1 PM Mar 2 2012, Mandalay Bay, 8th (28 entries)

This small tournament only provides an initial stack of 3K in chips with 15-minute levels. After managing to stay afloat for the first few levels, when the blinds and antes were at 50-200-400 on the button I caught

Uncharacteristically for this table, all six players in front of me limped into the pot, so it was an automatic call. The blinds called and checked, so the whole table entered the unraised pot. This is a rarity during tournaments. Much to my delight, the flop came

To my further delight, all eight players checked it around to me, so I pushed all my remaining 2700 chips into the middle. One player in early position gave it a whole bunch of thought, I think holding just an ace in his hand, then finally folded. The rest folded, too, including a player to my right who was holding a six. So I doubled up. When the player with the (probable) ace asked me what I had, since it had been an unusual hand, I went ahead and turned my cards over for everyone to see. I rarely show my cards without having to, but this time it seemed okay to.

When it got to the final table I was holding about 9K in chips, slightly more than the average stack size of 8400. Before very long, two hands came up where I chose to fold my hand instead of putting most or all of my stack at risk with somewhat marginal holdings. In the first one I held

in early position and limped in for 1000. It got folded around to the button who went all-in with a stack that I had covered by about 1500 chips. If I could do it over again, based on what transpired later I'd obviously make the call now, but at the time I didn't want to risk going up against a higher pocket pair, so I folded.

The second close decision came a little later when I was holding

on the button. The under the gun player went all-in with a stack that was very close to mine in size, everyone folded around to me, and I too decided to muck my cards after giving it some brief deliberation. The blinds mucked, too, so I'll never know what the player was holding. With a much smaller stack he had gone all-in earlier with next to nothing in his hand, and maybe I had a lot better hand than he did, but again, it was still a close decision no matter how you look at it.

A little while later after getting no cards at all, I caught

in early position. This was yet another marginal decision, except this time I'd be opening instead of calling someone else's all-in. Given this difference I felt it was worth taking a shot, so I shoved my remaining 4800 chips into the middle. Also informing my decision was the fact that the blinds and antes, at 100-500-1000 (plus the 1K limp with the pair of sixes), had eaten away nearly half my stack. The situation was getting a bit desperate.

What transpired next was pretty much a carbon copy of what I was experiencing yesterday, when every time I raised, a whole bunch of reraisers came out of the woodwork. I had no way of knowing this ahead of time, but believe it or not, my odds of winning the whole pot in what would turn out to be a 4-way hand preflop, were going to be a measley one percent!

One of the worst things about this was the fact that it was the player to my left once again who insta-shoved after my all-in raise. And just like yesterday, the player to his left also went all-in! To top all this off, the button decided to go all-in, too.

It turned out the player to my left was holding

The player to his left was holding

and the button was holding

The AJ held up and knocked out three players, including myself, thus creating a three-way tie for 8th place.

If I could pick between the pair of sixes and the QJ-suited to do over again and call the all-in raise with, it would be the sixes I'd go with. Since I had limped, the button might have figured my hand wasn't very strong, and hence gone all-in with something I had a good chance of beating. But there are no do-overs in poker (except for the similar decisions that will inevitably come up during future tournaments).