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Final Table Sunday $5,000 Guarantee (10,000 chips)

Started off the tournament with a 1,000 chip early registration bonus. I was in seat 7 at the sixth table; seat 2 had a woman who started pushing from the first hand. Within the first orbit, she’d already lost most of her stack to one player, then busted on the hand before the button got to me. After a rebuy, she made a big raise from UTG1, action folded to me, and I called with [ad kd]. The flop was [ax 3x 4x], she shoved even before all her new chips got to the table, I called, and she flipped [qx qx] against my aces. The turn and river were low and with only one rebuy, she was out.

I promptly set about sharing the wealth with my tablemates, losing over 3,000 with [jx jx] against [8x 8x] when my opponent hit a ten-high straight. I’d have had the better straight if an [8x] had shown up, but the chances were restricted. [8x]s were my downfall on the next hand as well, with a couple thousand following [ks 8s] v [2s 3s] down the hole on a flop of [2x 2x 8x]. Although I’d had more than 20,000 after the knockout, I was back down to 14,350 at fifty minutes.

The slide continued with speculation on a [qx tx] hand and a [ax kx 8x 7x 6x] board. [jx] or [9x] would have made me a happy man. 12,600 chips at eighty minutes. I coasted into the first break, bought the 8,000 chip add-on, and started the second segment of the tournament with 20,100 chips.

I folded [kx tx] after a pre-flop call of 1,100 in the SB. [kx kx] was the winner of the hand, so that was probably a good idea. [6x 6x] did manage to win me a small pot.

With the blinds at 100/200, I raised to 500 with [ax 9x], getting two calles. Then BB went all-in for more than 14,000 and I folded. We all folded.

[jx jx] picked the wrong time to shove, i.e. when I had [ax ax]. I managed to double up and was back in positive territory with 35,000 chips two-and-a-half hours into the match.

By the time of my next major action, the blinds had moved up to 300/600. I raised to 2,000 with [9x 9x], getting a single call and then a re-raise to 6,000. I called, and the previous caller came along. Top card on the flop was [qx] but there was also another [9x]. I opened all-in and since my stack was now large enough to do some serious damage, the other two folded. At the second break, I was holding 48,300 chips, about 5% of the total in play. There were 39 of the original 56 players remaining.

I moved to table 1 shortly after the break ended and took some time to get my footing, losing consecutive hands with [4x 4x] on the BB and [kx qx] on SB. At three hours and twenty minutes, I was down to 41,400.

Then I got fancy with [5h 6h]. There wasn’t much on the flop apart from a lone heart, but I stayed with the hand, and another heart showed on the turn. There was a bet of 2,500 and two calls. I re-raised to 7,500 and got calls. The river gave me a king-high flush—but hardly the best king-high flush—and it was checked through. There was nothing better than two pair behind me.

On my next SB, I lived dangerously with [7d 2d]. I made middle pair on a [kx]-high flop and bet 2,000, hoping to scare someone away but got two callers. The turn was a [6x] and I had to call another 5,000 to see the showdown but my sevens were good. In less than half an hour I’d gained over 30,000 chips, making it to 73,200.

From there, I called a 9,500 chip all-in with [Ks Js] but folded after a bet from another caller with only one spade on the flop. Running spades with the [as] on the river would have given me the nut flush and a major win.

The player on my left had been whining about calls—particularly my calls—ever since I’d gotten to the table. I put him all-in with [6x 6x] and he called with [ax qx]. Three [kx] on the board made me a full house and took him out. Because of the previous loss, though, I was still only at 75,400 when we’d been playing for four hours.

Speculating with [6s 7s] cost me after my flush draw caught [7x] on the river. I called a heads-up bet of 2,000 and thought I’d won from the comment by the player on my right but he was slow-rolling me with [kc 7c]. My stack was down to 68,400 at break 2 with 21 players left.

Once action started up again it was downhill to the end. I lost more than 10,000 chips with [ad 6d] and didn’t hit anything. A pair of [qx]s took the hand.

I hit top pair with [ax 8x] from the BB and bet 5,000 against SB for a win, but was down to 46,600 at 4:50 into the game.

Pushing with [8x 8x] from BB, I was nearly felted in a three-way all-in against [kx qx] and [qx jx]. [kx qx] double-paired on the flop and did not look back. I lost 42,200 chips but managed to double up on the next hand with [ad qd] when I hit [ax] on the flop. Fifteen minutes later I’d managed to move back up from the basement to an even 34,000.

The last hand of the match for me was a shove with a premuium pair: [tx tx]. Unfortunately, the guy to my left was more premium: [jx jx]. Didn’t quite make the final table.

Five hours and twenty minutes. -100% ROI. Placed 13th of 56.