I was up at the end of each of the first six levels. By dinner break I had just under T29K in chips-- about an average in-the-money stack with 30% of the field left. More than that, I was playing extremely well and I had a very favorable situation. There were two larger, aggressive stacks at my table for much of the day, and they were manned by competent players. Miraculously, they were the two on my immediate right. On my left were a bunch of moderate to short stacks, and they were playing a tight, predictable game.
One guy at the table was so inexperienced that just before the first break he asked, "So, what do we do with our chips while we're on the break?" Later, when the antes showed up they had to be explained to him. He played a very very predictable game. He also looks exactly like Dave Fruchter is going to look in his late 60s.
I really, really felt like I was in the zone. I was opportunistic. I played my opponents. I extracted value. I got away from it when I should. It was really just all working.
My stack hit just over 32K near the beginning of level 8, and then the trouble started.
The blinds are 200-400 with a 50 ante. I open raise to 950, a standard open at our table, with AK. A guy who I was privately calling Crocodile Dundee, an older Australian, reraised me to 2100. He was one of the predictable players, and wouldn't be inclined to do that too creatively. I think about it for a while and decide that he would do that with approximately 77+, AK, AQ, and maybe AJ. He'll fold a lot of that range to a jam, and I have him out-chipped by around 3:1, so I jam. He called, and his hand was definitely in that range-- AA to be precise. Nothing good happened, and I was down to a little over 20K.
A few hands later, I open raise to 900 with AdQh. One of the short stacks goes all-in for 925, and both of the monster stacks (who happen to be the SB and BB) call. The flop comes As Td 7d, the SB checks, and the BB bets out for around 2500. I believe his range for doing that is very wide, since I've seen him try to isolate an all-in with things like T7s preflop. I'm sure he'll make that bet with any ace, maybe any pair, and even possibly a flush draw or a straight draw. I very quickly jam, the SB folds, and to my chagrin the BB calls. He turns over ATo. The turn is a diamond, but the river is no help and I'm down to 4500.
I look for an opportunity to get it in, and find presto an orbit or so later after the guy on my right opens. He calls because he has to, turns over K8, and a king flops. IGHN.
Variance, she is a bitch.
So of course I've spent the last hour questioning the two big hands. I really can't find fault with them, though. In both cases, the opponents had a fairly wide range of holdings, and I think I just got unlucky that they were at the top end of their range.
Opinions are welcome.
(Update: The guy with the AT was Justin Zaki. Joe Cada was the guy I busted to.)