1 PM Jul 5 2012, Aria, 80th (157 entries)

This tournament followed the usual pattern in which my stack increases early then slowly dwindles to mediocrity before finally going to zero. In one big hand, the last hand before the first break, I managed to knock two players out and come close to tripling my stack holding ace-king offsuit. First to act, I raised 3x to 600. The player to my left called. Then after several folds, another player on the other side of the table, who shortly before this hand had gone all-in against me when I was holding

(that time, I folded) decided to go all-in again with a fairly good-sized stack of about 6000 chips. The player to his left deliberated quite awhile before finally folding, then it got folded quickly around to me. I made the slight mistake of just saying "I call" when it would have been more appropriate to just go all-in with a player to my left still to act, but anyway, all three of us ended up all-in. I had both players covered (the one to my left was just barely covered).

The player to my left turns over

and the other guy, who had gone all-in for the second time in just a few hands, was holding

I was only a 40% favorite to win the hand. Somewhat surprisingly, the nine-ten hand was more than a 36% favorite. The suited ace was only 20% to win the hand preflop.

The way it played out nobody paired until I hit a king on the river. I took down the huge (at that point in the game) pot and became our table's chip leader.

Things went well enough for awhile. With my stack at about 24K I did lose one fairly big hand holding I don't know what. I just remember being in the lead heads-up and seeing my stack reduced down to about 17K instead of knocking out a player and having about 30K in chips. But the hand that really went wrong was one in which I held

in early position. I only raised 2.6x preflop, which may have been a mistake. If I had raised about 5x it's possible that the player three to my left holding

would have folded his cards. I let him in too cheaply perhaps. Anyway, he called and everyone else folded. When the flop came

I looked over at the other player's stack and saw that he had about 5K fewer chips than I did (he had about 14K left and I had about 19K left). With a flop like this I felt the correct thing to do with queens was to move all-in, which I did.

For some reason the other player had put me on ace-king, so he insta-called. When he saw the queens he was a little displeased, but he still remained excited about the hand. At this point I was a 70% favorite to win it, so I don't feel that I made any mistake by pushing all-in. Actually, it would have been a horrible mistake to let my opponent see a free (or cheap) card in this situation.

The turn card could have been worse, but it wasn't good at all:

Now, in addition to the relatively unlikely draw to the set that he always had, the guy all-of-a-sudden also has both an open-ended straight draw, and a flush draw as well - he has a total of 16 outs (2 set cards, 8 straight cards, and 9-3=6 flush cards). The river came

and my opponent took down the massive pot. I did manage to steal the blinds once after that, but lost the rest of my stack going all-in with king-jack offsuit against the player to my right who had raised preflop with pocket aces (it turned out). No miracles happened, so I was out in roughly 80th place.