1. No matter what, it seems like eventually in a LHE tournament after about level 4 if you ever lose 3 hands in a row you are basically out. Like no matter how hot you've run to that point, if you have been around for 5 hours in the WSOP limit hold 'em events and all of a sudden you lose 3 hands at showdown in a row, you're going to be crippled.
2. The Big Potato is a smart dude. I can't recall him being flat out wrong about anything, so I'm hesitant to declare him so on this point. He and I once had a discussion about tournaments where we sorta concluded the following from our limited observations. In NL tournaments as you look around later and later the players get more and more solid. In LHE tournaments as you look around later and later the field seems to get polarized. Super aggressive players who have run well are alive, and super conservative tight players are hanging on. The "solid" guys (the equivalent of like TAG or maybe LAGTAG winners online) seem to die out pretty quickly. It feels like this could happen because their games are built around having infinite (for all intents and purposes) bankrolls that seek out every ounce of value.
3. The limiting case argument is pretty strong here. I'm sure you're familiar with the idea, but for those who I have confused by making up a phrase and pretending it is common knowledge just now....I like to think of problems in terms of the limiting case. If you're not sure what will happen at a certain value N or as N increases or decreases, make N equal zero or infinity and see what happens there. Unless f(N) is complex (specifically with a complicated second derivative I think) this often gives you an idea if more N is a good or bad thing. Well in the case of this limit hold 'em tournament, there are two limiting cases:
A. You play infinite hands on a fixed bankroll.
B. You play zero hands on a fixed bankroll.
You can see what's going on here. In case (A) you can make a strong argument that you will go broke, since the stakes will be increasing rapidly, much faster than the expected rate at which you can accumulate chips. But that's not really that interesting and a little hard to wrap your head around. What's easy to see is that if you and your 8 opponents take 5 hours to play the first hand, you will finish in places 2 through 10 most of the time. Supposing there were 750 or so entries, like the FTOPS event we were discussing, even 10th place is obviously better than expectation for even the best player in the world (and especially for me lol). So if playing zero hands is better than playing the expected number of hands, we need a complicated derivative, and I don't really see how we're going to get one.
4. I like to argue with smart people and write interesting things and letting something like this go would be less fun than writing about it :)