7 PM Oct 6 2012, South Point, 15th (50 entries)

This was a fairly small buy-in, bounty tournament. After winning one big hand and a few smaller ones during the first few levels, my starting stack of 4500 chips went above 14K.

In the last hand before the first break, on the button I caught

A key thing to know about this tournament is that up until the first break, players are allowed to rebuy 4500 more chips if they get knocked out. However, to get the extra 4500 chips, it is necessary to get knocked out. In other words, it's a straight rebuy as opposed to an add-on. So as the first break nears, players with small stacks are more apt to go all-in with mediocre hands - at least, those who are interested in rebuying, should they get knocked out.

In this final hand before the break, the under-the-gun player went all-in for her last 2500 or so chips. I made the potentially very costly mistake of merely calling the all-in with my queens.

Given the under-the-gun player's likely intent to rebuy should she lose those last 2500 chips - strongly increasing the likelihood that despite the all-in bet, she could have pretty much any two cards - plus everyone at the table probably being aware of this (I wasn't - I should have known more about when exactly the rebuy period ended, and how that might change players' betting choices), the small blind may have decided that I might be calling just because I could afford to, without much of a hand.

So the small blind then decided to go all-in with his sizable stack of about 8K in chips. He probably thought that since I had only called the under-the-gun player's small all-in, I would likely fold to his much larger all-in. But also, even he may have been taking into consideration the rebuy possibility, despite having an already-good-sized stack.

Even though I couldn't possibly see folding my queens, especially since I had both players covered, I deliberated for a bit. Then I finally chose to call.

The under-the-gun player turned over

The small blind turned over

Without the small blind in the hand, I would have been an 80% favorite. With him in the hand, I was now just a 57% favorite.

Letting the small blind into the hand was essentially a gift to the under-the-gun player: she could now triple up instead of just doubling up, at almost no expense whatsoever to her winning percentage. She was right around 19% to win the hand either way.

The flop was an absolutely miserable one for me:

While the five devastated my chances of winning both pots, the worst thing by far about this flop was clearly the ace. If I had been able to at least defeat the small blind, I'd still come out ahead: I'd get a bounty and increase my stack.

Apart from avoiding both other players' nightmare scenario of a queen falling, all the turn card did was give the small blind a few outs to win both pots:

A queen sure would have been nice on the river, but instead this fell:

So my stack got knocked back down to about 6K before the break, and I won no bounties. (The bounties were only $5 apiece - nothing to shout about.)

I managed to build my stack back up to about 12K after the break. When it got down to the last two tables, my stack was average-sized. I wasn't getting any cards though, until finally I caught

in early position. Coincidentally, this happened to be the last hand before the second break. With the antes-blinds at 100-400-800, I raised to 3600. Everyone folded until it got around to the big blind. To my dismay, he didn't immediately fold, but instead went all-in. He easily had me covered. Though I was pretty sure he probably had a higher pair, I called away my last 4K or so in chips. He turned over

Just like in the previously-described hand, the flop came good for two players, but this time it only truly benefited one of them:

Nobody made quads, so I was out in 15th place.