Monday morning I entered the Midnight tournament at Bay 101. I came in 7th out of 61, so $120 turned into $310.
The end of the tournament wasn't really great. With starting stacks of T$3000, the tournament had T$183,000 total in play. That means that at the final table, the average starting stack was T$18,300. But at that time, the blinds were T$2000 & T$4000, and shortly after we started, it went up to T$3000/T$6000. That really meant that the only move you had was all-in or fold. I had to flip a coin a couple of times and both came up tails, which bounced me out in 7th. The whole thing was just a bit more like a lottery ticket than poker.
But I do feel good about my game getting there. Some of the highlights:
The very first hand, we had an all-in. Now keep in mind that this is not a re-buy tournament. The hand was raised, re-raised and called before the flop. The flop came something like J74 with two diamonds. It then went bet, raise, re-raise, all-in, call. I felt for sure that it must have been a set versus a big pair or aces vs kings, or something like that. In fact, when they turned up, it was a set of sevens versus a king-high flush draw! The flush draw didn't fill in and that guy paid $120 for one hand of poker. Wow. The last time I had been at a midnight tournament, I went out within the first round, but that was because I flopped top two pair and the other fellow flopped bottom set. And in this case, the guy with the flush draw was the agressor! Unbelievable.
Right before the 3rd break, I was in the big blind and it was folded around to the button. He was a short stack and moved in. The small blind folded and I looked down at K7o. If it weren't for the all-in play, it would be a pretty easy fold, but the all-in was just, like, 20% more than the standard raise, and calling was about 20% of my stack. The guy was on the button. Was he capable of making a position move with garbage? I thought about it and in the end decided to just hope that my king was live (that is, that if he had a big ace that it wasn't AK). I called and he turned up 75o! I give him credit for a gutsy move. He just didn't have enough chips for it to be enough of a threat.
A few hands later, I had pocket queens on the button and it was folded around to the cut-off, who made a standard raise. I went all-in. He hemmed and hawed and called. He turned up pocket 8s. There was a queen on the flop, so I relaxed a bit... Then a queen came on the river. Now that's over-kill.
Next hand, I got pocket tens. The UTG player raised and it was folded around. The decision I had now was whether to press or call. It would have been about half my stack to press, and I chickened out and just called. As soon as I did, I chastised myself for it. Big pairs typically don't get any better on the flop, so I should have got my money in sooner. Anyway, a short stack in the small-blind went all-in (which for him was a call), and we saw the flop. Which came KKT!! Well, the only hand that beats me right now is KT or KK. I can't allow AK, KQ or KJ to get a free card, so I pressed at that point and wound up taking that pot. That pot took me up to about $19k, so from there I more or less coasted to the final table.
What was really sort of fun was that when I got up from the final table, I noticed that we actually had an audience. There were 7 (now 6) of us (of them) at the table, 2 tournament directors counting out the real money chips us and taking down our names (for the midnight tournament points towards the Bay 101 open free-roll satellite), but then on the rail there were about 15 people just watching the show. That was kind of cool.