By Simon Young

I’m one of life’s worriers who sits on a plane and wonders how on earth it stays in the air. How is it that a lump of metal, held together by a bit of welding and bolts, can hurtle along at 500mph and land thousands of miles away in exactly the right spot at precisely the right time?

There was plenty of time to ponder this as our ten-hour flight to Las Vegas took us over the tip of Greenland and down through the frozen, beautiful wastelands of northern Canada – not the sort of place where you’d like to crash land since if the cold didn’t get you, the polar bears probably would.

Thankfully we stayed in the sky and the white of the wilderness gave way to the green of Canada and America’s fertile Mid West before the landscape turned dusty brown and mountainous. Out of the harshest of environments, the Nevada desert has spawned the world’s fastest-growing city.

Las Vegas is a magnet for gamblers and dreamers all year, but July is special: Welcome to the World Series of Poker.

The event – made up of dozens of tournaments – has been running for weeks already, but the biggie, the Main Event, or World Championship, begins tomorrow (Thursday), attracting a field of perhaps 7,000 players. Each will buy in for $10,000, but many will have qualified in online satellites for much less.

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Lions, yes, but no polar bears: The MGM Grand

PartyPoker has brought a team of our players who are now dreaming of taking down the biggest game on earth and a first prize of around $8 million. They’re staying in luxury on Las Vegas Boulevard – The Strip – in the imposing MGM Grand Hotel (complete with a lion enclosure in the middle of the casino), ensuring they experience the best this city has to offer as well taking a shot at a life-changing poker prize.

Our players come from all over Europe and as far away as Australia. Many have brought their friends and family, and while only some of them will make the prize money, all of them will have the trip of a lifetime.

This blog will be telling their stories as they travel through the highs and lows of playing in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Join us for the ride – it’ll be a lot safer than flying, but just as hair-raising.

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