3 PM Feb 3 2012, The Palazzo, 75th (175 entries)

Both tournaments played at the Palazzo this week were part of the Venetian's (the Palazzo's twin casino) "Deep Stack Extravaganza" series of tournaments that they host every few months. This explains the relatively large number of entries per tournament. Lots of players from out of town come to play in these events.

My finishes here were both similar, 70th and 75th out of around 200 entries. Both times I was doing fairly well, slowly building my stack, until something unpleasant hit. But that's in the nature of tournaments - it's never pleasant getting knocked out, and that's what almost always happens at some point.

This time the unpleasant hand came when it was folded around to me on the button with the antes and blinds at 150-600-1200. With my stack at around 18K, I opened with a standard 3x raise to 3600 holding

The small blind folded, but without much deliberation, the big blind decided to call.

To my delight, the flop came

The big blind checked, I put out a pot-sized bet in the neighborhood of 8K, then the big blind (check-)raised all-in. Our chip stacks were similar, so I wasn't sure who had who covered, but no matter - I insta-called all-in.

The big blind turned over the

I saw this mostly as good news, which it mostly was, but there were dangers. After the flop I was a 67% favorite to win the hand. I'll take those odds any day. The big blind's chances were only 28% to win the hand (with tie possibilities accounting for the other 5%).

The turn could have been a lot better for me, but it didn't cause too much harm:

This decreased my winning chances, but not much. Now the odds were 61% to 39% in my favor, with no tie possibilities at all (since the seven was less than a ten).

As the river card was about to be turned over, all I was worrying about was a spade or a ten. What I didn't remember (nor did the dealer evidently), was that my lowly three kicker was also in some danger of being "counterfeited" by a six or a seven falling on the river.

What did in fact fall, was the

giving my opponent the win with two pair and a higher kicker (ten) than my three. The funny thing was, at least five people including myself, the dealer, the big blind, and both players to my right and left, thought I had won the hand! It took about 30 seconds before a player at the other end of the table saw what was happening and spoke up to make sure the big blind got the pot. Many of us were probably only watching for a ten or a spade to fall on the river. My two pair on the flop, while strong, looked a little more strong than it actually was.

It turned out that my stack was slightly larger than the big blind's was, so I still had enough chips to make a small raise the next hand. I caught the

so I opened all-in. The button and small blind folded to the big blind, who pretty much had to call with any two cards. He turned over

so I had a pretty good chance to double up (63%). Alas, the flop came

pretty much ending my tournament right there (the odds were suddenly more than 300-to-1 against my winning the hand). The turn was the

giving my opponent a full house, but it didn't matter - the damage had already been done. I walked away in 70th place.