Single page view By Jay Lovinger
Page 2

Editor's Note: This year's World Series of Poker main event marked the culmination of Jackpot Jay's year as a poker pro. The following is his diary from the main event.

I am limping into the main event, probably the last big tournament I will ever play in. (I promised my wife that if she let me have this yearlong adventure, I would play the good family man for the rest of eternity. Yes, I know, get the Doug Christie jersey ready.)

During my few short weeks in the Town That God Forgot, I lost my watch when the band broke, I lost a filling in my back upper-right tooth, I lost part of a toe while trying to trim my nails, I've lost the ability to walk past a restroom without having to stop and pee (I'm like a pregnant woman), I've lost every major tournament I played (that is, I've failed to cash in any of them), I've suffered a long string of unlikely beats in key spots, and, after being up at least several thousand dollars for most of the year, I will finish slightly in the red -- losing almost exactly $1,000 -- if I don't cash in the main event.

It's enough to discourage a man.

Wednesday night, I played in a $540 buy-in tournament (I wanted to get rid of my last $500 tournament chip without standing in the registration line begging last-minute sign-ups for the main event to buy the chip from me), and was eliminated in my usual fashion -- on a three-outer on the river (for the record, a king).

Up until then, I had played some of my best poker of the WSOP (or, at least, imagined I had). Despite two long cold streaks -- I didn't play a single hand until well into the second hour of the tournament -- I managed to hang in there, and was about to win a $4,800 pot, which would have given me a slightly better-than-average stack with less than a third of the field left.

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Oh well, no sense in crying over spilt kings.

Later that night, I spoke on the phone to one of my editors at ESPN, who asked me whether I was nervous with the main event finally on the horizon.

"No," I said confidently. Then I slept for an hour, woke up to visit the john and couldn't get back to sleep until eight hours later -- and then only with the help of a miserable but ultimately efficacious two-hour wrestle with a weight machine in the basement of my hotel.

At this rate, I'll be burnt out before the tournament even begins. Hey, pretty good built-in excuse!

A good day -- nothing bad happened!

Because the main event is pretty close to being sold out, almost all the tables were occupied with dreamers chasing a world championship. Therefore, no satellites or Second Chance tournaments or supers or mega-satellites were being spread. Therefore, it was hard to lose any money.

I ran into Dan Harrington in the hallway outside the poker area. He had an extra copy of his recently published book -- "Harrington on Hold 'em, Volume II: The Endgame" -- which he gave me. I spent what little was left of the day frantically reading it in preparation for my main event debut Saturday.



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