12 PM Feb 4 2012, Caesar's Palace, 42nd (66 entries)

Hoping maybe that lightning would strike twice, I returned to Caesar's two days after my 1st place finish there. This time I got knocked out early, shortly after playing one specific hand poorly.

With the antes and blinds at 25-200-400, I was in the big blind holding

A player in middle position put in a min-raise to 800 and everyone folded to me. I wouldn't have called with this hand - not even a min-raise - from any position other than the big blind. I'd usually fold it in the big blind, too. My chip stack had been staying about the same ever since the start of the tournament, about 10K, and I guess maybe impatience had set in a little (impatience is not good in poker). I chose to toss in the extra 400 chips to call the min-raise heads-up, partly just to defend the blind, which in itself is not a bad reason to call.

The flop came

I checked. So did the preflop raiser, which should have rang at least a few warning bells in my head, but didn't.

The turn came

Misidentifying my opponent's check on the flop as hand weakness, I bet 1100 chips on the turn holding nothing but air. After a short bit of deliberation, much to my dismay, my opponent called the 1100 bet.

The river was just as useless to me as the turn was:

Instead of checking and folding, I tried a bluff by betting more chips than my opponent had in his stack (he had about 4K remaining). Again to my dismay, he called immediately and turned over

for a set of eights and took down the pot (I mucked my cards immediately when he called, pretty much simultaneously as he turned over his eights). Suddenly my stack was half gone, and not for a very good reason at all. Given the much smaller stack, I had to step up my preflop aggression immediately. Shortly after stealing the blinds a couple hands later, and then staying quiet for a full round, I caught the

on the button and opened with an all-in raise. Unfortunately the big blind was holding

He had me covered and no ace fell, so I was out in roughly 42nd place among 66 entries.