I’m in Las Vegas to play in the largest poker tournament in the world, The Main Event of the World Series Of Poker, in a field that will likely be between 6,500 and 7,000 entrants. The buy-in is $10,000, but the majority of players don’t put up the full amount. They’ve won their way in via smaller tournaments or home leagues, or sold shares of their entry, or a combination of all three. I earned a seat by winning a $200 satellite tournament in St. Louis back in February, and no one has a piece of me.
Because my friend and Final Table Show partner Dennis Phillips got into the 2008 Main Event via the same route and finished third, winning $4.5 million (and then came back to finish 45th in 2009), several people have asked if I can make a similar deep run. I don’t lack confidence in my poker skills, but Dennis is a far superior tournament player because he’s had so much more experience in them, while I have spent most of my time playing cash games, which involve different strategies. I also prefer not to think about how my tournament might end before it has even begun. When you’re climbing up a ladder, you don’t start at the top, but with the first rung. For me, that means getting through the Day One minefield, past the dinner break, and through the rest of the night.
In the Main Event, we’ll start at noon with 30,000 chips and blinds at 50-100, increasing every 2 hours. We’ll play five levels today, so with breaks between levels and for dinner, the day will end around 12:45am, with those surviving returning for Day 2 on Tuesday.
I hope to be among them. You can follow my progress via Twitter, where I’ll post updates during breaks, but I have vowed to stay offline and off my phone while playing so I can concentrate on the action at the table.