My First Voluntary Straddle

I’ve been experiencing some extreme negative variance away from the tables. As soon as I was beginning to feel near 100% recovered from the cold I had last week, I started to feel like I was getting sick again. After a few days of lying around drinking airborne I went to the doctor and found out I had strep throat. I ended up having to cancel my trip to the new MGM in D.C. as a result, which was super disappointing.

As has come to be expected when I’m sick, I went 0 for 4 on my weekly goals. I only managed to play about 18 hours and study for 5. I also was unable to run at all and mediated only once. Being sick really sucks the motivation out of me and I just feel pissed off all the time, especially with this being the second time I was sick in two weeks. I hate to make excuses, but that’s just a fact, at least for me. It’s something I definitely need to work on. I also need to work on not touching my eyes, nose, or mouth at the casino when my hands are covered with germs from the gross-ass poker chips. Casinos, and poker rooms especially, are actual cesspools and I need to start treating them as such. Otherwise, I’ll end up sick for like 1/5 the year and that will result in me losing tons of hours at the table, which is not something I’ll be able to afford if I really want to make a living at this game. It’s easy now when I’m living at home to just wake up and say “Well, I feel like shit, so I’m just not going to play today.” If I were supporting myself completely and had to worry about rent or bills or whatever, I know I would not have this luxury, and the last couple weeks would have been super shitty as I would have felt pressured to put in more volume. It’s not that more volume while sick isn’t doable, but it’s something I’d like to try to avoid as I feel it probably would have some effect on my ability to play my A-game and could potentially cause some mental game mistakes as well.

I didn’t really find myself in any interesting/ difficult spots this week. Since I’m always talking about hands I lost and mistakes I made, I thought it’d be nice to switch it up and talk about a hand I won:

Game: 1/3 NL, 9 handed

Hero: (500) UTG with Jx9s and straddles. Straddling is not something I had ever done up to this point (unless the whole table is down for a round of straddles) but in this particular scenario, I thought it would be less -EV than straddling normally is, and kind of fun too. I had a total whale two seats to my right so I was looking to do anything I could to play more/ bigger pots with her, and by straddling I could accomplish both of those things. It may have even been +EV, although I kind of doubt it. But, it ended up working out in this instance. My image was LAG and I had kind of been running over the table. Villain was certainly aware of this and was visibly annoyed at hero’s play.

Villain: (300) SB Middle-aged foreign woman. Semi-regular. Always buys in for the minimum ($100) and tries to spin it up from there. VPIPs at least 50-60% of hands and min raises 25-30%. Super stationy, especially vs. hero. Villain had shown a bluff vs. hero in this session (likely a steam bluff resulting from hero’s “crazy” play).

Preflop (10) Folds to villain who min raises to 12, BB folds, Hero calls.

Flop (25) QsJs6s. Villain leads for 25, hero calls.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this sizing, as her default was usually around like ½ pot or sometimes less. Still, I think with middle-pair and a spade that could be live, and a massive skill edge, I can afford to peel here. I think villain’s range is significantly narrowed when she uses this sizing. She probably has a lot of TP+, some combos of nut flush draws, some pair + flush draws, and some combo draws in her range when she pots the flop on this type of boar texture.

Turn (70) 9c. Villain leads for 50, hero shoves for 270ish effective, villain snap says, “Okay,” lol. Dealer asks if she meant to say she was calling and she confirms that she calls.

While villain does have some hands in her range that are ahead of us here and I’ll occasionally be value-owning myself, she has way more combos of hands that I’m ahead of to not try to get it in here. She’s just going to be stacking off way too light to not try to get some thinnish value IMO. I think she’s calling off here with all of her TP hands, a lot of her pair + FD hands, some combo draws, and possibly some bare nut FD’s as well. Additionally, there are lots of cards that can come on the river that will kill our action and make it hard for us to get value vs. the types of hands we’re value-targeting.

The river bricked and my hand was good. Villain did not show so I’m not sure if the range I gave her was exactly right, but it was certainly close. Pretty standard spot I guess, but I thought it’d be nice to throw a little brag on the blog since I’m always talking about my screw-ups. That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and happy holidays!