I don't remember what kickstarted the conversation, but Amy and I have been talking Vegas a lot lately. Having been to every WSOP since 2004, obviously I hope to return in 2008. If things work out, I may get a free room via Rounder. If nothing else there's Ted and Binion's, which is always a good money saver. Now that Amy works for the University of Alabama, she will get off on both July 4th and her birthday, which is July 8. This works out fantastically for us since the 4th is on a Friday. If we can just get her off on Monday, July 7 she can come to Vegas for several days. She's always wanted to see the Big Ditch, so hopefully this year we will have time to go.
I'm really jazzed for Vegas this year, more so than last. I can't really explain it. Maybe it's because I've been running hot at the poker tables. Maybe it's because I get claustrophobic spending way too much time in my own house. Maybe it's due to Amy's improved work schedule that will allow us more time to tour. And maybe it's thanks to the unbelievable tournament selection taking place this summer in Vegas. Probably it's a little bit of all of these things.
Regarding tournaments, in addition to the WSOP, you have the return of the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza and the Binion's Poker Classic. You've also got the new Grand Poker Series at the Golden Nugget in the casino's new entertainment center. I imagine the Orleans Open and Bellagio Cup will return, but I haven't heard much about them. (For a low roller like me, the Cup is a little pricy...and the competition usually tougher, and the Orleans tournament usually doesn't start until the WSOP is about to wrap up, making them harder to play when you are trying to cover the WSOP as a writer.)
I would rather cover the main event as a player this year. For the four of you who read my blog, you will certainly recall my run in the 2006 main event (much too short, much too short). Last year, my bankroll was paltry and I didn't even try that hard to win my seat. Heck, I didn't play a single WSOP event for the first time ever. Online I played a handful of satellites on Poker Share, but had no success. I made one final where they gave away one seat, but I didn't come close to the win.
This year, however, I'm trying hard for a main event seat. I've been playing on Full Tilt a lot and should earn enough points this week to play in their freeroll on Sunday in which three seats are awarded. In addition, I'm trying to play all the blogger tournaments I can in the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments Third Edition. The first four this week I didn't finish high enough to earn any points, but I won the Pot Limit Omaha tournament last night, which earns me valuable points toward the March leaderboard (first gets a $2,000 WSOP prize package...probably just $2,000 cash since they can't buy you in anymore) and gets me a seat in the all important Tournament of Champions in June where 50-60 starters will battle for two main event seats and two more of the $2,000 prize packs.
The win last night reminded me a lot of my first big tournament casino win at Binion's in 2005. It wasn't huge (about $3,300 as I recall) but it was important to me since it turned a losing trip into a winning one right before I was to go home. Last night and that night were similar in that heading into the money I was a relative short stack and then when we got down to 6-7-8 players I just caught an amazing run of hands. In both cases I was busting out a player nearly every hand, just rat-a-tat-tat. This proves nothing of my skill, but man after doing so poorly in tournaments lately I'm due to be a luckbox sometime. Last night was the night.