Playing the PS $1M

Yesterday was the largest poker tournament in the world as 10,508 hopefuls showed up to fight over a $2.1 million prize pool — 1st place paid a whopping $271k. I won my entry via a $12 satellite (took a few tries though). This was my first shot at real life-changing money and I was very excited all day. Long story short, I ended up busting after 5 hours in 547th (top 5%!) for a nice $840. Very bittersweet ending — but I think I played well and got lucky in some ways and very unlucky in others.

The full story is below. Beware: very heavy on poker lingo which I won’t bother explaining.
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  • At 1.5 hours in I take a key flip JJ vs AKo for about 75% of my chips. After flop he’s drawing to 4 outs and misses.
  • My 1st all-in is a re-re-raise AI w/ AKo…split w/ AKo.
  • 2nd AI at 2:15 open-pushed 99 no callers
  • 2:30 — 1st suckout! button raises 66, I jam A4s and river a straight. He says, “plz die.”
  • 2:40 — lose major coinflip TT vs KQs; he rivers flush
  • 2:45 — 2nd suckout! forced to move w/ K9o, run into ATo but river a straight. Back to where I was pre-flip.
  • 2:55 — AA for the 3rd time. Have yet to get any action.
  • 3:05 — jam QQ on button, no calls. Still in bad shape, need a double-up.
  • 3:07 — jam AJs from SB after button limps; both fold.
  • 3:15 — jam J8o from button out of necessity. Got one of the chipleaders at the table now, so that sucks. He is, unsurprisingly, quite aggressive.
  • 1st hand after 3rd break I open-push 22 in MP, thankfully no calls. Couple hands
    later 66 UTG and I’m pained to fold it because I’m so short and need the blinds/antes just to stay alive… after I fold there’s a raise and re-raise so glad I didn’t jam.
  • 3:30 open-push A8o on button and take it.
  • 3:35 — chipleader raises, there’s a re-raise, and I go all-in w/ AA. CL pushes too and other dude folds… CL flips up AA as well and we chop pot. GRRR$*3!!$*$&~ Boosts my stack nicely, but I really thought I was going to more than double up. Chopped pots can be frustrating.
  • 3:45 — re-raise AI w/ AJo and take it down PF. Very next hand I get JJ in SB and open-push on BB… he insta-calls with AJo (I’d been pushing on him a lot) and I double up. For the first time since hour 1 I have an M of 15 (almost 29 BBs) and finally feel relatively comfortable. Sitting 238th out of 1387 remaining. I can (and am) opening up my game drastically now.
  • 3:50 — raise in CO w/ ATo, BB calls. Flop an ace and he check-folds. We’re essentially on the bubble now. Play has grinded to a halt as short-stacks frantically stall for time in a stupid bid to barely outlast other shorties.
  • 4 hours in exactly — we hit the actually, literal, definite money bubble. An
    aggressive player raises and I re-raise from BB w/ AQo… he re-re-raises back. SUCK. I fold and take a nasty hit. Very next hand same player raises and I jam 66 to get a bit of my chips back; he insta-folds. We’re in the money now; some 15 people simultaneously busted. A Mr. “Balu0412” is the unlucky individual to finish 1 spot out of the money. The bust-outs immediately following the burst bubble are fast and furious as shorties start shoving left and right.
  • 4:12 — SB limps and I check my option w/ 43… flop is 425, he bets I call. He check-folds the turn when I bet. Go on a mini-rush: raise AKo, all fold. Raise A2o all fold. Raise ATc, LAGgy BB flat calls and I take it down on flop w/ Kxx two clubs. Very next hand A4c and this time I fold. Currently 139th out of 1025. My LAGgy nemesis at table is 35th.
  • 4:38 — AKo UTG+1, BB calls my raise. Flop is K-high but draw heavy; he check-calls the flop but then check-folds the turn.
  • Couple mins later get QTs back to back. First I raise, no callers. Second time I raise, SB calls. I flop an open-ended straight and bet 80% of his stack and he folds. Cracked the top 100 in chips now. Nemesis is now in 10th and still a PITA. Only saving grace is that 3 seats separate us so I can usually avoid him.
  • Few hands later I have JTd UTG and think about raising on, essentially, a steal play. I fold it though and of course the flop is all diamonds.
  • 4:50 — AA again. Again no action. I’m the 2nd or 3rd most aggressive at table yet they never play back at me when I get a monster; very frustrating.
  • Almost 5 hours in — disaster. Short stack in EP pushes, I re-raise AI to isolate with AKo… guy behind me calls! It’s 99 vs QQ vs my AK… Q on the flop. Down to 519/558. OUCH. Is that QQ call good?!? I’m 37% against both, 43%+ against the QQ alone (which is what really matters). If I win this I’m at 500k+ and TOP 10 in chips! ARGH.
  • Couple hands later I have KQo in BB and all-in versus 66… miss my 9 outs on river and GG me. out in 547th. AGONY. $840.64 is not too shabby though. Outlasting 95% of the field feels very good, especially since I know tons of pros who didn’t get very far at all. It also feels nice not having to second-guess myself: I really don’t think I made a mistake at all in the last two or three hours. I mean that; just seems unlucky to go down in flames so fast over what, to me, was an unavoidable situation. Was a very fun afternoon/evening though and quite memorable.« … Done reading!
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