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12 PM Feb 1 2012, The Palazzo, 70th (205 entries)

This was my first tournament since moving to Las Vegas three days before. Maintained a small chip stack through the first five hours playing very conservatively, but then made a potentially costly mistake on the last hand, not raising all-in from the small blind with

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to try to induce the player in the big blind to fold. The player in the cutoff seat had opened the betting with an all-in raise to 14K. I had 22K left so it was a natural situation to go all-in, but I only called the 14K instead. Watching how I played my hand, the big blind, who was holding

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decided that his hand was better, so he raised me all-in. I obviously called. When we all turned over our cards, the cutoff seat showed

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The average chip stack at this point in the tournament was 36K, so the cutoff seat was no doubt just hoping to steal the blinds in order to stay afloat. Even my 22K in chips was starting to be a smallish stack.

To my utter dismay, the flop came something like

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leaving me with only three outs on the turn and river (plus the highly unlikely runner-runner straight draw). No king fell so I was out in 70th place after about 5 1/2 hours of play, still quite a ways away from the money (the top 27 places got paid).

It isn't a certainty that the big blind would have folded his hand if I'd gone all-in but it was clearly a mistake to not do so. If it had been just me against the cutoff seat, then the odds would have been 65% to 35% in my favor (no jack or seven did fall, in fact). As things turned out instead, I was only a 45% favorite to his 30% and the big blind's 20% (tie possibilities account for the remaining 5%) when all three of us played the hand.

If I'd won that three-way hand my chip stack would have shot up to 60K, well above the average and enough to give me a great shot at cashing.