However, I was still left with about 960k going to 8/16k (2k) and was not fazed much by the hand since I didn't get in as a huge favorite anyway.
Then I almost made a crucial misstep when we were still six-handed. I raised to 42k on the button, L.B. Eidson called from the small blind and we went heads-up to a A♥ 5♣ 9♥ flop.
He checked and I bet 55k, pretty sure that my hand was still good. He called.
The turn fell the T♦, and he insta-jammed for 215k. I was pretty sure he hadn't taken this line with an ace, especially since he would have shoved most big aces pre, so I was a bit puzzled.
I was also pretty sure that the only set he could hold was fives because of the preflop action, and that he'd never check-call-jam this hand ... he'd check again. He'd probably even check-shove the turn if he had A-T or A-9.
However, I thought that L.B. was likely to make a lot of calls preflop with mid-high suited connectors despite being out of position with an awkward stack.
So hands like T♥-Xh and even Q♥ J♥ seemed like very possible holdings ... but the T♣ 9♣ and T♠ 9♠ SPECIFICALLY came to mind as his most likely hand holding (the T♦ and 9♥ were on the board, and I honestly thought he'd only call these hands if suited).
I'm still not sure if the fold is correct with my pot odds if my range for his combo hand/draws was correct, but I decided to do something I rarely do: talk.
I had established a bit of a friendly tie with most of the remaining players, L.B. included. I said something along the lines of, "You got me in a tough spot here buddy - you gonna show if I fold?"
Honestly, if he had said yes I'm pretty sure I would have called. Hands like K♥ T♥ are plenty happy to try to talk you into folding an ace, while a set of fives or two pair is going to keep silent or tell you that they won't show unless called.
L.B. replied, "You gotta pay to see."
I then quickly returned my jacks to the dealer - and L.B. showed me the T♣ 9♣ anyway. To quote Mikey, "I'M A SUPERSTAR!!!"
Jacks on an ace-high board to an all-in seems pretty easy to lay down in most spots, but this situation was a little different.
Although I was now down to about 800k and had taken another beat, I was actually feeling pretty good about not putting in another 25% of my stack with the worst hand ... and getting every chip I'd put into the pot in good, no less!
Not long after, I managed to get a two-for-one deal. I chipped back up to a million while busting my toughest remaining opponent. I picked up two red aces against Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah's Q♥ Q♣, and busted him in sixth place. Easy game.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mike, who just yesterday took down the Borgata $500k Guaranteed Deep Stack event. He's truly an inspiration to mohawked Canadian min-raisers everywhere. If there are any others, that is.
Shortly after I took Mike out, Jeremy Byrum jammed his short stack with the K♥ J♠, but ran into L.B.'s Q♥ Q♣. Jeremy played pretty well down the stretch, but got short when his QQ fell to Kai Landry's K-3o after Kai jammed 10 big blinds UTG six-handed out of desperation.
Oddly enough, his demise came with king-high against the same QQ that did him in.
I felt like it was about time for me finally stack the player I'd been gunning for heavily over the previous two days: David Dao.
I felt that if I could bust him and chip up to almost 2 million, I'd be able run over the table while exploiting the remaining players' desire to move up in the money. It had gone from creeping up $11-$12k for every elimination at the final table to having a $40k jump between third and second place.
Not to mention that something about a six-figure score is just that much sweeter ...
I thought my dream was about to come to fruition when he raised from the button and I defended with 4♠ 4♣. The flop came GIN, 9♣ 4♥ 2♠.
But for some reason, David Dao decided that this would be the first pot where he would completely give up and not put another chip in the pot. fwroigjugvog-vjeohufdsbwebgfydgmwaisswghfwoeijfw
Then came the turning point of the tournament - that one key hand that changes everything that you've spent days accumulating chips and carefully planning for.
There should be no surprise that the villain in this hand will be my favorite opponent of the tournament (and possibly of my career, come to think of it), David Dao. I wish I could play $5k heads-up matches with him for a living. Anyway ...
With the blinds still at 8/16k (2k), action folded to David (580k), who limped in from the small blind. I (1.1 mil) raised 42k on top with the A♥ Q♥.
He called, and checked the flop of 2♥ 5♥ 7♣. Since David loved to check-raise, I had to make a decision whether to check behind and take a free one or bet and go all the way with this hand.
Obviously I'd picked up a great flop for my hand and should have been ready for action. However, I'd been going out of my way to play, not small-ball, but at least smaller-than-usual-ball, since I had such a huge edge on my opponents in terms of experience.
Stacking off with a modest edge (possibly dog against two pair; David would never have limp-called pairs here, so sets were impossible) seems like something I may have wanted to stay away from.
But in the end, I think it was a pretty easy decision when you consider that I expected David to shove almost any pair on this particular flop - all flush draws, all open-ended straight draws, and probably some gut-shot-overcard combos.
I thought he might even spazz out and jam with total air due to the flop texture.
I bet 80k, and in very expected fashion, David immediately announced that he was all-in for about 520k. I called him before he could push a single chip forward, flipped over my hand, and I believe I even said aloud, "Let's go."
David turned over the ...
(If you don't know the outcome of this hand, feel free to post below with what the craziest hands you could imagine him limp-call-check-shoving on me here are ... and be sure to catch Part 3!)
"All In At 420"