12 PM Feb 22 2012, The Venetian, 31st (31 entries)


Since so few hands were played in this tournament, it gives me an opportunity to present a rundown similar to that written by Danish champion Gus Hansen in his famous poker book Every Hand Revealed, except unlike Gus, I didn't win the tournament.

I began under the gun holding

First to act, even though the stragglers had yet to arrive and we were thus only five-handed, I decided to fold. The player to my left raised to 150, the next two players folded, and the big blind called. I don't remember what the flop was, but the blind check-folded and the player to my left took down the small pot.

Still five-handed, on the very next hand in the big blind I caught

The player to my left once again led out with a 3x raise to 150. It got folded around to me. In this situation, being out of position with halfway decent cards to play against a player who so far has raised 100% of the time preflop from early position in a five-handed game, I don't think reraising is a bad idea. So I did, to 450. The other player called. The flop came

Despite not a very good flop for me, I led out with a continuation bet of 600 chips (2/3 the pot). Without taking much time, the other player called. The turn came

It was time to slow down. After a small bit of deliberation I checked. The other player also checked after a small delay.

The river card was the

Reaching into my stack I decided to take a stab and bet 1500, or a little more than 2/3 of the pot. As things turned out this wasn't a good idea. The other player called. When we turned our cards over the other player showed

So now after only two hands 1/3 of my starting stack was gone.

In the little blind, my next two cards were

Things were looking up. Two more players had just arrived at the table so we were now seven-handed, and I held AA. Two players limped before it got around to me. I raised 6.5x to 325, the blinds folded, the first limper called, and the second folded. The flop came

With trapping in mind I checked. (This wasn't a great flop to trap with, but since we were heads-up it seemed worth taking a shot at.) The other player checked and the next card was the

I put out a suspiciously small bet of only 200 chips. The other player folded immediately.

First on the button and then in the cutoff seat, I chose to fold preflop with the following two hands:

Second to act on the next hand, I opened the betting with a 3x raise to 150 holding, much to my surprise,

The third player to my left called, and so did the big blind. The flop came

The big blind checked. I led out with a pot-sized bet of 475, the remaining player to my left folded, then the big blind called. The next card was the

The big blind checked again. This time I led out with a bet of 1000, about 2/3 the pot. The big blind raised to 3000.

At this point my stack is down to less than 5000 chips, so the only reasonable plays to make are to either raise all-in, or fold. Yet, after deliberation, I decide to call. The final card is the

The big blind again bets 3000. Without taking very long, hoping he might have a lesser overpair, I go ahead and call. When the big blind turns over

I pick up my still nearly full bottle of water, wish everyone good luck, and walk away after only six hands played.

Clearly the biggest and costliest mistake above was calling the check-raise. The player had been playing tight those first six hands, so it seemed very likely he held an eight in his hand, but I called anyway. I hated the thought of not building my stack after catching aces twice in the first six hands, but still, a two-outer's a two-outer. It was still early, so a fold was definitely in order.