I was knocked out of the Sunday Stars $615+$35 WSOP super fairly close to the bubble. 414 runners, 23 seats awarded, 3 turkeys receive a small cash payout, and, of course, 388 losers. I busted 34th at the 6 hour mark. According to Jan, the whole schebang took 8 hours to play out. Congrats to 50 outs for finally taking down a seat!
The anatomy of a Sunday (long and boring...):
I woke, for me, bright and early having decided the night before to make it a day of MTTs. More specifically, focused MTTs (primarily single-tabling). I sat down at my PC and started to carefully plot which events to take on.
I don't take a lot of the advice from PocketFives very seriously, but one article by N 82 50 24 seems consistent with the way I have been viewing super sats lately. The gist of the article is that an experienced sat player can have a substantial edge in supers that award large numbers of seats. I'm a cocky bastard, so the 6pm EDT Stars $615+$35 was the first event added to my list (although this would be the first time I have bought in to a satellite with a buyin at this level).
I have often read about the substantial overlays in the Bodog guaranteed Sunday major, so the 2pm EDT $100+$9 Bodog $100k guaranteed was a nice candidate event. A conflicting event was the 2pm EDT $300+$20 Big Deal $80k guaranteed on the Poker Room network. The pros of picking the Bodog event was the consistent substantial overlay. The pros of the Big Deal event was, what I imagined, a much smaller field with a better structure - better practice for the WSOP.
(It turns out that overlay was the word of the day, possibly because of Father's day. The Bodog event had 50% overlay, Big Deal 25% overlay, Party $1 mil guar 25% overlay, Stars $1 mil guar 16% overlay, UB $200k guar 50+% overlay, etc....)
Both Bodog and the Poker Room network don't support Poker Tracker/PAHUD, at least for MTTs, so this factor didn't influence the choice. I left the decision up in the air, and headed down to the gym (hey, I'm at 64 consecutive workout days!).
After a modest workout, I made calls to my dad for father's day and my sister for her birthday. As my wife was still sleeping, it made sense to make these calls outside on the cell phone. Well, I managed to lose track of the time, and noticed at roughly 1:58pm EDT that I better head back to register. I cut the phone call short and tried to boot it back up in time. No dice, as I made it back to my PC a few seconds too late. Apparent Bodog and Poker Room enforce an on-time registration for their events. (I can't count the number of times I've entered an event on other sites with overlay only to watch the overlay get substantially or completely chewed up by late registrations. BAH! okay, end of ranting for now...)
The next event in the pipeline was the Stars Bloggers event at 4pm EDT, so now I had 2 hours to kill. So much for MTT exclusivity. I decided to improvise by clearing the remaining Cryptos bonuses for June. This took 1.8 hours, and I even had time to take a short break before the Bloggers MTT kicked off.
During the Bloggers MTT, my wife woke up and, while having her breakfast (lunch?), she said she had just one thing to ask of me on Sunday. It was a simple errand that would require me to run out for about 45-60 minutes, but prior to 9pm EDT. Looking at the schedule, I honestly told her I probably couldn't take care of it on Sunday, but would take care of it on Monday for sure. She was fine with this.
Less than 60 seconds later, I get it all in preflop with QQ vs. AK and die on the river. (It sounds like every other Blogger that I follow busted with AA after getting all in preflop, so I can hardly complain). The Party and Stars $1m guaranteed events kicked off 29 minutes earlier, and the Stars $615+$35 kicks off in 61 minutes.
I learn from my mistake and preregister for the $615 super, jump out of my chair, give my astonished wife a kiss on my way out the door, finish the errand, and get back in my seat about 30 seconds before the start of the $615 super.
Given the size and quality of the field and the structure (30 minute levels with T$2500 starting stacks), this is a pretty good event to enter. Roughly 50% of the field came from qualifiers.
Excluding 1 easy 2nd round double up with AA vs. JJ with a comparable stack, I was able to maintain no less than a 50% of average chip stack without winning any big hands and taking only marginal risks to my chip stack during the majority of the first 10 levels (5 hours). During levels 5 and 8, I was knocked back from above an average stack in big pots (AA vs. JJ again - turned set, and set vs TPTK - runner runner flush). Winning either hand would have, at least temporarily, given a commanding chip stack for the current table, but instead in both cases I dropped to a ~50% average stack.
