My car died a couple of weeks ago. After pouring money into it to fix everything that kept going wrong I finally gave up when the head gasket in the engine blew. The estimated cost to fix that would be somewhere between $1100 and $1700 depending on who I talked to, and so I sold it to a junk yard instead for $400.
My parents have offered to lend me the money I need to get a new car which is awesome, but the feeling of having a large debt was weighing heavy on me. I'd been playing really poorly on PP lately so it was mostly feeling like I was hemorrhaging money even though I have a regular job as well. I decided to take a few days off from poker to try and get some perspective about why I now sucked. I talked with the Wolf and he deduced that I was feeling too much pressure to make money and was worrying more about my stack than playing well. That was clearly true, so when I made my return two days ago, I vowed to play well and not for the money and whether I won or lost, playing well was all that mattered.
It turned out to be an awesome day. Wolf and I both played in the $40k guaranteed, a $22 buy-in with a first place prize usually of $10k. There were about 2700 people who entered the tourney and with about 100 left, both of us were doing really well. I was probably in the top 5 big stacks and Wolf was comfortably about the average stack. I had a good feeling that we'd be seeing each other at the final table and I was having visions of us finishing 1st and 2nd. Me first of course. Unfortunately he ran into some bad luck and pick up JJ in the BB against the QQ of the small blind in a battle of the blinds. It was all in pre-flop, but even if it hadn't been, the flop was low and it was inevitable that he lose all of his chips without a suck out. No such suck out occurred and Wolf was done, making a small profit for such a long tourney.
I kept going, bludgeoning as much as possible, and taking down a lot of pots with reraises. I think I scared the Wolf several times when he'd see me go all in, ask what I had, and I'd say Q7 or T3. My philosophy is that at the small tourney level other players are stupid and think that elementary plays will work. Raising in the cut off or on the button is unacceptable if I'm in the BB and it took some players a long time to learn that.
I only had one suck out the whole tourney, and it came at a very good time. The button raised my BB during the first round of the final table, and I went all in with K9. He thought for a LONG time and eventually called with KQ putting my tournament life at stake. I hit a 9 on the flop though and cheered my ass off.
With 6 people left, everyone agreed to discuss a deal. I was second in chips and had a lot of respect for the chip leader, so when the $ distribution ended up with me making essentially the 2nd place prize, I agreed to take the deal. I ended up making almost $5,500 for that finish-- the biggest take I've ever made. And it couldn't have come at a better time. I'm feeling really good about my low buy-in tournament play, and hopefully someday soon I can adapt that into higher buy-in success.