World Series of Poker organizers placed a major emphasis over the last year on topping 2006’s record of 8,773 entries. The WSOP ramped up online qualifiers even more than in the past via WSOP.com and ClubGG in the U.S. and GGPoker internationally. Live qualifying was also beefed up with series officials launching numerous satellite events all around the world.

Nabeel Peters of Bloomfield, Connecticut, is one of those live qualifiers and may exemplify the WSOP’s efforts to bring even more players out for the tournament. The 39-year-old has been playing poker for several years after watching Chris Moneymaker’s amazing run in the 2003 Main Event. Peters snagged his seat in a satellite at the Foxwoods casino in his home state and is now seated in the Main Event for the first time.

After earning his seat, Peters’ father and friends are now cheering him on from the rail in the Horseshoe. Does the group have a home game? Not these guys.

“We’re not at his level,” one of his friends says laughing.

Normally a home game or smaller buy-in tournament player, Peters sat around 50,000 chips after the first break in the day. With Day 1D now breaking the all-time record, he could theoretically claim that he was the qualifier that put the event over the top. What does he like about poker?

“Just the reading and the mental aspects of it, analyzing decisions,” he says. “A deep run would be huge. I’m just taking it one day at a time.”

Coming into the event didn’t involve any special training or preparation, but did play more live and online however. He works in finance and if he can find a deep run, he’ll have even more money to manage.

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