I don't typically do my recap immediately after a tournament, but this one will be so short, I might as well get it out of the way.
During the first two levels, my table was doing a lot of limping, so I joined the party. I made trips twice (once with A8o on a board with two Eights, once with A4s on a board with two Aces) and won medium pots with both of them. I also flopped a lot of big draws (two nut flush draws, two OESDs to the nut straight) in big, multi-way pots, but didn't hit any of them. I turned a double gutshot straight draw once and bluffed the river, but got called by second pair. I was just below even after the first two levels.
Blinds were 100/200 and I was in the CO with KQs. MP1 raised it to 600 and I flat-called. Everyone else folded. Flop was JT9 with two spades. He checked, I checked. Turn was a 6. He checked, I bet 700, he called. River was a 6. If he bet, I would just call since I thought it was possible he was slowplaying a set. Instead, he checked, I bet 1K, he called. He said he had AJo. This hand put me up to about 16.5K.
Blinds were 100/200 and I had TT in the BB. Three people limped (all very loose players), the SB completed and I raised it to 1200 total. The first two limpers (MP1 and MP2) called and everyone else folded. The flop was A8x. I hated to see that Ace as I was sure at least one of my opponents had an Ace. I decided to check and see what happened. I basically planned to fold, but I was open to other options. MP1 checked, MP2 bet out 1K and it was back to me. I took a read on MP2 that he was weak and it looked to me like MP1 had a weak Ace and that he didn't like MP2's bet. I decided to check-raise bluff to 4K total with the intention of getting MP1 to fold he scared Ace and MP2 to fold because he was bluffing. Sure enough, MP1 folded, but MP2 called. I'm done with the hand if no Ten comes off. Turn was a Queen and we went check, check. River was another King and we went check, check. He showed down A9o. I was pretty shocked that 1) he called pre-flop for 6 BB and 2) that he called a large check-raise on the flop. He was obviously looser than I thought. I was down to about 10K.
A few hands later, we went on our first break.
I played one hand in the 200/400 level. Everyone folded to me in the CO and I had A3o. I raised it to 1200 and only the BB called. The flop was AQ9 with two clubs. The BB checked, I bet 1500, he check-raised to 4500 and I folded.
Blinds were 300/600 and I was UTG+1 with AQo. UTG limped, I moved in and everyone folded.
Blinds were 300/600 and everyone folded to me in the BB with KQo. We took our second break a couple hands later.
First hand after the second break, the blinds went up to 500/1000 and we were playing eight-handed. Everyone folded to me on the button and I moved in for about 6000 with K2o. The BB was extremely short-stacked and should've called with any two cards, so I normally wouldn't have moved in in this situation. But, he was a very inexperienced player, so I knew he'd fold most of his hands. Sure enough, he folded and I stole the blinds.
We were seven-handed and the blinds were still 500/1000, I got AQo UTG and moved in for 7400 total. UTG+1 took a couple seconds and said, "I'll call you." Everyone else folded to the BB who reluctantly folded (I think he had a small pocket pair). UTG+1 showed ATo. Unfortunately, the flop was KTx and I didn't improve. I busted 23/33 without ever getting my stack over 16.5K.
I had one pocket pair--TT--and had AQo twice. Other than that, I basically had no cards. It was a very frustrating tournament and I was kind of glad it was over, although busting with AQo vs. ATo isn't my ideal way to go out. As I think back on the tournament, my biggest enemy was probably the fast blind structture. We started with a generous 15K in chips, but we skipped a lot of blind levels. We started at 25/50 and it went 50/100, 100/200, 200/400, 300/600, 500/1000 and then I busted. So, we skipped the 75/150, 150/300 and 400/800 levels. Starting with 15K chips is nice, but the starting stack is only meaningful in light of the blind structure, which was very fast for this tourney. The only hand I think I might've played differently was the TT hand. But even with the 4K chips I check-raised into that pot, I only would've had 11.5K before the last hand, which would've been an M of almost 8.