I’m as ready as I can be, I guess…

I’m slightly under the weather. Not sure how it happened, but whatever. If necessary I’ll have DayQuil with a Vitamin C boost handy for day one which should be an easy day in terms of fatigue. Just four two hour levels with a dinner break to boot.

Not that you really need any extra motivation to win the big one, but I’ve made it a yearly tradition to watch the Rocky movies before the main event begins. So today, I burned through Rocky I all the way through Rocky IV. I’d planned on watching all six, but realized that I don’t own “Rocky Balboa” yet (Patty?)

Besides, Rocky V isn’t all that much of an inspirational story. Oh! I did notice a flaw in the films: In Rocky I Mickey comes to Rocky’s place and says, “I’m a 76 year old man…” and at the time Rocky is 30. Well, in Rocky III, after 10 successful title defenses they say that Rocky is now 34. Well, Mickey dies in Rocky III and on his casket it read: Mickey Goldmills 1905-1981. That would make him 76! Oops.

Today was all about resting up as much as possible and these sniffles do concern me a little bit. I’ve already bought in, and am sitting in the Amazon Orange section table 92 seat 6. My guess is that we have 1700 players in the room tomorrow. Most people like to buy in on the 3rd or 4th day normally and I don’t see why this year would be any different.

What am I expecting? More of the same. Weak, scared play for the most part. An idea situation for aggressive players. I’m not nearly as aggressive as most of the pros on tour, but in this event, if table conditions warrant it, I’ll often kick it up a notch, simply because I think I can play more hands for profit against a weaker field.

Nothing crazy overboard, but maybe opening 35% when first in rather than 27% which is more in line with the no limit system I use in most tournaments. That number isn’t as high as it seems. Remember, that number only applies to when no one else has entered the pot yet and doesn’t reflect the number of hands I’ll actually play. That number will be smaller than 35%.

One thing that might be interesting is the first two levels of play since it’s the deepest the main event has ever been with 300 big blinds to start off. It’s always been 200, but this year the WSOP offered triple chips with the same structure from last year.

That can only reward the better players and it certainly is something that benefits my style, a style designed to see a lot of flops without risking large percentages of my chips.

For example, calling a standard raise last year, of say, 300 represented 1.5% of my starting stack, but this year, calling that same raise with 6h 4h will only cost me 1% of my stack. It might not seem like a big deal- but it adds up.

This is a random guess, but I expect to end the day with 68,400 in chips. If I ended with 30,000, while disappointing, wouldn’t be much of a concern coming back for day two to play with 200-400 blinds and a 50 ante.

One thing you CAN”T complain about in regards to the main event is the amount of play you get. If you can handle adversity well, stay focused, show some heart, and bounce back from tough hands, the structure gives you enough time to make a comeback.

I’ve been doing a lot of visualization lately, not on purpose, it just sort of happens. I see myself at the table, more calm than I have been especially down the stretch at the WSOP. More focused than I’ve been in a long time, and playing tenaciously. Slightly less engaging with the rail birds, and much more focused on what’s happening at the table.

I can’t help but get the Rocky references out of my head in connection with the main event, but there really is so much to learn from those movies about what it takes to be the best you can be. Certain rules that apply not only to boxing or poker, but to life in general. Get too comfortable- you get sloppy. The guy who works the hardest- gets the reward. Whoever is the most hungry- will eat.

There is no magic pill to staying hungry. If you start at the bottom and work your way to the top, to get there, you have to be hungry the whole time. When you get there, staying hungry, and pushing yourself, is a more difficult task than the grind on the way up.

I see it happen to everyone- not just me. It’s natural. Human nature. Some crack under pressure, some need added pressure to perform at their best. I like pressure. No, I love pressure and I crave it.

This will be my 12th attempt at winning the big one. Wow, time flies… I came close in 2001, chip leader with 12 left only to finish 11th. I played AK against 66 in a spot where today, pfft, I would never have made that mistake. I went broke with 9-6 against 7-7 before the flop… again, a mistake I’d never make today.

A couple years ago, with 1000 players left I was 5th in chips. I cashed, like 229th, but it was a missed opportunity. I was jamming it down everyone’s throats up until that third day and came in with the same psyche.

By the team I realized I needed to make an adjustment… it was too late. I’d lost my powerful big stack and was forced to play catch up on a short stack. A mistake I wouldn’t make today…

Last year, pfft, last year I was stoked when I got all my chips in the middle. I flopped bottom set and against the opponent I was facing, assumed he got all of his money in drawing slim with an over pair. Nope. He had top set, but to this day I have no regrets about that one.

This year I think it’s gonna be tough to knock me out. At least not till the late stages where the caliber of play improves dramatically. Last year’s final table, while not full of household names, may have been the strongest ever from 1-9.

I expect the final table to be even tougher this year. Poker isn’t getting any easier, and to succeed and stay afloat with the young guns you need to find that inner “Eye of the Tiger.”

Ok, so that last line is uber cheesy, but what can I say, I love me some Rocky! Yoooo Adriane!!!

12:30am, time for bed. Good night all, and good luck if you are playing tomorrow.