I'm fairly irked by how I imploded with only ten players remaining. I was a strong second in chips before making two uncharacteristic errors which sent me plummeting to last place, then I busted out in a situation I'm actually pretty happy about as far as my play was concerned.
A few thoughts on how the tournament proceeded ...
Firstly, the MATH was a 6-max format with 78 runners, if I recall correctly. I had a plan to amass chips early and avoid all sorts of marginal situations and not engage in marginal play out of the blinds. You want to steal my blinds? Go ahead, only I'll 3-bet with strong hands and occasionally re-steal. Am I going to steal your blinds? No, not without a real hand.
Early on, I got AA in the small blind and was able to put in the third raise in a re-raised pot. I overbet for value on a 662 flop and my victim claimed to be folding queens.
A bit later on, I raised with 75s and got a favourable flop in position. Betting all the way, by the turn I had both straight and flush draws and I made it on the river, taking down a very nice pot against an opponent who couldn't fold top pair.
Then, I really chipped up with pocket tens. I raised from the small blind and got a loose call from the button. I overbet a Q72 flop with two spades and my opponent jammed. I put him on a draw, and I was priced in to call because he was relatively short in chips. Sure enough, he had KTs so he was in bad shape and didn't improve.
Two or three times, I tangled with surflexus who final tabled this event. I nearly busted him with the goods as I check-raised him off some second-best hands when I had the near mortal nuts.
At this point, I was comfortably in the top five in chips, and I had the luxury and patience to enact my patient and disciplined style of play.
It got even better for me as I defended my blind to a raise with KQ. A king hit the flop and I check-raised my overly aggressive opponent all-in and he insta-called with ... K2! He didn't hit a miracle deuce and I continued to chip up.
By the time the field had been winnowed down to the final twelve, I was tied for the chiplead with Mitch. I was able to 3-bet him once with pocket tens to make sure he knew I wouldn't let him run me over, and I also called a raise with pocket sevens and hit a straight on the turn to win two nice pots against him and remain solidly comfortable with a good table image.
Unfortunately, after nearly three hours of solid, safe play, my discipline and adherence to proper hand selection and situation selection faltered, and I quickly and brutally paid the price.
Firstly, I doubled up a short stack when I raised with a suited ace on the button, a move I had usually avoided because I was steadfastly avoiding pure blind stealing moves for vast majority of the time. A short stack jammed and I felt narrowly obliged to call because of the price I was laid. Sure enough, I was up against pocket queens and I didn't outdraw them. Consequently I went from having 30+K to only about 23K in chips.
Secondly, the next time I had the button I raised it up with Jc9h. Again, this was a poor lapse of discipline on my part. Sure enough Mitch called and we saw a flop of Jh7hQd. He check-raised me and I foolishly opted to call. The turn gave me a ton more outs with the 4h, so I had a gutterball + flush. Mitch jammed, I got seduced by the outs and the size of the pot, I winced as he turned over JJ and I lost a huge pot I had no business being in. Presto! I was now short stack with ten players remaining when five minutes ago I was a comfortable second place stack.
Then after scuffling to stay afloat, I made a conscious effort to find a hand to double up from my 10K stack to something I could get back to really playing poker with. I simply called with J9s on the button. Sure enough, I saw a flop of QT6 and jammed once both blinds checked to me. Mitch made a very questionable call with 4T, which I actually liked to see, but sadly I missed all of my outs and busted out in tenth.
This was another painful lesson in discipline. Poker is a cruel game that can swiftly and ruthlessly punish any mistakes. You have to play mistake-free poker in these blonkaments to reach a final table in postion to win a BBTwo seat.
I was happy with my final statistics for the event. Of the 250 or so hands I played, I saw only 12% of the flops and won 62% at showdown. I think this was the correct style to play. I folded ace-anything-less-than-a-king to any raise, pretty much. First in or fold, unless I had a good pocket pair or AK.