My biggest buy in for the trip and was looking forward to this one a lot. Having had decent runs in nearly everything before this I was in perfect frame of mind. When I played this the previous year it went awful as I was just in the wrong frame of mind and even tilted some of it off.
Anyways when I got to my table it didn't look particularly great but I was determined to play a lot more aggressively than I did in the $1,500 (when card dead/jetlag stopped me). It worked as I knew where I was in the majority of pots and had players categorised pretty quickly. I was in gamble mode but didn't need to take any massive gambles as most people started with just 3k of there 9k available with the 2 rebuy chips. First break I was over 10k and by the 2nd break I had over 20k and felt great. I struggled to push on for a while but was patient and after peaking towards 50k I lost a bit back to finish on 31k, 42nd/141 at end of day 1. 435 had entered and 45 would be paid.
Day 2 began on a table I knew would break within an hour or so. I knew this so wasn't gonna play too wild to begin with. As it turned out I got involved in my first allin crucial pot when I would have been crippled if I had lost. I had raised AK23 and been reraised and chose to flop it although it was for towards 20% of my stack. Flop came K102 and I held vs AAxx to nearly double and reach peak stack of near 60k.
I couldn't move on from this stack for love or money and floated between 40k and 80k for hours. Obviously I had moved tables and I knew I was on this one until the cash came but wasn't sitting and waiting for that. Another key hand with AA83 came when I raised and got a caller before a shortie moved in and bb decided to try and isolate with A1025. I had him covered but only by 13k ish and the board ran out something like 10,j,Q,10,x . Gutted and short I set about trying to double up and I finally got allin, called and covered for the first time in the tournament , now about 20 from the money. I 3/4up off the A1025 guy and amazingly didn't go allin called again until after I cashed. Play had tightened up just enough that I could steal enough to stay afloat although there was one huge hand in bb where I had been given a free flop and took down a chunky pot by repping a wheel when I only had a good low and no high. I had bet the turn strong and matey had flat me but with a river blank I felt forced to move allin for roughly a 80% pot bet and winning this pot fully allowed me room to feel more comfortable about cashing.
Just after the cash and table break I doubled off a mad Russian (whom I had doubled up earlier when he raised QQ26 (3diamonds) from the bb after 3 limpers 9only playing 15xbb). I gambled with him as I knew his range was wide as can be but missed completely with AJ45. He went mad when he lost this allin, obviously had a short memory from our earlier clash, but still went on to final table. This new table probably had 50% of the chips in play despite there being 4 tables in play but this worked out well for me as my 8-15xbb stack meant I had just enough to freely pick spots to gamble/resteal etc whilst playing fewer pots.
When we hit 27 left it was a table redraw and late in day 2 now. 9 handed and blinds big compared to a lot of stacks luck was required. I knocked out a short stack but only after doubling up another 1. Was the way of day 2 really, just couldn't win or 3/4 quite enough of the big allins to progress to the big stack. We finished the day with 17 left but I was 14th , well really joint 12th/17. Still had enough to win it but needed a double or 3/4pot increase asap to put me in the hunt.
I didn't ladder day 3 at all but again the allins just wouldn't go my way on the key ones. I lasted 2.5hrs but never got above 150k (115k start) and floated between 40k and 100k for the most part. My final hand to finish 11th was A223 vs AK29. A cash game buddy of mine from previous year had reraised me pre and whilst I hated allin pre with this hand I knew I had no choice given the blinds and situation and was hoping to see that exact type of hand when I cringe called allin. Amazingly the tight woman left in the mtt folded aces the same hand even though she would have had a decent side pot. Funny enough she had also folded AKK3 preflop vs the most aggressive player on the table sb vs bb too and only got 8th . Anyways back to my hand and the board ran out something like K1046 but bricked the river 10 I think it was. He went on to finish 6th for $50k.
I cashed for just over $17k so was gutted but so happy to have got as deep as I did and very happy with my overall play throughout the tournament. Would go as far to say its the best ive ever played in any tournament in my poker career. Top 4 places paid 279k,172k,125k and 91k so I couldn't help but think of those but only now am I thinking about the money as I write this. At the time it was all about making my 2nd wsop final table and taking a shot at the bracelet :(
Great experience and a lot learned. Only concern I have is treat live and online so differently I still don't crave mtts now ive been back a few weeks. Its daft but that's just me I guess.