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10 AM Feb 28 2012, South Point, 20th (20 entries)

This is supposedly the highest-rated poker room in all of Las Vegas according to the room rankings posted at allvegaspoker.com. There's something fishy about that. I don't see anything special about this room. I'd rank it somewhere in the middle of the pack, along with places like Harrah's. Its only notable feature in my opinion is that it is separated quite a ways from the nearest slots, greatly reducing the chance of any cigarette smoke wafting over into players' faces.

Maybe it is ranked so high because it is out on the fringe of town, close to some of the priciest residential areas in all of Las Vegas. Its location might attract a bunch of rich retirees who neither play well, nor care about giving away their money at the tables. Such a situation could really boost the rankings for any room.

One downside to this room's 10 AM tournament is that you only start with 4500 chips, a bit short-stacked. Still in just the second level, with the blinds at 50-100, I caught

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in the big blind. With at least five limpers in front of me, maybe six, I raised 7x to 700. Two or three players folded, the players in the hijack and cutoff seats called, then the rest folded. The flop came

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First to act, I put out a continuation bet of 1675 chips. The hijack seat folded, then the cutoff seat raised all-in. I suspected the player of hitting something like a set on the flop, but it was also possible he held something like AQ, or had a drawing hand like two spades, J9, or KJ. With my stack down to about 2200, even though he had me covered I couldn't see folding aces in this situation, so I called. To my dismay, he turned over

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The board didn't come up with any non-QT pair on the turn or river, and no ace fell, so I was out in 20th place.

I still don't think it was a mistake to call with the aces. Against his actual holding I was a 31% favorite to win the hand after the flop, and he could have been holding a lot less than he actually was.

As a footnote, it's possible I made a bit of a mistake not going all-in preflop with the aces. I don't like doing that in just the second level of any tournament, but since the stacks were so small to begin with, a strong case could be made for pushing it all in the middle preflop and (likely) taking down the 700 chips or so in profit right then and there, instead of letting other players come in with hands like QT. I don't think it was a huge mistake not to, but it was possibly a small mistake.