I had a pretty decent table draw, with just two faces I recognized: Kenna James, a very solid tour pro, and Steven Merrifield, who finished seventh when I won my WSOP ring and who's made two WSOP Circuit main event final tables since then.
Although I generally tend to play pretty tight in the early levels, things started off with a bang in this event. With $5k starting stacks, I called a $200 raise with 7♣ 8♣ and went five-way to a 5♣ 6♥ 9♠ flop ... GIN!
I got it all-in after the T♦ fell on the turn, and dodged 10 outs against my opponent's 6♣ 6♠.
Then I made a critical mistake. Just an orbit later, I three-bet Matt Stout: