Finally...I have found some time to chronicle my improbable journey to the 2006 World Series of Poker. If you haven't had the opportunity to read about the 2005 WSOP, I suggest that you read those posts before reading this one. So....here it goes.
After my 24th place finish in a preliminary event in 2005, I was eager to get another chance to prove myself in 2006. The online poker scene was in full force as this was still pre-UIGEA so the satellite scene was pretty juicy on STARS and TILT. Beginning in March of 2006, I went on one of the most frustrating runs of my life as I had heartbreak after heartbreak in various levels of WSOP satellites. I won't bore you with the details but it really felt like the stars were just aligned for me NOT to be playing in the Main Event in 2006. I was having relative success in regular MTT's but could simply not get it done in the numerous satellites I played. I must have played a minimum of five $200 race-for-the-bracelet satellites on Full Tilt with no success. I also played the $650 STARS Sunday satellite twice with nothing to show for it. July and August were fast approaching and I was on the outside looking in.
On 7/9/06, I had satellited into the Full Tilt $200K guar. (the predecessor of the now $750K). I was lucky enough to have my biggest finish ever in a Sunday major as I came in 7th place for $6,700 (I think 7th place now in that tournament pays something like $18,000 :(:( ) This gave a boost to my bankroll and allowed me to play a few more satellites which again resulted in zilch! At the time, I was in a 9-month leadership course in San Diego that called for me to be in San Diego for three nights every month for nine months. On 7/24, just 3 days before the WSOP main event was to start, I found myself alone in a hotel room on a Monday evening with no plans of attending the Main Event. Full Tilt was running their LAST WSOP satellite of the year (a $1K buy-in which gave away 8 packages). I called my wife, Carrie, and talked to her about playing in it for one last shot. I was really down on my game at that point after a frusatrating 4 months of satellites but she gave me an incredible pep talk and convinced me to buy directly into the $1k satellite and give it a shot. How many guys' wives would take the time to convince their husband to spend $1,000? Needless to say, I run good in life with her as my wife. (that rhymes!)
Well....as you probably guessed, as I sat alone in a distant hotel with nothing but a 15" Dell laptop, I navigated myself through a pro-laden field to win a $12,000 WSOP package that Monday night. I have never been so excited to make that phone call to Carrie. I calmly told her that I had won a seat and she just about jumped through the roof. Considering that it was only days away, I immediately began making flight and hotel arrangements for the upcoming weekend. I chose to play in Day 1C which was on Saturday which allowed me to take the least amount of time off of work. I can tell you that I didn't hear a thing my instructor said for the next two days in my class.
It had finally happened....I was going to the big dance! Not unlike Michael McDermott in Rounders, this little grinder was going to go take on the best in the world. I was too excited to think about gameplans, strategy, or anything else. I was going to the promised land and nothing was getting in my way.
Stay tuned for Part 2 as I describe the feelings associated with Day 1 of the Main Event, why I think there will never be another WSOP like 2006, and how a police officer from Southern California took the poker world by storm and put his name at the top of the World Series of Poker Main Event leaderboard.
Thanks for reading,
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