There was a little satellite running tonight at the local casino: $125 buyin, top 10 (out of 100) win a place in a $1100 buyin final (also 100 players). Prizes in the final will be $12,000 packages to the Aussie Millions $10,500 Main Event.
I went down for the first time without Sidekick. Started slow - picked up a few small pots uncontested with hands like AK and AJ. Got to first break after an hour with about my starting chips (3k). Kept treading water and made it to second break with around an average chip stack (which by this time was probably around 5k).
Sometime after the second break, I got an interesting hand of 75hh in the BB. Four players see a flop of Ah8s6h with two hearts. Check around to my right, who bets about 2/3 pot. I shove, having him only just covered - I figure to be leading almost any hand except for a pair of 8s with a better FD, and I don't want to have to make a tougher decision on the turn. Another player hollywoods and folds a 97 (supposedly). Original raiser calls with AQ. Fortunately a heart arrives on the river, and I nearly double up. The very next hand, I pickup AKss and a small stack shoves into me. I reshove to get heads up and he shows QJ. Neither of us improve, and suddenly I'm sitting table leader with maybe 35 players left or so.
After that, I sat tight with a pretty cold deck. Bad preflop cards at least makes the decisions easy. I was moved to another table for about a round, before that table was broken up, and I ended back in the exact same seat I left. Only now there are 30 players left and nearly everybody is short.
I picked up a couple of raising hands (AK, AJss), and took down some blinds (now 700/1400 with my stack sitting around the 15k mark). Also got a couple of big blind walks which helped a little. The trouble is that a lot of this play from 30 down is short handed, meaning that the blinds come very fast and it is sometimes necessary to play sub-premium hands.
Anyway, I keep playing tight and make it to the third break with 20 players left. Blinds go up to 1000/2000, and a few small stacks go out. But I am really short stacked now (maybe 13000) after an attempted steal gets snapped off by a shortie holding trips on the flop. With around 14 players left, I get 88 UTG. After some thought I fold reluctantly, preferring a better spot. I was very thankful for that fold, since the BB turns over aces busting out another shortie (Dances with Aces #1).
We get down to 12 to go, and I am still short (feeling like I need to find a hand to steal a round of blinds with). I find ATdd, and shove from MP and get called after a bit of Hollywood by "the Geezer" in the BB. He turns over A9cc, and I breathe a little. Flop comes 873, turn 9 (ack!!) and a river J to save my behind. A few hands later, and with a few chips to play with I turn over JJ UTG. I raise to 6k with 20k behind. MP shoves, and at some point a player on the other table busts out (we are playing hand for hand at this stage on two tables to get down to 10). It turns out that MP matches my stack exactly, so a call from me would end the tournament right there. I Hollywood for a while and fold face up, figuring that I'm flipping at best but very likely behind. MP shows his AA, and I get lots of 'great fold' calls from around the table. I actually thought it was a pretty easy fold in the circumstances (Dances with Aces #2).
It plays tight for a little while longer when a short stack on our table shoves from MP. I look down at shiny aces, and stick my chips in with an apology. I have very little behind, but nobody is so short that I can afford to fold aces PF. MP shows QJ, doesn't improve and we're going to round two baby (Dances #3)! The table thought it was karma for my JJ fold.