With the blinds at 1500-3000/3000, I pick up the lovely pair of ones in late position. An aggressive big stack opens to 7500. He is the table chip leader and has been asserting his will somewhat relentlessly. I have taken advantage of his over-aggressive nature with a few well-timed 3-bets prior to this hand. He has folded twice directly and called once to check/fold the flop. I 3-bet to 24K. Yes, this is a larger than "normal" sizing. The idea here is to make getting stacks in easier should he give action, and also that it seemed like he was prepared to give action as he'd now begun tangling with people who played back at him. The other players get out of the way and the villain makes the call. The flop comes and he checks to me. I elect to make what I hope will look like a weak follow-through c-bet with a hand that is scared of the ace, hoping to induce him to make some sort of move. I fire out 21K, and without much deliberation at all the villain announces he's all in. Yes, this was an overbet as I had a decent stack. Mission accomplished, I confirm with the dealer that the opponent has in fact gone all in just to be sure nothing funny happens to mess this up, and then I move a stack in announcing all in as well. The villain tables AQo and is drawing dead to runner runner. Of course, we can't ever have it easy without a sweat… the turn is a ten, giving the villain 4 outs to complete a runner-runner straight that would end my life right there. The river bricks off, however, and I am fortunate to take down a huge and critical pot.
With the blinds newly up to 2500-5000/5000, action folds around to us on the button with T9o, and I open to 12K. This is a pretty standard open against blinds that are mostly responding by calling or folding, and not 3-betting. The SB folds and the BB calls. This player has defended vs. my late position opens more recently, check-folding a few times on the flop, donking out once which I folded my air to. There was definitely a sense of mild frustration at my late position activity vs. his blinds (which, strangely, he never countered by 3-betting me). We flop gin when the board rolls out . The big blind checks to us and I continuation bet 12K. I think this is essential to c-bet and not slow play. For starters, it's a wet, dynamic board that many parts of the villain's defending range will connect with, allowing us to get action. There are numerous action killing turn cards. A 9, T, A, K, Q, spade all may serve as scare cards to the opponent and slow down the action from hands that would give it right now on the flop. Lastly, the growing sense of frustration with us constantly poking may cause them to fight back out of frustration wider than they might normally, and this type of board texture is a good one to make a move on us as most of our wide button range will not be strong here. So we fire 12K, the same as our preflop raise size, and the big blind player counts out raising chips. He comfortably and confidently check/raises to 35K. His demeanor looked confident and strong, so I think it's critical to reraise immediately as with the nuts we cooler all other strong hands, and we will likely get the money in now before one of those aforementioned scare cards can roll off on the turn. Villain started the hand with around 140K chips so he has maybe 90K-95K left. I move all-in, and he insta-calls. He turns over 87s for bottom two pair. The board runs out clean and we eliminate another player and gain a big chip up.
After that, there weren't any super memorable hands, everything proceeded somewhat standard. My eventual bust hand was on day 3 to the tourney chip leader, who coincidently went on to win the tournament. He opened for a min-raise and it folded to me in the big blind. I look down at , which is obviously too strong to fold. My options on 19bb were likely to jam, or call and decide post-flop if I was willing to commit the rest. Right or wrong, I opted for the latter and called. The flop came giving me the nut flush draw. The big stack had been folding easily to resistance, playing smart and controlled, so this seemed like an ideal spot to check/jam given the relatively high frequency of cbet/folds I expected to get plus my hands equity to fall back on when he has the goods. I check, he cbet, and I jam. Unfortunately, he snap calls and reveals 66 for bottom set. The turn is an unhelpful ace, but the river brings my spade! But the Qs was the wrong one, filling him up and sending me to the rail in 119th place. It's always a bittersweet feeling… it's a very nice run in such a large field, but coming so close and yet so far always hurts a little. Thanks for reading along with me, and I hope you found this series entertaining and perhaps educational. I look forward to trying to build a deeper run again next WSOP.
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