I busted the EMOP Dublin a few hours ago coming 26th with 18 getting paid. I peaked at 170k and the average stack when the bubble broke was 140k. There was a 178k stack at the final table, with two stacks shorter than that.
When stuff like that happens, you always tend to question yourself and wonder if you blew your stack. I keep thinking, and I honestly can't say I'm not happy with my play. I lost an 80k pot with 99 vs A3. That happened at a crucial enough time and definitely cost me a lot of momentum. If I win that, I have 200k+ (2.5x average) and am chip leader with ~30 remaining. As it happened, I lose the pot but still have a very comfortable stack with 120k. I hovered around that for a while without any major confrontations.
I was relatively happy with my play in the small pots. Nick Abou Risk was on my left so I did play a tad tighter than normal. I didn't get out of line too much but I still won my share of pots. I guess if I final tabled I wouldn't even be thinking about it, but when you get knocked out you always try to see if you could have done anything at all different!
My bust out hand eventually came with me playing 110k. The blinds were 1200-2400(300) (blinds were due to increase in 5 minutes) with 26 remaining and 18 getting paid. I opened with JJ to 5k, Darragh Davey who was new to the table, playing a 110k stack also, 3bet me to 12900. Without being results oriented, I think this is a trivial enough 4 bet. I suppose I can flat call and take a flop in position. Anyway, I 3bet to 29k and Daragh shoves. It's about 80k to call and there's 143k in the middle. In cEV, that means I need 36% to call. Against a range that contains AA, KK, QQ and AK, I have 36% equity. I think QQ+, AK is a reasonable range. I haven't played enough with Daragh to be any more sure. There's a chance he's only shoving with aces or kings here, but what is he doing with QQ and AK? Hardly folding them or calling oop?
So if I do have almost exactly 36% equity, and need almost exactly 36% equity for it to be a breakeven cEV call, should I call? I suppose tournament strategy usually dictates that you need better than a cEV breakeven spot to risk your tournament life. If I call and win, I have 223k. This will be 75BBs when the blinds increase in 5 mins and would make me chip leader on the table. If I fold, I have 80k which will be 27 BBs when the blinds increase.
At the time, I felt it was a spot where it's better to gamble. Looking back now, I don't know. Maybe taking the hit and grinding the 27BB stack is better. With 75BBs approaching the bubble, it puts me in great shape to really have a shot at a big finish. With 27BBs, my options are limited and chances are I'll have to win a showdown before the bubble bursts. In a soft tournament, I probably take the lower variance option and fold. However, I felt in this tournament, I couldn't just 'wait for a better spot'.
The more I analyze it and think about, I can't logically say that I definitely should have folded or played it differently. However, there is something in the back of my mind saying I shouldn't be out...maybe it's just being results oriented. It's a bit like my 'head' is saying it was a standard hand and a bit of a cooler, but my heart is saying I should know better and that's not a spot where I should go broke. I don't know, maybe it will look clearer in the morning...
(Anyway, I can't really complain too much as I was freerolling the tournament from the start of day 2. I got it in with TT vs the JJ of Feargal Nealon and binked the ten on the turn)
Overall, I was very happy with my play. The last 3 or 4 live tournaments I played, I felt I was only playing at maybe 70%. Despite not cashing, it is encouraging to feel I played well and the hunger is most definitely there. It's coming towards the end of 2012 and chances are I'll only be playing one more live tournament (the Macau Xmas game) before the year finishes. Although it's been a year without a 5 figure cash and nothing hugely exciting has happened, I've been pretty happy. I think my attitude and discipline has improved a lot this year and that stuff has to be right for a poker player to have any longevity. I'll save all the nitty gritty for the official end of year post, but the basic idea has been to grind away in games I'm sure I'm +EV in, not over extend myself, and then if things are going well, take a shot at a tournament I know I'm definitely +EV in. With college and other things taking up some time, it also means I haven't had as much time as I maybe would have liked for poker. There's not really much I can do to change this for the time being, but I do know that there's 24 weeks of classes a year, 2 study weeks, and 4 weeks of exams. That means there's still 22 weeks free, so playing as much as feasible in the 30 weeks and then playing a lot in the 22 weeks still allows plenty of time to dedicate to poker.
In the foreseeable future, it looks like it's going to be more of the same. A bit of live cash here and there and hopefully the €500 Macau game in December (edit - sigh, was just checking Macau website, game is now a €350 game, (breakdown is €75 bounty and €40 reg). And blinds are only 45min as opposed to 60 going to 75 as it was last year, disappointing). Once I'm finished exams, thanks to the wonderful UL academic schedule, I have 5 and a half weeks off before semester 2 commences. It's easy to say now the plan is grind a lot, do this or that, but as I know, plans can change very easily so I won't hastily make any big plans! What I do know is, I'm really motivated and hungry to do well and get results at poker right now. So, as they say, onto the next one....