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Jason Alexander among leaders in Main Event Day 1a
Jason Alexander has been a fixture at the World Series of Poker for years and today he finished his Day 1 Main Event heat near the top of the chip leaderboard.
Sitting elbow to elbow with other entertainment-industry giants, Alexander is enjoying himself immensely so far.
"I spent the first part of the day next to Nelly, which was a thrill, and the rest with my good friend Brad Garret," Alexander told PokerListings.com as he bagged his chips for the night.
"The energy in the room was great."
Getting off to a rocky start he was ready to throw in the towel early in the afternoon. After the dinner break, however, all that changed.
Chipping up and getting a little lucky to suck out for a huge double-up, Alexander started accumulating the stack that would put him in the top group of players when play was suspended.
Despite his early success today Alexander has no illusions about his skill level compared to those that play the game for a living.
"I feel like I've got a big old target on my head," said Alexander. "And there are guys in the room who know exactly how to take advantage of that."
That said he's satisfied with how he's handling himself, and how his game has improved with his experience at the WSOP.
"I've made some gutsy calls and some gutsy plays, and I've laid down some hands that two years ago I wouldn't have been able to lay down," he confided.
People on the inside of the poker industry are pulling for him, and other celebrities like him, because of the potential effects a deep run could have.
Raising awareness and making poker more accessible are two things Alexander is committed to.
"It would be a great thing for people to see," said Alexander of a potential final table. "I'm a B-minus player. I am not an extraordinary player."
"If a guy like that can make some good moves it's going to get people very excited about the game," he continued.
In addition to his amateur status in the skill department, Alexander's modesty and sense of humor would make him an ideal ambassador for the game.
"If I get to the final table you're going to see a very humble little actor saying that I got a wave of good fortune."
Having celebrities like Jason Alexander at the WSOP is another reason people, whether winners or losers, come away from the event knowing they've got their money's worth.
"I've had more fun sitting and talking with people at the poker table than in any other situation or environment."
Alexander sums up his poker philosophy in one wonderfully concise sentence:
"It's a social game and if you're playing it within your means and you're playing it to have fun it's the best game in the world."