In a typical online tournament, getting knocked back to a 50% average stack after 2 or 4 hours into the MTT means you are in dire straights. Given the good structure though, a 50% average stack is still very playable, and I was able to chip up again without playing any big pots.
When the field reached about 60 people, I was just dropping below 50% of average again when the 2nd overall chip leader attempted to limp reraise UTG with KK. I got a see a free flop in the BB with 36o, and doubled up after the 33x flop. Whee poker.
With exactly 36 runners remaining, the 5th break was hit, which turns out to be a lengthy 15 minute break. Because of the generous gift from the big stack, I'm sitting at just slightly over T$28000 which is just slightly under avg. However, because of a few big stacks this actually puts me in 13th place.
The 15 minute break gave me quite some time to think. I was in decent shape, but definitely not out of the woods. I felt that I would be content to attempt to chip up to the mid T$30k's with hopefully ~6-7 players remaining to the bubble and then adopt a ultra conservative stance. My stealing strategy would be to fold to any pf reraise and, if called, fire no more than 1 shell postflop unless I strongly connected with the board. Steals would be focused only on medium stacks and/or ultra conservative opponents.
This is a synopsys of the last few hands of significance:
3rd hand after the break, 36 players remaining, avg stack T$28750, blinds T$600/T$1200/T$75, my stack is ~T$28k (M=11.3) in MP, a big stack T$65k in MP+1, T$9k short stack in MP+2, all others behind are average stacks and, in particular, BB has T$33k.
preflop: muck, muck, Hero raises to T$3800 with Qc6c, all muck to BB who reraises to T$6400. Hero calls (2 players, pot size T$15275)
flop: 9d9s7c BB bets $2400, Hero folds.
Despite the tiny pf reraise, I actually considered mucking getting almost 5:1. I had less than 10 hands played with BB (i.e. no read), but considering an average stack is willing to make a pot builder raise preflop out of position headsup with a comparable stack, I felt he would have Aces or Kings a substantial majority of the time. My implied odds were ~8:1, and the only flop I'm going to like is 2 pair or better (including a flush) with no A or K on the board. The combined odds of 2 pair or better is greater than 26:1. Despite my instinct, I still called, and then folded to the tiny bet on the flop. Sigh.... yuck
1 orbit later, a freak occurance happens. Roughly 50% of the field is suddenly (and seemingly randomly) disconnected from Poker Stars. (The total duration of the disconnect ended up being about 3 minutes, but we had no way of knowing how long the situation would be in place). 4/9 players at my table are affected, and I am not one of them.
On the 2nd hand of the outage, I'm in the CO with the button and BB disconnected. The SB is a short stack with T$11K. It is folded to me and I retardedly raise 3xbb with 53s with a T$19k stack, and I retardedly elect to fold to the SB's push getting ~2.4:1. I regret not open pushing, and my retarded reason at the time for not calling the push was that I had worried that the disconnect problem might persist for a few minutes, and I would hate to be stuck with a sub T$10k stack with all those disconnected players to steal from.
However, during this actual hand (about the time the SB jammed), the players started reconnecting and all players were actually back by the time the next hand was dealt.
Roughly 2 orbits later I push on the button with 66 into the short stack (T$3k) in the BB (who will automatically call). On the very next hand, I make a pot size reraise all in to the CO+1's 3x bb pfr with KK. CO+1 has a healthy T$40k stack and calls.
The first hand is automatic (villain flopped an overpair). The second hand, I could have gambled by smooth calling preflop. There is some chance that villain does not push on the flop with just two overs. I'll never know... (villain flopped 2 overs and a runner runner Q high flush draw that hit)
These two hands bust me. I'm upset and sick to my stomach... cursing the poker gods. For the rest of the night, I'm filled with second thoughts from my near bubble play. With hand #1, I'm okay with the idea of trying to steal from a medium stack. There were not many opportunities to open raise, and it was not out of line to try this. (I think.)
The 53s steal/fold really did hurt. In retrospect, I really wished I had open pushed or given the SB a walk, with the strong preference on the former. Should I have called his jam getting ~2.4:1?
Should I have been slightly more patient with steal opportunities? I had initially wondered how I would have fared had I went into ultra conservative mode immediately after the 5th break (so long as my M remained above ~5). The next morning when I read Jan's report that the super took another 2 hours to complete, I at least felt better about my strategic decision to improve my chipstack.
I'm a little gunshy about entering next week's $615 super, and my decision will probably be determined by my confidence level on that particular day.