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In September 2009, I decided to create a series of goals. Creating goals was not a new experience for me because I was creating them all of the time in my business, but these types of goals were different – they were about life.

One of the goals etched in black ink was to play in a WSOP side event. The curtain had fallen on the WSOP experience in the desert of Nevada but there was the WSOPE event-taking place in London in a matter of weeks. Achieving goals takes action and so I entered a satellite to qualify for the £1,000 NLHE event.

I managed to walk through the minefield without getting blown to pieces and ended up heads up for the one solitary seat. Then just as I was certain I would qualify I lost my Internet connection.

Try as I might I could not reconnect and my dreams of qualification were going through the window closely followed by my wireless router, when it finally sparked back to life. I had five big blinds left but somehow I managed to turn that huge chip deficit around and I won my seat at the first time of asking.

When I arrived at the Empire Casino in Leicester Square a fortnight later I was a bag of nerves. I was hot and cold, in waves, and it was made even worse when I saw that my table was one of the featured stage tables. I had traveled on my own so I took my seat early and started to fill in the form that was in front of me.

As I was busy writing a shadow came down over my form as a man sat down next to me. I briefly glanced sideways to see whom I would be spending the next few hours next to, when I saw that unmistakable hat and unmistakable face. It was Chris “Jesus” Ferguson. I said hello and immediately sent text messages to everybody I knew about my meeting.

My table had been christened the Table of Doom

As the table started to fill up, the reigning WSOPE Main Event champion John Juanda, sat down next to Ferguson and I returned to my phone for another round of text messaging. It didn’t stop there either.

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A stunningly beautiful girl sat down next to Juanda and struck up a conversation with both him and Ferguson. I didn’t know who she was but I knew she was gorgeous and obviously famous. My mate sent me a text to tell me that it was Liv Boeree and the person to her left was a WSOP bracelet winner called Davidi Kitai. My table had been christened the Table of Doom.

I never made it passed the sixth hour of that day, but I did manage to win my blind battles against Chris Ferguson, move all-in on a river bluff versus John Juanda, eliminate Davidi Kitai and stare at Liv Boeree all day.

Qualification for events as big as the WSOP can turn into magical moments for so many reasons. For some people their magic comes from somehow binking the big score, for other it comes in the form of a simple cash. I did neither but for me just sharing the table with those great players was enough to make my WSOP experience one of magic.

On Saturday, I am following the exodus of the worlds poker playing masses as they head to the lights of Las Vegas like flies attracted to those blue things you find in chip shops. I will once again be trying to find myself in a seat, sat next to some of the world’s greatest players in one of the greatest events on earth.

Satellite qualification allows mere mortals like you and I to achieve this dream for very little cost. So if you want to find yourself double barrel bluffing Daniel Negreanu and staring at the bevy of poker hotties like Kara Scott then get online now and book your seat while you still have time.


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