A couple of times I thought I might win it, but it wasn’t meant to be. I had some great cards, even better luck, but I screwed up a few times and couldn’t quite overcome it, although I guess still making 2nd place, I can’t really complain about it.
The start of my run might have been here. This was a great hand. I raised up 3BB with JJ, got two callers, and figured I was going out. Turned out both of them had AK, which made it easier to beat them since they blocked each other and I only had to be better than one pair of cards to win the hand. Tripling up here really helped me, catapulting me to the top of the leaderboard from around 8th (or was it 18th?)
I tried to hold onto those chips for a while, but lost about half of them and dropped back to about 10th place or so, maybe 14th, I forget, and starting to worry about whether I would survive the bubble, when I happened to get AQs and flop the nut flush. My one caller held 88, one of the 8’s being a heart, and I guess he thought his best chance of winning the hand was to go all-in at the flop, which was perfect for me. No real risk here, unless the 5h and 7h happened to come on the turn and river to give him a straight flush. I was back up to the #2 or #3 position on the leadearboard after the hand.
Sometime later, I have AKs UTG, the table folds around to the blinds, who both limp, I raise up 3BB, SB folds, BB comes along with QJ. Flop is 9AJ, and they bet the pot, I raise, they call and go all-in. I’m worried they might have had AA, or JJ, or even 99, but I can’t let it worry me at this point as there’s too much in the pot and my hand’s good enough to call here. Had I lost the hand that would have been a disaster, but winning it put me almost doubled up again, and comfortably at the top of the leaderboard by some margin.
At this point, I start feeling like I’m in good shape to win the whole thing.
At the final table, with 3 still in the tournament… I have 76o on the BB, SB limps in, the flop gives me middle pair and a long-shot to a straight. My opponent bets and I call with my middle pair, and play it cautious from there to the river, my opponent checks the turn, I half-pot bet and he calls, then we both just check the river. If he bets the river here, I muck it, and if I bet, I’m fearful he’ll raise me. I end up prevailing against J9s, 8866 over 88J, opponent had a flush draw at the flop and two overcards but missed the board entirely.
QJs, I raise up, miss the flop but a continuation bet takes the hand for another big pot.
Disaster hand, 99, I decide to play the hand from the SB. Button raises big and I decide to call. All three of us are in the hand, and I should have felt vulnerable here, and I did, so I tried to take the hand down with a half-pot bet, which gets one fold but one call. I put it all-in on the Turn, hoping that will be enough, but my opponent pairs his Ten, and had paired his 7 on the flop, good enough to take almost all my chips away, leaving me with just 2.2BB. In retrospect I should never have called the Buttons big bet with 99, even though they ended up folding out of the hand at the flop. --TaYo-- was crazy to call the bet with T7o, but managed to hit the board nice enough to win.
Q7o, I’ve been destroyed a few hands ago, about 1.5BB in my stack now, so I have to shove here. I recover, doubling up through @–TaYo–, who really played very well in the hands I saw them play. I get the lucky break as we both miss the board and my Queen takes the high kicker to the AAK on the board, AAKQ over AAKJ, giving me a tiny bit of breathing room for the time being.
KK vs ATs, --TaYo-- misses a Jack to nearly complete a Broadway draw, and I double up. Still the small stack, but now reasonably healthy.
AQo on the Button, I raise small hoping to get a call and some more chips out of the hand, and I do get two calls. The flop is a scary 663, and I shove, not really being able to afford to lose this hand, and hoping no one calls my raise with a 3 or a 6 in their hand, and they don’t have it, so take it.
A8, and another shove or die situation. This time --TaYo-- calls me with JJ, and I suck out an Ace on the river.
I’m feeling like 3rd place is my destiny at this point, but then --TaYo-- makes a ludicrous play with 36 on the button, when he had absolutely no need to, and goes bust against @mbabker’s KKKAJ. A true gift, 160000 chips to mbabker, but I’m left heads up with 28,000, and 2nd place rather than 3rd. Why would he limp in here? Why call the SB’s raise? Why try to bluff this pot after the flop? Why call all-in when mbabker raises him? Pure suicide play, just baffling.
I couldn’t overcome the dominant stack here, and went out betting 76 into JJ. Bad preflop shove, I was hoping to steal but also felt like I might hit a straight on this hand, and I almost did, which made it interesting, needing a Ten to make straight 7-Jack when the flop came, and uselessly paired my 7 on the river, but it wasn’t enough to beat mbabker’s Jacks, which improved to a set on the flop.