I have recently committed to playing the Sunday tournaments with a lot more frequency. I have been going relatively deep but just finishing short of the big paydays.
Yesterday was quite frustrating from several perspectives. I started out terribly in all of the tournaments and couldn't get anything going in even one of them. I lost several big pots to 2 and 3 outers which didn't help matters. In all, I played nine tournaments with total buyins of about $2300. In the evening, I found myself alive in only two - the FTP $1 million guarantee and the $55K guarantee.
In the FTP I was in very good shape once we made the money. I think I was something like 40th with 200 players remaining. I then got a little unlucky. An early player pushed allin, another player reraised all-in, and I woke up on the button with KK. Unfortunately, the 2nd player had AA and I didn't improve. That pot would have put me in the top 5, but now I was down to an average stack. I say unlucky in that there really wasn't anything I could do with kings there. In fact, I always say, the other guy could have had kings and I had the aces and the hand would have played out the same. I didn't play poorly, but was unlucky in that I was dealt the worst hand in a situation where I couldn't get away from it.
But I rebounded very nicely and really made some good moves to get my stack back over $100K which was above average at that point.
In my other tourney, I believe I made a bubble mistake with 58 players left and 54 spots being paid. I had $6K in chips, with $400-$800 blinds and $100 antes. I decided to push in middle position with A-6. Although my "M" was only 3, I could afford to post the blinds one more time to wait for for a better situation. With $4500 in chips, I would still have good folding equity with the BB being $800. In other words, I wasn't desperate quite yet. Add that to the fact that pushing allin with A-6 is a borderline play to begin with from middle position. I think this was pretty much borderline here, so given the bubble I could have waited a little longer to either get a better situation, or at least move up into the money. 2 cashes on the night would have been nice although I was obviously playing for the win.
Going back to the $1 million guarantee. I got blinded down to $80K in chips which was about average when the following hand came up. I got dealt A-K of diamonds in middle position and raised to $10K. The cutoff called and the flop was Q75, with two hearts. My first mistake as making a continuation bet here. The Q is actually one of the worst cards in this situation. The play was quite tight with few players seeing flops. Therefore, a realistic range of calling hands at this point in the tournament before the flop are hands like A-Q, K-Qs, and maybe any pair TT or below. It is doubful that players would call with A-J, or K-J, and they would like raise hands like JJ or better or AK. So the most likely scenario is that my opponent flopped a pair of queens, a set, or he has a middle pair. Even with a middle pair, he is likely to call a flop continuation bet. But I bet and he called. First mistake...
The turn was a blank and we both checked.
The river was a blank and I actually put him on a middle pair now. I figured if I bet 75% of my stack it would look very strong and a middle pair would fold. Well, he didn't and called with TT. I was now down to $15K having lost $65K in a pot that I never should have gotten involved in on the flop! There is nothing worse then misplaying a hand deep in a tournament.
So I crashed out in 100th place getting paid $750 for the tournament. So I cashed once and lost $1500 for the day. Quite frustrating given that I had two tournaments to try and go really deep and frustrating that I felt like I was playing very well, only to give it up all on one hand.
The good news is that I learned two things on that one hand and hopefully will not make the same mistake again in the future. There is nothing worse than misplaying a hand late in a tournament, but in some ways, it's better to go out that way while learning something to improve your game rather than suffering a bad beat and not learning anything.