I played the $650 Bounty Hunter tournament today and ended up finishing on the bubble in 16th - there were about 115 players to start. I think I played well although I did make a few mistakes especially early on. I sometimes lack confidence playing live and am afraid to pull the trigger in certain situations which is exactly why I wanted to play this before the main event. As the day went on my confidence grew and I felt a lot more comfortable and really got into playing my game.
When we were down to 16 players, I was the chip leader with about 120K in chips. A bunch of the players got together and decided they wanted to give $50 each to whoever bubbled, that way the bubble boy wouldn't leave empty handed. I was thinking to myself at the time, "Why would I want to do this when I'm the chip leader?". Then I thought about a time where the situation was reversed, I was a short-stack, and one person wouldn't agree to giving the bubble boy money so nobody ended up doing it - of course I bubbled. So I went along with it and wouldn't you know, it was me who ended up bubbling. So, I ended up pocketing $750 for bubbling and I had also picked up $1200 along the way for knocking out 6 people - it was a $200 bounty for each person I eliminated.
The hand that did me in was AJ. The blinds were 3K-6K with a 500 ante and I had ~120K to start (yes 20 big blinds was the chip leader). I raised to 15K from mid position with AJ and a tricky/good player who viewed me as pretty loose preflop reraised all-in to about 80K. So I had to call about 65K to win about 110K. Against a lot of players I would have folded knowing they wouldn't want to put their tournament life at stake on the bubble without a big hand. But I knew this player's range was fairly wide; I don't think he expected me to risk 2/3 of my chips being chipleader and being on the bubble without a very big hand. Knowing this I called and he flipped over 99 which I think was right in the middle of his range. He flopped a set and I was down to 40K or about 7 big blinds. About an orbit later at 4K-8K I reraised the button all in with A8 (I had about 30K) and unfortunately he had kings.
I'm really glad I played today, I feel a lot better about my game and my confidence/comfort level going into tomorrow is high. I hope I'm as lucky as I was today, if so I should be able to make a run in the main event. I'll have an update at some point tomorrow...