The Arrival

May 22, 2004, 6:30 am EST, NJ

"We'll, it's all over" least that's what MZ was thinking...the word in the paper and on the web, is that 2400 seats have already been sold, and only 200 alternate seats are left. No way those seats will be available 6 hours from now when the flight finally lands!


Poker has hit the big time...article in the WSJ and all... and MZ is going to miss it.....

May 21, 2004, 9:30 am PST, Las Vegas

BUT...When we arrive, it's pretty quiet!

You know those 2400 seats already sold? Turns out MZ's was one of them! Lucky Lucky Lucky! He wired the money to Binions earlier in the week ('cause you can't bring that kind of money on a plane!) and they accepted it as a 'remote signup' ! Oh, life is happy again!

Day 1 began promptly at 1:00. MZ plays tomorrow - another lucky break, given he just finished flying 6 hours in coach! They sold 2400 seats and 190 alternates...that's $25,900,000 prize pool. Top prize is $5,000,000!

Half the players start today, and half tomorrow.  There are 120 tables scattered all around the casino. EVERYONE is here.. this is Chris Moneymaker, last year's winner (P.S - he was out this year within 3 hours!). The big names in poker are all here (Doyle Brunson, Phil Helmuth, Phil Ivy, Annie Duke, Johny Chen, TJ Cloutier (two years ago, I played craps with him!!), Erik Seidel, etc) and some Hollywood stars (Tobbie Maguire is here! MZ's does not seem nearly as excited as i am about the chance to play poker with  Spiderman!)


ESPN is filming the event - cameras are everyhwere... One of the 120 tables is set up on a stage, almost studio like, and is the 'television featured table'. This is the one that will be highlighted on the ESPN broadcast. Who knows.. before the tourny is out, maybe MZ will have a seat at that table!


So as Day 1 winds down,  over 500 of 1200 players this day have already busted out... MZ is at the Golden Nugget's poker room,  preparing for his first day...The rest of Las Vegas is out and about...the Fremont Street Experience is about to start...Las Vegas is sooo cool!