5 PM Feb 10 2012, L.A. Poker Classic (Day 1D Heat 2), 196th (514 entries)

In almost every tournament played since moving to Las Vegas ten days ago, my chip stack goes up slowly in the early stages. But in this tournament it went down early and hovered around 35%-50% of my starting stack for about an hour. Usually it has hovered around 100%-150% during this same stage of the tournament, and sometimes up to 300%. I could have ended up going out early as a result, but after hitting a few winning hands within a short amount of time, I suddenly had about 22K in chips.

What chips do in poker tournaments is buy you time. The more chips you have, the more time you have to wait patiently for premium starting hands.

In these heats at the L.A. Poker Classic though, the blinds and antes go up so fast, you eventually have to enter pots with weaker hands or risk watching your chip stack dwindle to nothing in a flash.

In one critical hand, when my stack was about 20K, I caught

on the button. With just one player calling in front of me, I raised all-in. Unfortunately, the small blind, who had about 15K in chips, called immediately with

no six fell, so I lost 75% of my stack.

When the small blind made its way back around to me, I caught

and insta-called an all-in raise by the button, who held

The other player had me covered, so when the

fell on the last card, I was out in 196th place.