I'm feeling alot of pain in this whole thread. Quads, Ripptyde and AG( I read your link AG), those are all 3 incredible stories of bad luck in a combination of both live and on-line play. There is 1 common thing in all 3 stories: the fact that each of those tournaments, lost in poor luck circumstances, was going to award only 1 seat.
Although just about every event in poker is heavily tilted toward 1st place, there are usually other options, like deals, that can be considered and kind of offset the luck factor in a regular tourney when its down to last 3 players. Not to mention that usually, although there is a heavy difference between 1st, 2nd and 3rd, still coming making the top 3 is very rewarding in $, where instead tourneys that only offer 1 seat to an event usually have miserable 2nd and 3rd place prizes. Just look at the last SM for an example of this. 3rd place made 111k, which although is 200k less than 1st place, its still a nice chunk of change.
These tournies that only offer 1 seat like the ones you guys were in, represent a nice opportunity at a not expensive price, but can be, intuitively, a real heart-breaker. Having to necessarily win it increases the luck factor because it will force you to play in a different way at times, or makes your opponent do stupid stuff that at times gets rewarded like happened in Ripptyde's case. Because of the format people tend to play draws in that fashion more often than normally, just hoping to get lucky, again because its either 1st or nothing with no huge prize increase finishing 11th or 2nd, so they are more inclined to take the big risk and not fold, hurting you in the process if they get lucky. In any other tourney he probably folds to your check/raise on the flop even with nut flush draw, since he has a nice stack and can certainly make it deeper, rather than putting it all on the line on a draw, although some people would do it anyway, but you get the idea I'm sure.
I hope all 3 of you have better luck the next time.