And begins--2005 World Series of Poker set to kick off

It's good, I suppose, that the Washington Post's Deep Throat decided to come forward this week after decades of hiding in the shadows. Now, the nation's capital is so rightly excited, without some sense of balance, the country just might tip over into the Atlantic.

Fortunately for all of those land lubbers on the East Coast who don't have a taste for saltwater, the great American west has something going on as well.

Something, indeed.

Let's sit and talk for a second, kay? I think I mentioned here once before that a mere 512 people entered the World Series of Poker Main Event in the year 2000. Heck, in 2003 when PokerStars qualifier Chris Moneymaker took the championship, he only had to outlast 838 other people. Only? Yeah, right.

We all know where this is headed, so we might as well get there.

It's time.

Thursday begins the first official event of the World Series of Poker with a tournament for casino employees. Then, Friday begins the real action with Event #2, a $1500 No-Limit affair. I know people from all over American and abroad who are already on the ground and ready for Friday's event. PokerStars should be well-represented with 49 of its players having registered with their W$ for Event #2.

For the next six weeks, poker's heartbeat will pump and dump every bit of lifeblood into the Rio, all leading up to the main event.

A lot of people have been, how many people is PokerStars sending to the World Series of Poker? The answer is...

I dunno.

Sure, there are projections and guesses (and I'd venture to guess a prop bet or two), but there's no way to really say.

What I can say is this: As of this moment, 752 people have qualified through cash or FPP satellites. We still have several weeks of satellites left, not to mention freerolls for our Tournament Leader Board top dogs and freerolls for some of PokerStars newest players.

In short, the number is just going to be astounding.

And while I'm a bit biased, I'm one of the people hoping a PokerStars player pulls of a third straight victory.

As a poker player, I can't help but follow my nose toward the action. I'm pulling up stakes and taking the laptop to Vegas for a few days. While there, I'll keep an eye out for our players. You, too, keep an eye out for me and say hi.

As I'll be rather wrapped up in my own affairs, I can't guarantee frequent updates this weekend. However, if one of our players grabs a bracelet, you'll be sure to read about it here.

Take care, all, and good luck to our folks this weekend and for the next six weeks.