It’s time for the annual WSOP in Las Vegas – a poker player’s opportunity for fame and fortune. I’ve loved the WSOP since the first year I attended in 1984. I played in three events that year, made two final tables, and it literally changed my life. I knew right then that I would never miss another WSOP, and to this day, I haven’t.
I can’t imagine anyone has enjoyed the WSOP over the years more than me. That is with the possible exception of Phil Hellmuth – or any of the main event winners, or any of the $50k Players Championship winners, or the ONE DROP winners, or the ……………. winners.
I’ve been asked by reporters, “If you could wish one thing for poker players, what would it be?” My answer: “I wish that every poker player in the world could just once in their lifetime experience the pure joy, self-satisfaction, and sense of accomplishment of winning a WSOP bracelet or a WPT title.” And speaking of the World Poker Tour, please recognize that I nor anyone else at the WPT considers the WSOP to be a competitor. We consider them a partner in helping grow the game of poker.
I’ve been fortunate to have cashed for $1m or more at the WSOP on two occasions – in the 2006 WSOP TOC (which was a freeroll that I won) and in the 2012 ONE DROP event (but it was $1m to enter that event). But I can honestly say that winning my first bracelet in ’89 (Seven Card Stud 8 or Better) for much less money was the greatest pure joy that I’ve ever experienced in poker. That was primarily because it was my ‘world championship’ as that was the game I played every day for a living back then.
I will probably surpass the joy of that win if I’m fortunate enough to win another bracelet at the WSOP in the next few years. That’s because I now have a seven-year-old son who is always saying, “Dad, I want you to win a bracelet at the WSOP.” I say, “Son, I promise you I’ll try, but they’re not easy to win.” But if I ever win another one, he will get it because he’ll have provided me the inspiration and motivation to win. I would be so happy to win one for him.
This summer will be special for me as my book, Life’s A Gamble, comes out. The official launch date (when it will be available at Amazon.com and bookstores) is July 7th but it will be for sale at the WSOP in June. There will be a launch party, hosted by partypoker, on July 2nd during the WPT500 at Aria.
Speaking of the WPT500 at Aria, it is a unique, affordable, fun event with a $500+$65 buy-in with a $1m guarantee that takes place from June 27 – July 6. There are multiple Day 1’s. Get through Day 1 and you’re ‘in the money’. You’ll come back for Day 2 on July 5th with the final table on July 6th. Hope to see you there!
And to all those attending the WSOP, let me say this: If you don’t win a bracelet or don’t even cash, don’t feel bad because you lost and did your money. Feel good about yourself for having given yourself a chance to reach out and grab the brass ring, for giving yourself a chance to make your dreams come true. Never give up on your dreams. One thing is for sure – a number of people have dreams come true at the WSOP. Maybe it’ll be you this year.
Good luck this summer!