I made my way back to the Rio for my second shot at glory in the Colossus on Saturday night and started playing as part of the first "late wave" at 9:20. By that time the 4th flight of the tournament had been underway for 2 hours plus a break and was now on level 4 (100/200 blinds).
The news would come out the next day that a total of 22,374 entries were part of the Colossus - 10 to 20 times as many entries as typical no limit event at the WSOP and 200 times as big as a bay area $500 tournament. An astonishing 2,241 spots would pay with 2,241st paying $1,096 and 1st paying a surprisingly low (relatively speaking of course) $638K. 1st place in some tournaments can get as much as 40% of the total prize pool and I've never seen an event with 1st getting less than 10% (which would have been about $1.1M).
I got off to a terrible start. On the second hand I was in the small blind and the big blind was not at the table (his cards are automatically folded, but his chips go in the pot). The action folded to the button who made it 500 to go. I had 4,800 chips and T8 of hearts which felt too strong to fold against a hand that could be any two, but not strong enough the 3 bet (maybe). The flop came down T 5 3 which was a great flop for me.
I have to admit that even though I was very likely to have the best hand, I was thinking about how to avoid going broke with it on the second hand.
I checked and my opponent bet a modest 500. I called. The turn was a king which was a bad card, but I again checked and called 500. A repeat of the same bet on the turn is almost always weak, but my options were to pretty much commit to going all in or just call it down. The river was a 2 and I decided to fire out 1,000. I didn't think I could fold to a bet, but figured I might be looking at a bet bigger than that on the river if I checked - it was primarily a "blocking bet." There was also some chance I'd get called by a worse hand trying to catch a bluff as I took a weird line on the hand. My opponent called with K3 and I was down to 2,300. Shit!
Two hands later I got dealt TT. Someone opened for 525 and I shoved. He called me with AJ and I managed to double up.
Around this time I realized I was playing with a bunch of stooges. Not like pretty good players who were worse than me or experienced players with a few major leaks, but a few total novices who were having trouble handling their chips and cards and others who were probably the third best player in their monthly home game. It was a real shit show.
It took three other hands that went south to finally get rid of me.
With the blinds at 100/200 with a 25 ante I made it 525 to go with A3 one off the button and got called by the actual cowboy on the button and the woman with the "cow girl" hat on in the big blind. These two were both in the novice category. The flop came down QQ9 and I figured I'd win with a bet if neither had a Q. The cowboy only had 1250 left so I bet 1,100. After a little fussing he went all in and I called another 150. He had KQ and I was down under half my starting stack again.
A few minutes later the cow girl moved all in for 1,500. I was in the big blind with KQ and decided I could easily have the best hand as she had no idea what she was doing and I was calling 1,300 with a chance to win 2,050 getting almost 3 to 2. I called and she showed me A4 which meant I was almost exactly a 3 to 2 underdog. I got no help and was down to about 700.
3 hands later I got dealt QT in the cutoff and shoved (or perhaps plopped is a better word here) my last 575 into the pot. The small blind and the cow girl called me. The flop came down Q J 9 and I thought "A ha! Something good!" But when the small blind check raised the flop and bet the turn I figured I needed help. None came and I lost to the AQ of the small blind (cow girl had KJ).
If I had to do it over again I would probably not enter a late wave. With the stakes so high compared to your chips stack it's hard to survive any one bad thing happening to you. I'm happy that it took three bad things (or 4 if you count the hand I lost T8 to K3) to finally get me, but I'd much rather play deeper.