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Thanks for the great report. You definitely got caught in some tough spots. These kinds of decisions are why it's fun, but not so illuminating to talk and talk about particular hands. You were in a particular situation and you made the best play you could given your experience and the information you had. Only by being in these situations over and over again and knowing ahead of time what you should do, will you do it. If you can get that from posts on a bulletin board you are way ahead of your competitors but I think most experience comes from actual play. Given that, can we talk about your hand? These comments are just that... comments. They also apply to the first hand you described. Who knows, I would probably play the same way in your situation... but I have been in that situation, so I hope not. You posted:

I get QQ on the button, middle position raises about 3500. Everyone folds, I call, and blinds fold. This is about 25 min before the end of the day. I have this gentleman out chipped by about 3500. Flop brings rags, 246 all off. Raiser puts 2k into me, I re-raise to 7500 and he moves in on me. So, with about 5k more to call, and loads of contemplation I do what I hate doing….call an all in with Q's before the turn. He flips over AKo, turn brings a K and I lose most of my stack….and limp into the 2nd day of the tourney with a meager 2900. I'm all in on one of my first hands, no question.

You got caught in the classic situation of calling here. I'll bet the chip leaders didn't do much of that. You had QQ here, a pot of 3500 + would really help your stack so when he raised it up to 3500, I think you should have gone all-in. That forces him to make a decision with his cards and in this case, he might have called but then he would have been making the bad play. I know I advocate playing cautiously but I think in all of the hands with big pairs, you have to decide to play them or fold them. You decided to call, which just gives your opponent the chance to decide when to make you decide about all your chips. Instead, you have to make him decide. In this case, push all in either here or at the flop. You should have known he would go all in with your 7500 bet... so might as well force him to decide to call you or not.

As I've said, these are mistakes I've made... calling all my chips away. I will always try to avoid it at all but the early stages of a tournament. You had enough chips to protect and I would have been more aggressive rather than calling.

Sounds like a great trip!

Rick
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