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Former Tacoma resident in Russell Wilson jersey playing for World Series of Poker title on Saturday

NHL Charity Shootout - Final Table Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

I used to dream of playing in the World Series of Poker Main Event one day. At a cost of $10,000 — and not enough poker acumen to really compete at this point — it has become more of a bucket list item to waste money on some day. But with the field growing from seven entrants in the initial edition in 1970, to 839 entrants in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker won and changed everything, increasing the field to 2,576 entrants the next year, to 7,874 entrants this year, you’d have to be a little insane to think you’d ever make a dent in the tournament.

Tony Miles may not be insane, but he is a self-described fighter. And he’s got the jersey to prove it as he competes against two others — with a considerable chip lead — to win the Main Event on Saturday.

Miles was born in Ogden, Utah and currently lives in Jacksonville, Florida, but he spent a period of his life in Tacoma, Washington, which may have been where he began his adoration of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Before Friday’s action began, when Miles was one of the final six, he hinted to Poker News that he’d have something special on his back to give him good luck for the game. That “something” turned out to be a Wilson jersey.

“You’re gonna see [the jersey of] an athlete that I respect on and off the field,” Miles said. “I’m not sure which one it will be—and I am not going to reveal that at this time—but I’m really big on promoting athletes who are really good people off the field.”

True to his word, Miles arrived this afternoon at the Rio sporting the jersey of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

“He’s a Christian,” Miles explained. “Also, he’s always scrambling and fighting for his life. That’s me, dude.” Miles smiled and added, “Plus, he runs good.”

Miles ran really good on Friday, moving up from fourth place to finishing the day in the lead with three players remaining; Miles has 238.9 million in chips, ahead of John Cynn in second place, who has a stack of 128.7 million, and in third is Michael Dyer, who has 26.2 million. Miles’ worst case scenario is $3.75 million for third place, with second place getting $5 million, and first going home with $8.8 million. Even third place would be more than Wilson’s entire rookie deal, which was a four-year, $2.99 million agreement. Miles could win more than that for working less than two weeks in this tournament.

He will be giving portions of his winnings to the friends who raised enough money for him to compete, believing in his abilities to do well in the Main Event. That’s a lot of confidence for a lofty, unfathomable goal, but Miles may have some good people on his side — whether he has a 3 on his back again on Saturday with three players left remains to be seen.

You can watch Miles go for $8.8 million live on ESPN at 6 PM PST today.