I don't usually play these huge field MTTs. Too much time spent playing with nothing to show for if you go out before the bubble. Still, the big money is enticing. So at the end of the late registration, we're looking at 68k players., the 1 million guaranteed is smashed, and over 150k for first place. And I got in for free.

Thanks to the PSO-sponsored ticket for a freeroll, I won a seat, and here we are. 10k starting stack with the blinds at 10/20. that's new for me. Let's be a nit at first, shall we. Then again, pocket 3 in hand 1. The blinds are low, let's gamble...

It's always nice to win the first one.... And I'm being kind of a card rack here. The second hand I get pocket 8, but decide not to play them when the guy before me 3bets it. Hand 3, pocket 4, Hand 6, AQ off. And so I slowly build a stack. And so, just before the break, my 5th pocket pair in 30 hands....

The flop is nice, all undercards, but there's a few draws possible. Still, a continuation bet seems appropriate. He calls. The turn brings me a set, which really doesn't change anything, and I bet again and he calls again. This I didn't expect. The river is a 10 which I really don't like. Four to a straight on the board. But I feel checking would be bad. I lead out on three streets and then check the river.... what do I do if he bets? So I remember the PSO classes on thin value betting (thanks for that!), and decide to bet. If he raises, I can still fold, plenty of chips behind. instead, he folds and shows the K3 of diamonds. I wonder why. It's not like he's showing off a huge laydown. The only thing he's showing off is that he kept putting his money in bad on three streets. Still, who am I to complain....

Shortly after the break I find yet another pocket pair. Again, a low pair, but good enough for a little setmining. Yikes, second flopped set in 42 hands. I do hope I'm not wasting all my good cards this early.

Again I'm not entirely happy with how the board comes up, but I think I played it well. After he called the raise on the flop and the big bet on the turn, I kinda thought he might be having a pair of kings in the hole. I wonder if checking the river was the correct play. In hinsight, it wouldn't have mattered, he had just the Ace 10 offsuit, so there's almost no chance he would have called a bet anyway.

Now - before you think I'm only playing brilliantly, let's skip to the first hand I think I lost more chips than necessary on:

Ace King is nice preflop, but postflop it's just a nice no pair hand. The pair on the board meant a decent chance the AK was good, so I bet it. I didn't like it when the guy called me. We'd been playing a few pots already, and so far I bested him out of two decent sized pots. The turn is either a great card for me, or an expensive one. I pair my ace, so any pocket pair he has is now no good. It also gives me the nut flush draw, and the option to hit a full house. I can't lay it down to his bet. But what if I miss my draws? In the end, I decide that if he has Jacks, then nice hand to you. I'm not dusrting off another 2200 on that river bet. Still - I wonder what he had.

And so we move on. The first hand with the antes... A5 suited is not a great hand. I don't know why I keep playing it.

Lucky river saved me I guess. And then we get the pocket pair again. Nice, especially on the button. Is this a prime spot of a raise? Not sure, I opted against it.

No flopped set this time, but a board that's unlikely to have hit the villain, and so I call the bet. Now I still haven't the faintest idea why he was minbetting the turn and the river. He was giving me the proper odds to call him down with a naked Ace, while a normal sized bet on the turn would probably have gotten me to fold. Oh well, his loss... And with that, I actually survived to make the second break. 90 minutes done, and a nice 130% of average stack to go with it.

Now, the following hand is one I ran into a few times. Not the exact hand of coursem but the general idea.  I need to stop giving people too much credit for a hand.

Preflop, I have the JT suited in early position. I've not played a whole lot lately, so a raise here should look strong enough to get a few folds. And it does. The flop isn't too bad, I hit second pair, and pretty much the only Queen the villain is likely to have is the AQ. Still, a continuation bet is my preferred play here. He calls it. Great. Did he actually hit his Queen? Now the turn is interesting: another Queen, making it far less likely he actually had a Queen. Still, I couldn't bring myself to bet again, and so I checked. And now he bets. I'm not sure. He could have a Queen, but am I doing the right thing giving him credit for it? I'm not sure, and so I call. The river's a blank, and it gets checked down. I'm glad he didn't bet the river, I'm not sure if I would have called.
And now for the big question - does this make me a calling station.....

Anyways, time for the 3rd break, 150 minutes of play complete, and I now have about 150% of an average stack. Guess I did well so far. At this point, 39k players left in the field.

My first pair in a while:

I don't like that many limpers, and so I decided to raise it up. Perhaps the size was small, something worth thinking about. The flop is fairly decent for my hand with the one overcard, but I really don't like his call. Again, he doesn't leave and so I put him on the Queen? It gets checked down from here and this time I was right, he did have it. Drat.

This level is definitely not going well, as this happened next. I really put him on a King there, not on the Jack Ten. Seems like a loose play preflop, but I guess he was getting the right price.

And the very next hand signalled my exit. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted....