I’m in Las Vegas this weekend, ready to watch Dennis Phillips at the Final Table of the World Series Of Poker Main Event. That begins tomorrow morning with the November Nine, who will play all day until seven champion. You’ll be able to see some of this in a two-hour special Tuesday night on ESPN.

Yesterday, Dennis played in an event designed for him called The Chip Leader Challenge. He and 17 pros — including poker stars like Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, David Benyamine, Roy Winston, Havad Khan, and Todd Brunson — each put up $10,000 to play a two-table freezeout at the Hard Rock. There were some St. Louisans in the tournament as well, including Josh Schindler (Dennis’ attorney) and Nelly. Though Dennis didn’t win it because of a bad beat against Mizrachi, he did play very well against an extremely tough lineup. It should be a big boost for him going into the Final Table on Sunday.

Dennis has an impressive team of people helping him coordinate the massive group of people who are here to support him. Several of his longtime friends are working their butts off to make sure we’re all outfitted with shirts like his, with all his sponsor logos, plus the obligatory Cardinals cap, organizing the hotel rooms, parties and dinners, while Dennis moves from venue to venue, occasionally stopping for another interview, and never losing his everyman quality.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow, it’s been fun to be part of this year with him.