I did make one mistake in my original post...the antes were $1000, not $500.
I have been thinking about this all day today, especially after reading Cobryn's reply this morning, as I very much respect his posts on the board.
My goal going into the tournament was to make the final table. I played this same weekday evening tournament during much of the summer and busted out within site of the final table several times...once in 11th place when I flopped a straight and and a guy sucked out on me by hitting a full house on the river...and another time when I flopped an open end straight flush draw and 3 other players were all-in in front of me...a chance to quadruple up with 15 out twice and I missed them all! So, making the final table was my first goal.
Once I made the final table, then my goal was to make the money. With three big stacks, miracle cards would be necessary to win. And, with several other short stacks, which were not shy about going all-in or calling when pushed all-in by the thre big stacks, I figured that I would wait as long as I could for a premium hand. I did manage to increase my stack by 50% one time with A K of spades against two of the big stacks. One of them also had A K and we chopped, which kept me alive a while longer.
Then, came the K 9 suited hand. K 9 suited UTG was not what I wanted to stake my tournament life on, especially with two other stacks shorter than I was. Regardless of the fact I would have hit a boat, I still think folding K 9 suited was a good idea...only because of those other two short stacks. Yes, I was trying to fold my way into the money. That may not be very honorable, but cashing would have really boosted my confidence.
But, once I got the pocket 9's, I figured that was good enough to push. I knew that at least one of the big stacks would call, but I hoped I was at least racing. And, as it turned out, I was a favorite against the K 4 offsuit that ended up knocking me out, as well as the J 7 off suit that the other big stack caller held. I can atleast I got my money in good.
The other option would have bene to fold the pocket 9's and be left with 12,000 in chips. I would have had to pay $5000 on the next hand...$1000 ante plus $4000 SB. If I would have folded that hand, I could have paid the antes for 7 more hands. Being blinded out (what Doyle calls going out like Broomcorn's Uncle) is not very smart, but within those 7 hands someone else might have busted out. Of course, I'll never know that now.
I am still uncertain if I made the right play or the wrong play. Next time, I could go all-in with the same hand and get busted with it. Or, I could try to fold my way to the money and get blinded out on the bubble. I'm just not certain if there is always an optimal play in this situation.
Thanks for the input and please keep your feedback coming!