Sunday, July 27, 2008


What is up? So yep I wanted to throw something up before July was out. I was looking through some of my journals and I saw something that I wanted to share with the community.

I took my first trip to Tunica, Ms back in '03 and all I wanted to do was visit the different casinos with poker rooms. My first visit was to the Goldstrike, decent size and not much action going on. I walked across the crosswalk to the Horseshoe and did not leave for a day.

I observed a no limit game where the mississippi straddle was in play, but did not understand what was going on. I kept seeing the small blind act first, I kept away from that game because I thought is was not normal, which it is not. I spent most of my day playing 4-8 limit and finally got into my game of 10-20 limit and stayed until the table broke. So it was not until the year of Katrina, when I lived in Memphis for a few weeks, that I got properly introduced to the mississippi straddle.

I entered the Horshoe, (customer service here was the best and the games were always juicy) and got into the 5-5 no limit game. I sat down next to Steve a high stakes player out of New Orleans who was also here due to Katrina. Well the button comes to him and I post my five bucks and he puts out $10. I look at him with confusion and he said to me,"Strap on your seatbelt, going to be a long ride. Don't take it personally as soon as I learned that I could do this, I've been doing it ever since."

I smile and am first to act, as I look down at 7-2 off, of course, and muck. Three limpers to him and he puts in a nice sized raise and takes it down. I sit there for six orbits, $30 dollars later, seat opens up to Steve's right and I move quickly. Needless to say we sliced the game up for the next two weeks.

So what the heck is this mississippi straddle thing? It is a double the big blind, blind bet from any position other than the blinds. Normally a straddle is in the Under The Gun position right after the big blind but the Ms. straddle can be placed in middle position or late position but the only straddle that is allowed is the one closest to or on the button. So if three people straddle for position mind you, the straddle is last to act pre-flop, if the button is the fourth the other three must pick their money up. I have seen it used in the mid limit games 15-30 and of course the higher limit games 25-50. They will not allow it in the low limit, 4-8 nor have I seen it in the 10-20. This is usually allowed in No Limit games. Of course you do have games that there is a mandatory UTG rock (straddle), but the table has to totally agree.

Strategically, if you like to act last at all times from the button, this would be something to utilize. So is the straddle profitable? I had one view of the straddle for the longest time...waste of money. I have now opened my thought process and allowed others to show me something different. I have seen the straddle, a normal straddle, open up a tight game. I learned last year that a straddle is also good in a loose game, so instead of limping at the cost of the big blind the stakes get higher and the straddler can put even more pressure on the table. So, again, my opinions but I wanted to share the Ms. straddle with you. Very general description but I hope you enjoyed!

Stay nice as rice and mello as jello!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Minnesota Mike and me...

I took a trip down the road to meet up with a good friend of mine, Minnesota Mike. A business owner from Minnesota who travels to Florida often. Well on this trip he decides to hook up with me and asked if he should come to New Orleans. I told him to stay in Biloxi and the Beau would probably be the best spot, he did and it worked out for him. I have worked with Mike on his game for the last few years and he is coming around. He is currently on an eight session win streak and yes he is more about results than play but he is starting to understand that though you may lose, it is how you played.

When I met up with Minnesota I talked about what we would be learning this day and it would be observing tells and making reads based on betting and body language and though we may be talking in between hands that we would watch the others and learn bits and pieces and discuss. Well we got into a 1-2 NL game after 9:30 pm and had to wait until the button passed us. So I get my first hand in the cut-off seat, multiple limpers to me and I look down at pocket 3's. The big blind raises the under the gun calls, so does another out of position. Hmm, guess I'll call the extra $10. The flop, 5 10 3...YAHTZEE! Big blind bets out...SCREAMS continuation bet, under the gun calls the other folds and I call also. The turn is a 5, BB bets again, UTG min raises, i'm confused but I give UTG a five at least...maybe A5, well I call and BB folds. The river is an A...ARGH! UTG fires at me, now I am going to call no matter what but I go into the tank and am just wondering if I can raise here? The kid has me covered and there is quite a bit of money in the pot already but if I raise will it be for not, this is my first hand and maybe he did limp call with A5 off. I decide that since it was my first hand and I do not have a solid feel for the table, because I did not scout first, that I would just call. UTG tables 45 off suit. I win and did not look back all night, I was never at risk for my initial buy in. Minnesota was up and down and finally got to a point where he was making a lot of money by making great reads and folding when he was supposed to.
Well after about eight hours of play I have doubled my buy in and have been folding like a tight wad. Believe it or not when I would raise they would lay down to me. There were a few times my top two got snapped off or my set got snapped off by the worst hand only because I slowplayed it and they sprinted to the river to get there. So eventually our table breaks and we move to the table right below the upper level right by the stairs, a couple of guys had big stacks and it felt like it was going to be a long one and that we should leave but I had a goal and wanted to get there. So Mike starts to snap off a couple of the guys and he is up big. I go to the bathroom and return to a very short game of six people and get back in time for the big blind. We now have a local dealer who is dating a female friend of mine, Gretchen, and a young guy with a decent stack but I have him covered another lunchbox weasel in the 10 seat and Minnesota in the three seat next to me. Mike folds, Gretchen's boy limps and so does young kid. The sixth person in the small blind calls, I look down at 10-3 off and knuckle the table. The flop comes 10 k 10...eeewwww so NICE! SB checks, I check it is checked around. The turn is a rainbow 6, check, I check, GB bets out, young kid calls, sb folds, I min raise. GB folds and young kid min raises me! WhAT! you have K10, nah, but you have a 10. Geez! Maybe you think that I have a king and your king has a better kicker, nah! Ugh...I call, the suit 3!!!! I look at the kids stack he has a little over $200 left. I quickly push in $160, wanna make it look like I'm strong, yet weak, and I'll get a call, if he shoves all in quickly I may be dead but I'll have to call. The kid thinks about it, he doesn't have K-10 or a full house...YES!!!! After about 20 seconds the kid shrugs his shoulders and pushes all in...I make it look like I need to think about it, respect, and call the additional $60 or more. He tables the 10-8 off and I show my hand. The kid looks like I slapped him across the face and just sits there as the money is shoved towards me. MIRACLE RIVER, that goes my way...that is why I do not freak when it happens to me anymore.

The freaky thing is that I had several pocket aces, pocket kings, queens, jacks and 10's...once. I had AK several times and AJ several times but only made a bit at a time. 10-3 was my biggest gain and only because I got lucky. An hour later I scooped up my earnings along with Mike and we left and talked about our very long session.

Yes, we both won and yes it felt GOOD!!!!

Well thanks for sharing with me and hopefully there will be many more winning sessions and I'll break down more hands in the future from this session or the next.

Stay nice as rice and mello as jello!