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1 PM Jan 12 2012, Aria, 36th (108 entries)

Here's how one critically important hand went down: feeling starved for strength after a serious dry spell that required more steals than best hands to hover at 25K for a long time (seemed like an hour but maybe it was just 30-45 minutes), a pair of nines in the little blind looked a lot better than they actually were. With the antes/blinds at 100-400-800, a somewhat short-stacked player (down to just ten big blinds) limped in early position, and it got folded around to me.

That early limp should always ring at least a few warning bells, but I was so enamored with those nines, none could be heard. I raised 5x to 4000, the big blind folded, and the limper shoved. Despite suddenly realizing that my nines were probably no good, since it was just another 4K to call, I called quickly and the limper turned over his aces. No ace or nine fell before the river. The turn did give me a gutshot, but no nine or seven fell, so my stack took a hit.

The dry spell persisted. On my final hand a short-stacked player in middle position went all-in for his last 6K or so in chips holding A4. I held KQ on the button. After deliberation, I shoved my remaining 13K into the middle. The very deep-stacked player in the little blind then insta-shoved and turned over aces. A queen flopped but no more face cards showed up, so the other player and I tied for 36th place.