What would you be IF you weren't afraid?
“In a balance of mutual terror, whoever acts first has the advantage!”

Monday, May 2, 2016

The racetrack is gone, but there's always the straddle.

This week at Hollywood Park Casino.

Haven't played there in a long time, still needs a lot of improvement in the ambience, but hopefully when the new casino is finished it will be the prime destination for LA poker.

They have Pot Limit Omaha on the board, one of my favorite games, but no one signed up except for the Omaha 8 games, which aren't spelled out on the board, they just call it Omaha. The 50 Big Blind limit on the buy-in makes it too much gamble for me in a game that already has lots of action and half the table looking for the flop. I would most likely play it with 100 Big Blinds as the buy-in.

Looked at the 3/5 $30-$100 NTH, but I don't like starting with only 20 big blinds. Decided to start small with the 1/2 $40-$100 No Limit Texas Holdem game.  They had 3 tables already going and about 7 on the waitlist that wanted to play, which is what I look for if possible. A new table with no big stacks in the way, which opened up about 20 minutes later.

I was reluctant to play with only 50 big blinds, but since the table was loose and kind of passive, it was a good start. . Usually had at least 4 players see the flop. Only hand that really lucked out against me was a new player, about an hour into the game, that got the low end of a straight flush, on the river, against my AQ draw. Got a Queen on the flop, we were All-In when she hit the straight on the Turn and the Straight Flush on the river. If I had a pair of Queens or another Queen had hit the board, we would have hit the jackpot. She had less chips than me so it was an easy bet.

A new player entered the game a little later, looked to be one of the usual suspects that played there a lot, one of the good old boys. His favorite play was to straddle, which is not that big a play at a low stakes game like 1/2 NTH.

"The straddle is more a sign of a gambler", someone who wants action, but also wants to limit the field with a second forced bet. It's a bet, usually Under-the-Gun or first to bet after the Big Blind and limited usually to an extra Big Blind. It's also a "Blind Bet", he makes the straddle bet before the cards are dealt. Anyone who wants to bet now has to bet at least 2 Big Blinds, which forces out most of the weak limpers. I love gamblers. In this scenario, all you have to do is bet 4 times the Big Blind and they usually fold as they are out of position and playing blind.

"By straddling you change the effective stake of the game, and in turn change the effective stacks. If you have a solid 100bb strategy but not a great 50bb strategy, why create a bad situation for yourself? Overall, straddling is a losing play. You put in more money with a random hand, and when you do so from UTG you have awful position when you go postflop. You also halve the effective stacks and artificially increase the stakes to one that you likely are not bankrolled for. In specific situations a straddle can be good, especially when it’s socially viable…but barring that, you should usually avoid straddling in your games!" Red Chip Poker 

Wasn't a bad day, made about $20 an hour, could have been much better or a lot worse, as I was All-In a couple of times when I was down to about 25 Big Blinds and my cards held up.

FYI, there was also a Sunday Special $25,000 Guaranteed Tournament going on, usually billed as the First Sunday of each month. I'll post a blog on the Tournament Value in a later post this month.


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