12 PM Aug 13 2012, Bicycle (L.A.), 31st (388 entries)

On three separate hands towards the later stages of this tournament I caught lucky cards to stay alive and ultimately make it into the money. My stack was never very large during the whole tournament. It never rose above 35K in chips. Most of the time it was somewhere between 10K and 25K. I'd win a hand here and there, just often enough to keep going.

The first time I lucked out my stack had gotten so low compared to the blinds and antes, that I felt compelled to open the betting in early position with an all-in raise holding nothing more than the

It got folded around to the big blind. I was hoping he would fold, but he had been calling all-ins all day with just ace-rag in his hand, and this hand was no different. He called, and his cards were

Unbelievably, the board came something like:

So we chopped up the pot and I was still alive.

The next example was even more bizarre. Once again my situation demanded that I move all my chips into the middle when I caught the

This time it got folded to the big blind, who went all-in holding the

My board luck would have to take a different route this time for me to stay in the tournament - any chops were very unlikely. Here's how the flop came:

No jack yet. This was not good. Before the flop I pretty much needed a jack to stay alive, and no jack fell.

But this board had a trick up its sleeve. Even though the potential is visible in the flop, the only thing you really notice is that no jack fell. All you can still really hope for is a jack and nothing else. That is, until the turn comes:

When you're watching this board play out, you can't help but notice the gutshot straight draw that this card gives you. Now it's suddenly either a jack or a nine that gives you continued survival. The river card completed a miraculous board:

When you hit a runner-runner to stay alive in the late stages of a tournament with the money so near, you begin to feel destined to make it into the money - especially after also hitting that other lucky board.

Believe it or not there was still another hand where I held a dominated ace with my tournament life on the line (before getting into the money), and the board came something like

allowing me to stay alive again with yet another chopped pot. By this time the antes and blinds were so high compared to my stack that these chops were actually adding a fair amount to it.

The hand that finally knocked me out in 31st place came when I had so few chips left that both the blinds felt compelled to call with any two cards. I had a decent hand - king-jack offsuit - but the big blind, holding just 4-5 offsuit, took down the pot with a pair of fours.