I finally made it to Day 2! Up to now I was feeling like the whole trip was for naught so I'm happy and relieved.
I ended the day with 28,500 in chips, slightly above the average of ~24K. There are about 100 players remaining out of 446 that started. Even though I have an above average stack, I still only have 14 big bets to start the day - the first limit will be 1K/2K. 14 big bets is enough to play 3-4 hands to completion so I'll need to be extremely lucky to get through tomorrow and make the final table.
It was a strange day in that I was dealt really terrible cards all day but won nearly every hand I played. I was dealt no Aces, AK once, KK twice, and QQ 3 times. I would guess my won $ at showdown stat, for those familiar, was in the 80% plus range. Normally it's somewhere around 55% when I play 8-10 handed. So basically I was flopping pairs and 2 pair often and the times I wasn't I was able to win the pot without a showdown.
I also was helped throughout the day by some really bad plays. One particular hand sticks out as my luckiest of the day because of a player's mistake:
It was early in Level 8 and I had about 12K in chips - limit was 500-1000
A fairly aggressive player raised from first position in an 8 handed game, and I reraised with JJ to 1500 in the next position, the 3rd player to act immediately raised to 2000 which made it virtually certain he had AA, KK, or AK. Everyone folded back to the original raiser who called two bets, and I called one bet closing the action - pot was 6800 I believe. The flop was 893, first player checked, I checked, and 3rd player bet. First player called and I called. The turn was a King and at that point I had no intention of calling another bet. The first player checked, I checked, and surprisingly the 3rd player checked. The river was a Jack making me trips - the first player checked, I bet, the 3rd player called and first player folded. Amazingly the 3rd player showed AA and I raked in a 10K+ pot that I never should have won.
The level of play I witnessed from start to finish today was amazingly bad. Players were routinely limping from every position, cold-calling raises from every position, checking behind flops, and missing easy value bets. I think a great majority of the players are no-limit players, they almost seem to playing their hands the same way they would in NL except with fixed bet sizes.
The highlight of my day was being at Phil Hellmuth's table for about 2 hours although I only played with him for about 1 hour. I arrived at a new table about an hour before dinner and there was an empty seat with a big stack of chips in front of it. I didn't really think much of it until right before the dinner break somebody said Phil still isn't here to someone else. I asked, "Phil who?" assuming it was either Hellmuth or Ivey and they said Hellmuth. I was told that he won every hand he played for two hours and then steamed off after he finally lost a hand in a blind confrontation. I thought that was hilarious. When he did come back though he was as friendly as could be. I never saw him get upset at all although he was mostly winning.
Something I started doing today that I found really helpful in keeping me focused and abreast of everything going on was to pretend I was a poker commentator commentating each hand. For example I would say something like this to myself:
Guy with the cowboy hat limps 3 off the button, we've seen him do that twice today with KJ and QT from other positions. Crazy Russian guy raises the cowboy from the button, based on some of earlier hands he's raised limpers with, he should have an extremely wide range here. Etc., etc.
This is something I intend to continuing doing whenever I play tournaments.
May the poker gods smile upon me tomorrow. I'm off to get some sleep.