It was a surreal experience that contained many highs and only a few lows. I started slowly on day 1, playing only a few small pots and very gradually building a stack. My first big hand came about 4 hours into the day when I got all in with TT v AK, the board ran out all low and I got my stack up to about 7700. The only real hand I felt I overplayed the whole first day came after the dinner break. We came back to the table with blinds at 150/300/25 and the action folds around to me on the button, I look down at A8o and realize that the BB hasnt yet returned to his seat. I decide to minraise to 600 and the SB then goes into the tank, he makes it 1600 and I decide that I have some fold equity and decide to shove for 7700 total. He goes into the tank for a full 3 minutes and then calls with 77. Luckily, the flop comes out Axx8x and I got my stack to 16,000. The table breaks relatively quickly to my benefit, or so I thought. Im then seated at a table with Eric Frolich (2 WSOP bracelets & FT pro) and Craig Marquis (2008 November 9) and I realize early on that im not going to be able to be too active. Frolich seemed to make it his mission to accumulate every green 25 chip on the table and who was I to try to stop him. I do steal a few blinds though and manage to keep my stack from completely depleting. We return from a short 20 minute break and I get the couple of hands I'd been hoping for. I pick up JJ utg, raise and manage to take it down uncontested. Very next hand I pick up QQ in the BB and utg+2 opens and I shove my stack and he snaps calls with 77, the board helps neither of us and I finish day 1 at 22,700.
Day 2 started with great optimism, 507 people returned and 342 would get paid a minimum of $1867. My goal early in the day was to try to accumulate chips but the poker gods had other ideas. I got a steady dose of 85, K4 and 93 and as we approached the money bubble I only had 10k in chips. At this point I decided to lock up a cash before being super aggressive with my chips after the bubble burst. The bubble burst very quickly and once the cheers from the remaining players died I got about trying to build a stack. I got a mini rush of 5 hands where Iwas all in every hand and managed to bring my stack up to about 25k. Our table then broke and I was moved to probably my toughest table of the tournament. I had a very good player, Jaymes Rosenthal two to my right and Cardrunners instructor Matt Reed (m_reed05) to my immediate right. Sadly for me, Matt had a short stack and was very good at shoving before me and therefore I couldnt really do much to get chips. I went to dinner on day 2 with 17k chips and was desperate when I returned to get my chips into the pot. Within 5 hands I managed to get all of my chips in with 77 v AQ and held and then shortly after doubled through Rosenthal with JJ v TT. Suddenly my chip stack had risen to 65k and I was back to average.
I was moved to a table that seemed like a dream, it had three players on it that I would consider below average at best and two of those three had 200k. After seeing one of them basically open every hand for 6 hands probably the hand of my tournament came up. I had built my stack up to 70k when he opened again in MP to 9k, blinds were 1k/2k/100, I looked down at AQ and decide to 3bet to 23k with the intention of getting it in on most flops if I was called. He thought for only a few seconds before calling and we took a flop of AT6. Basically gin for me and it got better when he decided to lead for 20k, there was no thought of folding and I moved in for 44k, only 23k more. When he didnt snap call I knew I was good but wasnt sure if I wanted the call or not. He tanked for about 5 minutes before calling the rest off with TJ. I managed to fade and was up to about 135k. I managed to uneventfully chip up to 220k before I was moved tables. I went very quiet for about 2 hours before I got all of my chips in preflop with AK v QQ, binking on a Axxxx board and getting myself up to 330k. As people continued to be knocked out my stack fluctuated until the end of the day where I bagged up 232k and headed to day 3 with only 30 players remaining.
Heading into day 3 I was 16th out of 30 but the stacks were very tight and it was apparent that the chips would be flying into the middle at a rapid pace. Id been unable to open when sadly the biggest hand of my tournament happened. A shorter stack moved in for 130k from EP2 and it folded around to me in the SB, I squeezed out AK and pretty much immediately moved all in for 200k. We tabled our hands and I was in great shape, it was AK v his K4. The board ran out a very nasty 23565 and that was basically my tournament. Had the hand held I would of had a very healthy 350k and could of gotten myself into contention. The tournament ended quickly after when I shoved J8o in EP2 with 70k at 6k/12k/1k and was called by AQ. Sadly no help came and I was out in a very disappointing 29th place for $11,780.
Sure had you offered me that at the start of the tournament I'd of snapped your hand off but having been so close to life changing money I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth. Oh well cant complain too much, I was so close to living out a dream. Im back on the tournament felt tomorrow in a $340 at the Venetian Deep Stack series.
Before I close, I'd like to thank all of those people that sent me good luck messages by text and pm. Hopefully soon I can be back in the same situation. More updates to follow.