It's been a while...
...since my last final table of a large multi-table tournament, but it was worth it. The tournament was a $10 1r1a at Full Tilt. This means in the first hour, you can rebuy more chips, but only once, then a final option to add on at the first break.
What this means is that if you take the rebuy option straight away (which I did) you are very deep stacked early on and have a lot more freedom to play more marginal hands than you would otherwise.
I ended up 4th out of 362 players for a nice prize of $740. Not bad for a $30 entry. All things considered, with the exception of a couple of missed resteal opportunities, I don't regret any of the plays I made, and am very pleased with 4th. I'm not thinking "I could have won if I did this or that". I'm very happy with the result.
To be honest I did get dealt some good cards, and they usually came at convenient times which meant I could profit from them. For example, in one period, I had raised with good cards 2 hands in a row and everyone folded. On the 3rd hand, I get dealt AA. I raise again, and of course someone doesn't believe me and takes a stand by reraising me. Thank you! Timing is everything in poker. You may get good cards, but sometimes you don't get paid with them.
But I was also pleased at the way I played. I tried to play it carefully and thoughtfully. I didn't take any risks, or make any outrageous bluffs. So many times, I've gone out of tournaments because of a bad decision due to the fact I've not thought through enough how to play the hand properly.
There was one key hand which came fairly early on that could have put me on tilt for the rest of the tournament, and sent me crashing out early. I raised with AA and got a call from a player on the button. Flop was a harmless 2Q8. I bet just over half the pot, he calls. Turn was a 6. I bet a bit more, this time just over 3/4 of the pot. Again he just calls. What hand can he have? I suspect something like a pocket pair, AQ, KQ, maybe QJ or he has an overcard, say AJ or AT (although more unlikely). He could even be on a flush draw (there were 2 diamonds on board). River was a scarey Q. Again, I continue my line and bet out 3000 into a 4900 pot. He goes all-in. I have him slightly covered, but will be crippled if I call and lose. I did think for a while before folding. He claimed in the chat box that he had nothing and that he put me on KK. This could be true, and would be a bold move if he did, although I think he would have shown the cards if he was bluffing. This could easily have been a ploy to disrupt me and put me on tilt. I'm pleased that I didn't let this affect me as it did cost me half my stack. However, after a few blind steals over the next few orbits, I soon build it back up again.
There were also a couple of hands that I really liked the way I played. On both occasions I read my opponents for not having anything and was able to take the pot away on the river. In the first hand, I have AQs in the big blind and call a raise from middle position. Flop is 945. This is unlikely to have helped him. I check to the raiser and he makes a standard continuation bet of just under half the pot. I just call. turn is a safe 7. I check and he checks behind me. Now I know he has nothing. River is a 3. I bet 7000 into a 13,500 pot and he folds.
On the 2nd hand, I have K8 clubs in the small blind. A player limps in 1st position, I complete and the big blind checks. Flop is 98A. What could player 1 have? Well, he could be slow-playing a monster, but I'd rather discount that for now. I'll soon find out, but generally a player just calling from 1st position will have a mid to small pocket pair, maybe 2 suited cards. I doubt they have an Ace. I have paired my 8, and that may be ahead. I check, big blind checks, and player 1 bets exactly half the pot. I call with a view to re-evaluate on the turn. Turn is a 4. I check and player 1 checks. River is a 7. I lead out with a half pot bet and player 1 folds.
The whole hand history can be found here:
http://www.pokerxfactor.com/HA151428/5500 guar.txt/9050 (you need to register first).