For all that talk about the $100,000 tournament being my big chance, I sure didnt come through -- I saw ONE showdown the whole time. Oh well.
I busted just before the first break, moving my stack (T775) all in with ATo on a flop of rainbow 587. I had raised it to 2x the BB PF, and gotten two callers. I think I was steaming a little, but I did genuinely sense weakness, and I had position, so I thought it was a good time to steal. Fox and the farmer, right?
I hadn't played a hand to a showdown all tourney at this point. I had seen only three turn cards. I just wasn't catching any starters at all, stuff like Q5o, J2, was the rule -- which was fine. Then, with blinds 25 and 50, I got TcTs with T1265 and made it T150 to go. Two callers, and the flop came down Axx, all spades, no straights to my memory. I liked this flop, even with the Ace. I bet out T200, and get called by one guy, which I hated. Turn is a meaningless 5h, I bet small trying to keep myself in the hand while keeping the initiative, and figuring my opponent on an Ace or a large unpaired spade. Probably an Ace.
He moves all in, and I go into the tank. Hindsight is 40/40, but maybe this was a good place to call with 12 outs to a probable winner (unless he held AA, or had the K, Q, or Js, or paired cards bigger than TT that river a set). I just couldn't bring myself to move it all in in the first hour on that kind of draw. It was all so uncertain. So I folded, leaving myself T865.
Then, the next hand I get ATo, which I mentioned above. I moved in when I sensed weakness and was immediately called by the same guy I was up against last hand. Crap. He turns over 77, and I need runner-runner for a set or a straight to win. It doesn't come, and I'm dead. He needed a big hand to call my all-in bet there, and he had it. Life goes on.
I will say this, though: it was interesting, the whole process of playing into this big tourney. I think it was very valuable experience, and I'm glad I did it, even if I lose. My $9 investment ultimately got me a real shot (1 in 342 entrants) at a $20,000+ first prize and a $100,000 overall prize pool. The lessons: patience when you still have a workable number of chips (all in with ATo and 15x the BB and no pairs is a bad idea!), patience when you're not getting any cards, and don't tilt when you have to lay a decent hand down.
My final finish -- 250 of 342. Not very good, but then again, I wasn't out first, and I had a real shot at something completely out of my normal boundaries. It was worth it.