The last week before the big one.  Since I'm in the situation where I can only improve with a top 2 finish from the 41 that started tonight, which would get me into the top 10 and a bye straight into the finals, I can open up my game more and not have a penalty for doing so.

The first level starts off and while I’m not getting much for cards, the rest of the table is getting monster after monster (AA three times plus assorted full houses, flushes, etc).

The second level starts and I pick up AK and make a standard raise to 300 and get two of the better players calling me (I’ve got position on the aggro of the two).  The flop comes J 10 4 and the aggro bets 200.  I’ve got possibly 10 outs over him, as he was in the BB and would call with anything so I call behind and so does the other opp.  The turn is a blank and the opp leads out for 425.  I decide to call and the other opp mucks.  The river is a blank and the opp bets 725, which I muck to, and the opp shows QJ for top pair.  That’s it for the second level.

Onto level three and I’m in the SB with a family limped pot and look down at 66.  I complete, wanting to setmine.  The flop comes A K Q.  I check and the betting takes off, so it’s an easy muck when it gets back around to me.

Just before the blinds get back around to me, the table breaks, which I don’t mind at all since I haven’t won a single hand.  I get transferred from table 3 seat 1 to table 7.  I recognize everyone at the table, especially the one 4 seats to my right, Dave TheLangolier.

I don’t get anything for a few hands, then pick up 44 in late positon into another family limped pot… perfect place to try setmining again.  The flop comes A 2 3 and the player three to my right makes a min bet.  He was also at my first table and I’d seen this betting pattern from him before (there and from earlier weeks).  He’ll always bet small like this when he has top pair, so I immediately put him on Ax.  His min bet however, prices IN my 6 outs, so I call behind.  The turn is a brick, he min bets again and since I’m still priced in, call behind and see the river.  Brick.  The opp now makes a slightly larger bet (one of those please call me value bets).  Since I’ve had him on Ax all along, my pair of 4’s isn’t good and after I muck he flips over and shows AQ.  That betting pattern is one that I know to take advantage of, but I also know that you don't want to bluff when he's doing it, as he'll call down bets with top, 2nd or even sometimes 3rd pair.  If he wants to keep pricing in my draws, sooner or later I'll hit one and stack him.

The next hand I get involved in is the last one before the first break.  I’m in the SB and it folds around to the button that raises to 600 (which I immediately put on a steal based on a prior week’s history of him in late position and especially on the button).  I look down and see AJ, so with just over 10BB, shove over him.  The BB tanks for a min and mucks, followed by an instant muck by the button.  I end the first hour with about 3/4 my starting stack, but it could have been worse.

The second hour starts and so do the antes.  The first orbit I don't get anything for cards but right at the beginning of the 2nd orbit I get a hand where UTG (second in the league standings) shoves in his last 1500.  It folds around to me on the button and I look down at A 10 spades.  I decide to overshove to isolate him, which I figure is the best play since I don't have a made hand, as the SB is a stationy player that more than likely tags along if I just call.  He flips over 67 clubs, making me a 60.9% favorite.... until a 6 hits on the flop.  Good idea, but there goes 1/2 my stack.

I'm now looking for a spot to shove into and see a hand that I'm actually happy to see, red 55, my lucky hand from Vegas!  Needless to say, in a shove/fold situation, I'll take shoving first with a pocket pair.  The stationy player to my left calls and the rest of the table folds (a bonus I'll take, as I'm much happier only being up against one opp).  He turns over A9 diamonds and the race is on.  The board ends up with a pair of 4's and my two pair holds! 
Having had no luck at all lately with races, it's nice to actually win one for once.  Hopefully that will carry over to next week too, as in a blind format like this, a player has to win a few races to win a tourney.  It also can't hurt my table image, as it's not that often that I'm shoving three hands within a few minutes in the middle section of a tourney.

For the rest of this level and the next one, I'm back to what I was seeing the last two weeks.  Nothing but an extreme cold deck (28o, 38o, 48o and the tank prop hands, 27o, 95o, T2o).  There isn't much I can do with these, especially when the short stacks are in shove mode and I'm not calling a shove with a hand like this.

Now to the last level before the second break starts (300/600 with 75) and I'm looking for anything to shove with.  After I blank the first orbit with more prop hands, I say to myself that I want to pick the best spot between now and my BB and shove.  From UTG+2, I look down at 38o.  Next has to be better.  From UTG+1, I get T2o.  Next has to be better.  UTG brings the ever-popular 27o. 
I get to my BB and seat 2 (the league leader that I have absolutely zero luck against and had also just taken out Dave on a very sick beat) decides to raise to 1500.  It folds to me and I look down with 1150 behind my 600 BB and see 57o. 
I just put this into pokerstove, and 57o vs a top 35% range for the opp, as the opp is going to be raising wider to try and accumulate chips actually has 34% equity.
To shove here costs me 1150 into a pot that will be 4400 once the opp calls the extra 250 which is a given, is 26%. 
When I made the shove, I thought it was an even or a slight -EV play (which as a very short stack I was absolutely happy to take).  However, after just running the exact numbers, it's actually a +EV spot.
The opp flips over two overcards and of course, the flop hits one of them.. so I'm out in 23rd.

The big week is next week and hopefully I've saved up some of my good cards for it, as I've been card dead a good part of the last month. 
When the final standings come out tomorrow, I'm expecting to be in the upper teens, so I'll be in the semi-finals that start at 3pm.  The players in the semis (expect about 30-40 or so) will play down to 10 spots, that then transfer to the finals at 7pm.  The 20 players in the finals then play down until the last person standing gets a WSOP-ME seat (the rest of the top 10 places in the final get $$ prizes).

The semis is basically a satellite with 10 seats available, so hopefully I'll have a bit of an advantage with the format too, as I'm not sure how many of the other players will be used to playing them and know the strategy differences between a normal mtt format and a satellite.  Then in the finals, it's take any spot that you can get chips and get your chips in good, as first place is worth much more than the other places... so go for it!

Hopefully there will be three PSO'ers in the finals battling it out for the seat but I do know that if I don't win it, I want to see Dave or Dave end up with it. 

Either way, next week should be a real interesting one!