Here is my report from the Paradise $5k in the Bahamas.
Started with $10k in chips and the levels were 60 minutes, 25-50, 50-100, 100-200, 100-200/25.
The only player I recognized at the table was Aaron Kanter who made the final table of the WSOP Main Event last year. It was clear early on that there were some inexperienced live players at the table and I planned to take them on as often as possible.
I struggled through the first level, not hitting any flops and not having any big starting hands, I think I was down to about 8300. Finally a hand came up in the second level. Kanter limped utg, I limped behind another limper on the button with 77 and the blinds came along. The flop was 733 two spades and Aaron bet 200, the second limper made it 500, I called, Aaron then made it 1300, the second limper who had made it 500 folded and I called. The turn was a red 5 and Aaron bet 2000, I called again. It was pretty clear that he had either AA or A3 and I made a mistake by not raising the turn. The river came another 5 and he check called 2000 and I scooped my first significant pot of the tournament.
I won a few small pots right in a row - picking on the weaker players at the table. I had that rare feeling (for me anyway) of being in pretty good control of my opponents. I did make one pretty big blunder where I sensed weakness from a player on a 98J flop and check raised with nothing. He called, then the Q came on the turn and he called my bet again (he checked down the river with a straight, AT). We went to break and at the beginning of level 3 I chipped up again to about 16k.
It was then when this hand came up. A bad player made it 400 utg (blinds were 100/200) and I called in position with 77. The small blind called and Kanter called in the BB. The flop was J73 two diamonds and the SB bet out 500. I thought the SB was a pretty bad player really. He had shown a pattern of min betting and/or min raising and I was pretty sure that he was never bluffing. He bet out 500, utg (who raised preflop) called, and I made it 2000 with my set of 7's. The SB then min re-raised to 3500. Normally I would just call here, but I felt he really liked his hand. I honestly couldn't put him on an overpair because he had just called preflop but a set of 3's seemed possible. I didn't want a diamond to hurt our action on the turn, so I just pushed all in. To my surprise, he called instantly with KK. After he put in the 3000, he called all in for 8600 more (I had him covered). All told it was about a 26k chip pot. I had a very nervous feeling about sweating the last two cards for some reason, and there it was, right on the turn, a king for him and I missed the one outer on the river. Instead of having 30k, I had 3500.
It was one of the most disgusting feelings I've had at the table. The same thing happened to me at the Borgata (where I had a set and someone called all in with one pair then hit an overset) but the pot was much smaller and I had a bunch of chips left when I lost. This one stung bad - you just don't get many opportunities to get chips in these tournaments and rarely do you have someone drawing so thin. But I knew I had to regroup, and I was still at a pretty easy table.
I won the next two pots, then blinded down for awhile. Then the player to my right made it 700 in the cutoff seat and I looked down at TT. I actually had him covered at the time and I had a pretty easy push and he folded. I raised a hand or two later with KQ and got re-raised and folded and was shown AK. Then I won a few small pots to get back up to 6k without showing down a hand.
Soon afterwards I spewed some chips. A tight player min raised utg and I had AQ in the SB. Against the right person I would be all in preflop but I figured he was huge so I called (mucking might have been better). I missed the flop and he showed AK. Then I called a raise with 7s8s in a multiway pot and missed completely. Finally it was folded to me in MP and I decided to raise with K5o. The players to my left were all pretty tight and I figured I had a good chance to win the pot preflop. The player to my left in Seat 1 called the raise and we saw a flop of K86 heads up. I really didn't know what to do now, there was 1900 or so in the pot and I had about 4200 left. My opponent had bet often when checked to so I checked and decided to probably check raise all in hoping he might fold a hand like even KQ. I was a bit surprised when he checked behind. The turn brought a 7 so now I'm open ended. I decided to bet 800 and he quickly made it 2000. I really didn't know what he had but I thought hands like 78 or even a bluff (or semibluff) were possible so I decided to jam. He had a set of 8's and I missed my 8 outer on the river.
I met up with some Internet players later and we played some of the evening tournaments in the lobby at the Atlantis resort. I made the money in the dise $100r before losing a coinflip, then final tabled the Stars $150 for probably the first time ever and finished 8th for $2k.
I'm at the airport now waiting for my flight back to the States and then back home. I hope to get rolling a bit on the Internet in the next few weeks before I head down to New Orleans for the WSOP Circuit event.