can't stand it. If I had a list of all the rooms that did not allow it, I would frequent them when in those towns. MAybe you could supply us with a list of them in Vegas. Some of us plan on coming one more time before the year ends. Thanks.

Memphis MOJO said...

In the Tunica poker rooms, you can straddle from any position, not just the button (but not from the blinds).

It's quite annoying when the guy on your right wants to straddle all the time, making you first to act.

Having said that, I use it occasionaly when the game is just starting and players are still tight. It loosens the game up.

Anonymous said...

My first cash game... and 'veteran' card players started using this play to confuse me. I do no consider myself and amatuer and i knew a straddle was person under the gun raised double the blind in the dark. But this fucking button straddle took me by surprise. All it did was irritate me really...can't understand why people wouldnt just play strait up poker. Button Straddle = donkey move. I just wish i caught a hand when someone pulled this shit. So I agree with the author on this one.

Anonymous said...

Button straddles are great, since it brings some well needed emotion to the game of poker -- love/hate it, but folks seem to care strongly about it.