Shootouts were added to the WSOP schedule just a couple of years ago, due to the increasing popularity of sit-and-go (single table) tournaments.
Although my specialty is multi-table tournaments, I spent a good chunk of my career grinding sit-and-go tournaments.
The structure depends on the number of entrants, but in this case we started with 1,000 players at 100 tables. Each played down to a single winner, and then these players redrew to square off in round 2.
Everyone who made round 2 finished in the money, and the next pay jump was for winning your round 2 table. Win that one and you're at the final table, playing for a bracelet.
I arrived at my table and found exactly what I usually hope to find every time I arrive at a starting table ... not one familiar face. A few players were gambling early and playing a ton of pots, which was a good sign because that is usually a terrible Matt Stout: