To coordinate with work as best as possible I picked day 1c, Saturday, to be my first starting day. There was a lot of buzz from Thursday and Friday and to be honest much of it made me nervous.
On Thursday, Day 1a, I first saw my friend the Poker Grump, who won a seat into the event, get put at this viciously brutal table of individuals, Including Greg Raymer (2004 WSOP Main Event Champion) David Chicotsky (2008 Online Player of the Year) and Tom Schneider (2006 Player of the Year). Wow...watching his updates kept my heart going through the day and I was proud that the grump survived his first day while Greg, David and Tom did not. Nor did a number of other big names, such as Doyle Brunson.
Of course my mind wanders. Am I even going to survive day 1? Who will be at my table? Is it gonna be stacked by well known pro's also? How will I play? Am I going to be able to control my aggression and be patient enough to wait for hands. AM I going to tighten up too much and get bullied by people eventually blinding out? To say the least, I had a lot of pre opening day butterflies.
As nervous as I was, I have to say that I impressed myself when the butterflies flew away as soon as the cards were dealt. I felt no undue pressure at all and in fact got involved in the very first pot, bluffed at it, and took it down. Oh geez. Is this how the day is going to go? Am I going to be living on the edge like this all day?
I was very active the first 2 levels and got in an out of a lot of pots. I put a significant amount of energy in pot control and my chip fluctuation was between 24-38k. from my 30k starting stack. The guy to my immediate right was chipping up fast. He was clearly a newbie/amateur but he was hitting sets, straights, nut flushes, all kinds of stuff and was getting paid off. Kid to my left, Joel Shulruf aka "feltin'donks" was clearly a tough online player and a student of David Chicotsky's. One over to his left was also a strong online player. A few seats to my right was Chiropractor David Hunkus, who although not the best, was strong enough to give me the most grief on day 1 (ie He flopped a set of Aces when I had AK).
I did not have any serious good or bad fortune until I picked up pocket Kings on the button. A nitty old man in middle position open raised. He got two flat callers. I, of course, bring in a big re-raise. Clearly no body is giving me credit for a hand and so they all call. Great. That's what I want a 4 way pot. The flop came with low cards and the nit bets. The next two fold.
At this point I was pretty sure he had Queens, maybe Jacks. Seriously doubt he would open raise with anything that might hit a set. If he had aces or kings he would have 4 bet back at me pre-flop. I doubt he is betting with air. I call the flop to see if hell charge ahead on the turn, which he does. He puts me in for 70% of my chips and I simply finish the job and go all-in. Yes level 3 I had my tourney life on the line...but I was fairly sure I was ahead, the river was my fear! He of course calls and turns up Queens, The river is a blank and I chip up to close to 65k. This guy was so patient and so inactive that I have to say I felt a little empathy for him after I took his chips. I had no idea how bad he may have felt, but just couldn't help but wonder if the 10k buy-in was a big deal to him or if it was really not a big deal. Regardless I felt what all poker players shouldn't feel, I felt sorry for him.
Later on a new kid came to our table and had raised my BB which I flat called with 57diamonds. The flop came 7QQ. I bet out knowing the chances that he has a Queen are low. He 3-bet me back, which I considered a weak move...the turn was a 6 and I check-called his turn bet. The river was a 3rd Queen, I checked keeping pot control in mind and he shoved all in. His all-in bet would have brought my stack to 45k if I was wrong. I was sure he had no Queen and that the only thing he could possibly have better than me was a pocket pair. The all-in felt very polarized and designed for me to fold, cuz hey if he had a pair he would likely check right? If he had a Queen he would be frightened to scare me away? I called and I was right he had nothing. My stack soars to over 90k.
Not long after I have been watching the nice inexperienced guy to my right donk off all of the chips he accumulated from his run good. He eventually became short stacked and shoved with KJ and I called him with a medium pocket pair and knocked him out. His hands were shaking after it happened and I felt deep sorrow for him as well. I imagined that the 10k put his family in a tight spot and he was counting on this win. I don't know why I think like this, I just do...I don't let it affect how hard I play someone but I can't rid my self of empathizing with the pain they must feel.
That was the last coin flip I won and the last player I knocked out. I was able to be aggressive enough to chip up to 120k winning small ball pots...and at the end of Day 1 I was a top 20 chip leader...just like that. No suck-outs, no epic hands, just a touch of run-good mixed in with a lot of average stuff. I was feeling good about bagging my chips and heading into day 2.