So, the main event of the World Series of Poker is on. Day 1a was yesterday. Yes, Day 1a. There are 4 day 1’s. Yes, 4. Why? Well, because there’s something like over 8600 entries this year. Just 3 years ago, there were 839 entries in the 2003 WSOP Main Event–the $10,000 buy-in No Limit Texas Holdem tourneyment you’ve probably seen on TV. In 2004, that number more than tripled, thanks mostly to ESPN’s coverage of the previous year’s tourney, to 2,576. Last year, 5,619 folks dropped the 10-large to get into the action. This year’s top prize will be over $11 million.

Throughout the day, I was reading the stories on the PokerStars Blog as well as keeping up with the live hand updates on Poker Wire. Unfortunately, everyone’s favorite poker geek, Wil Wheaton, was eliminated in this hand. It looks like it may have been a bad beat, but it’s hard to say, as the information does not list when the chips got into the pot.

At any rate, the volume of reading material on the event yesterday was huge. Last year, I just waited until ESPN televised the event to see what happened. This year, I can’t keep away from the computer to find out what’s going on as it happens. Who knows, mabye next year, I’ll play a few satellites and see if I can win myself a seat in the thing.

I didn’t spend yesterday just reading about poker, however… I was able to play some too. Last night, I hosted our weekly Shadyhouse Poker event. As for our core crew, it was only myself, Alan and Charlie. We were joined by one of my new coworkers as well as another coworker who played with us for the first time on Sunday. Later in the evening, coworker Jamis joined the action. I ended up finishing the night with about 250% of my original buy-in.

After everyone went home, I caught up with my reading on the Main Event, and found myself quite awake. I decided to give a one table Sit and Go tournament on PokerStars. As I the tournament started I felt focused and determined. I was ready to sit and play my best game. The table was pretty loose, which is really no surprise for a small buy-in SnG tourney. I waited for cards and played them aggressively. I was up only a little bit above my original stack for quite a while. By the time we went down to 5 players, however, I was on the short stack. Things got better for me though, as I made it head-up, with about an even stack to my opponent. 18 hands later, the tourney was mine.

My play has been solidly improving over the last few months. To be sure, I still have quite a few leaks in my play, but I mostly know what they are. Knowing what you need to do and actually doing these things are not the same thing though.

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