This tournament had a very interesting format. I thought it was just going to be antes from hand #1, but it turns out it was increasing antes with blinds of 5/5 the whole way through. After the first few levels there were effectively no blinds.
My opponents clearly had no idea how to adjust to this format. I'd say about 2/3 of the pots were being raised preflop. That means 1/3 of the time you could see a flop for 5 chips. We started with 5,000. I can see when the antes are 10 chips a player, or even 25, folding might be an option. But when the antes are 100 and there's 900 in the pot and 1/3 of the time you get to see a flop with a shot of hitting big and winning that 900, folding for 5 chips is crazy.
But EVERY SINGLE HAND 2, 3 or 4 players would fold preflop with no raise. Even when the antes got up to 500 a player and there was 4,500 in the pot before anyone had done anything and these guys had 50,000 chips they were STILL not putting in those 5 chips to see the flop. It's flabbergasting! What are you worried about someone popping it and losing .01% of your stack? PUSSIES!
I committed to playing every hand for 5 chips early on as did some of my thinking opponents. I think the fact that I play limit all day and am used to seeing flop after flop in spots where my opponents could have a wide range of hands and playing pots on the turn and river helped me a lot.
Early on I was on the button and a few people had called the 5 chips. The ante was 50 a player so there was close to 500 in the pot. Confused by the format everyone was playing really tight and passive. I decided I was going to just start shooting at the pots with air for a while until I got some resistance. So I made it 400 to go with T2.
I got called by one player in the field and the flop came down Q 9 8. My opponent checked to me and I bet out 600 still on a bluff. He called me and the turn came down a jack. BINGO! My total bluff turned into a straight! My opponent checked and I checked behind him hoping to convince him that I didn't have a ten in my hand.
The river was a brick and my opponent moved all in! HA! I had about 4,000 left in my stack and snap called him. He had QJ and I was up to 11,000.
At this point he went ballistic going on about how I was a moron and how could I play T2 and how he was rich because of players like me. For 30 minutes every time I'd lose a pot he'd call me an ATM or a donk or my favorite a "Donk ATM." Clearly he was rattled big time (he raised to 900 on the very next had with only 450 in the pot)and this hand helped me later on.
I flopped a straight vs a set and busted a short stack who had AJ vs my AK and found myself with 18K. We started with 2,007 players, at that point there were 575 left and I had a dead average stack.
I was up to 25K when I got into it with Mr. Donk ATM again. We were 4+ hours into the tournament and we were still at the same table which was a little surprising. The antes were 200 a player at this point and I made it 1,200 to go with AK. Mr. Donk called me and the flop came down A 8 2 rainbow.
I knew he was thinking about the hand with the T2. He'd mentioned it hours after it happened. I was sure he'd call me with anything at all if I bet the flop and there was no way he'd have me on AK. So I bet and he called. The turn was a blank and I checked hoping he'd bet, but he checked behind. The river was another blank and I decided to overbet the pot to make it look like a bluff. There was about 6,000 in the pot and I bet 7,000. He insta called me with QQ. He was down to 5K and I was up to 35K. SUCK IT JERK!
I still had about 35K which was average when we made the money with 288 players left.
I caught a nice break beating JJ with AQ which took me up to 62K and had me in great shape. At that point I was in 60th of 219 remaining players.
I'd faded down to less than 40K when the following hand came up. I had J9s and I made it to the flop cheap (for more than 5, but not a ton). The antes were about 500 at this point and the flop came down K T 8 with two spades. My lone opponent bet out 10,000 into the pot of about 10,000 and I decided to go for it. So I moved all in for something like 35K. He called me with AT of spades! Whoops! The turn was an ace, but the river was a queen and I was up to 77K!
At that point I started dreaming big, but I was done in soon after by a hand I might have misplayed or at the very least could have played differently.
I had about 60K, got 88 and made it about 4K to go. I got reraised to 10K and I called. The flop came down 2 3 4, I checked, my opponent bet 15K and I went all in. He thought for a little bit and called me with 99. No miracles and that was it. When I got reraised preflop it felt like a big pair and I feel like maybe I could have check folded the flop. Of course if he has 77 I feel like a genius so who knows.
I finished 153rd which paid $376. Not off the charts by any means, but it felt good to make the money.