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7:05 PM Oct 7 2012, MGM Grand, 36th (53 entries)

This is a good tournament, with starting stacks of 6K in chips and 20-minute levels. The MGM is clearly one of the more popular destinations for tourists in Las Vegas. The player to my right was from France, for example. In the tournament director's announcement before the start, it is mentioned explicitly that all conversation at the tables must be in English.

One notable feature of my play in this tournament is I never once showed down a single hand until my last one, which also happened to be my first all-in of the evening. During the first three levels I built my initial stack of 6K to over 7K without ever being called to the river. Another notable feature: early on at least, nobody was ever raising my big blind. I never got a walk, but I got to see cheap flops. I think I won the pot at least one of those times.

A crucial hand occurred late in the third level when I caught

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on the button. The antes-blinds were 25-100-200. The under-the-gun player had limped, and everyone else folded except the cutoff seat, who also limped. I raised to 800. Both blinds folded, but the under-the-gun player called the raise. The cutoff seat folded.

The under-the-gun player's call was not a good sign. I knew this, but when the flop came

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and he checked, though it didn't totally feel like the right play, I continuation-bet another 1150 chips.

The under-the-gun player responded by immediately pushing all 1975 of his chips into the pot. Even though it would have only cost me roughly 800 more chips to enter this pot containing 5475 chips (I only need to win about one in seven times for this call to make sense), I responded by immediately folding. Looking back now this was probably a bad fold, but I sensed there was a good chance the under-the-gun player had slowplayed aces, in which case my fold was perfectly correct.

I think the continuation bet was the mistake. I could have checked instead and then folded on the turn, at which point the under-the-gun player would likely have gone all-in.

This hand ate away a third of my stack and represented a substantial shift in momentum. Suddenly my stack was substandard and I needed to begin playing catch-up, instead of continuing to tread water in the rising tournament-tide.

Impatience set in and I started playing some mediocre hands preflop. The flops always came bad. My stack continued to dwindle in this fashion. Eventually it dwindled down to just over 1000 chips. In the fifth level, with the antes-blinds at 50-200-400, when I caught

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in the cutoff seat and nobody raised in front of me, it was clearly time to push the remainder of my now-small stack into the middle, so I did. The button and small blind folded. The big blind insta-called and turned over

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By the turn I had managed to catch a gutshot straight draw, and therefore had six outs on the river, but no ten or queen fell, so I was out in 36th place.