Here’s a sequence of hands that just happened leading to my early exit (47th place/111) from a MTT:
I managed to win a good pot with KK, taking a big chunk out of the table’s chip leader and knocking out a player: KK over JJ over AK.
A few hands later, playing a straight against a set of 5s, and get sucked out on the river by my opponent hitting quads, the player who had JJ in that previous hand. I’m about to knock him out of the tournament, but instead give him just about all the chips he had before right back. I semi-bluff to try to buy the pot outright at the flop, am raised, and decide to call, hit the Straight on the Turn, and think I’m about to take him down, and then the river decimated me. Maybe calling the raise wasn’t the best move, but when I hit the Turn, I was sure I’d lucked out. Nope!
Went from 10,000 down to 4700 chips. Lousy luck, but survivable.
Next hand, I get J9s, raise form UTG+1, and the flop pairs my Jack, but it’s solid Clubs. I bet half the pot and am raised, and have to give it up. Probably should have just checked the flop and layed down, and arguably should not have opened to start the hand off, either. But sometimes when the flop is solid suited, you can bluff that you’re holding the flush. Worth a shot, so I thought, but there goes about half my remaining stack. Now at 2700 chips. Whether my opponent had one club, two clubs, a Queen, or JT or better, I didn’t need to find out.
Next, I get dealt JJ and use it effectively, by just raising in UTG position, getting most of the table to fold, but then having to call a shove from another small stack at the table who held K9o, taking him out and getting back up to nearly 5000 chips.
And then, I raise from the SB with Q8 hoping to steal, but get two callers, one hits trip 5s (the same guy who hit quad-5s from before) and the other caller had paired his King. I attempt to bluff the pot by going all-in at the flop, a naked bluff, and am out.
I’m certain if my straight had held up and I didn’t lose all those chips to the quad-5s hand, I wouldn’t have felt like I needed to play Q8 from the SB at all. I had wanted to try to take the blinds and either just didn’t bet enough to get everyone to fold, or it was just one of those situations where no matter how much I bet, someone was going to call that hand who could beat me. Of course it’s the two big stacks at the table who felt they could make the call. Getting sandwiched between two big stacks like that really cramps your style, and I should have recognized that and not tried to force down the hand. You can bully with the big stack, but you can’t bully the big stack.
I guess the real lesson here is to always get dealt 55.