The World Series of Poker $10,000 buy-in championship main event will be held from July 6th through July 17th at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Probably the most popular place online to win a ticket into the most prestigious poker tournament in the world is on PokerStars.
Ever since a mild-mannered accountant from Tennessee by the name of Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP, players have been flocking to various online poker rooms looking to take a shot at the big time. Moneymaker had never played a live tournament before he set foot into Binion's Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas for the first time in 2003. He qualified online at PokerStars with an initial $33 investment. Moneymaker won a series of online qualifiers and satellites before he secured a package that included a $10,000 seat in the 2003 Main Event. Greg Raymer also won his seat through PokerStars in 2004. "Fossilman" was not a complete unknown like Moneymaker.
He was a regular at Foxwoods casino in Connecticut and was a frequent poster to the 2+2 forums. He won a double-shootout to secure his ticket and the rest was history as he wore his now infamous hologram sunglasses and survived a verbal spat with Mike "the Mouth" Matusow. Fossilman's run was just as inspirational and infectious as Moneymaker's victory. Here we have two middle-aged guys who look like your next door neighbor, winning the Super Bowl of poker tournaments. And how did they both qualify? Through PokerStars.
PokerStars officially launched their WSOP satellites where you can win a package worth $12,000. That prize may or may not include spending money or a free hotel, depending on whether or not you exclusively wear PokerStars gear during the tournament. PokerStars also added final table incentives to any player who qualifies through their online satellites. First place will take home a $1 million bonus from PokerStars. Second or third place will net you a $250,000 bonus, and if you make the final TV table you are guaranteed to win at least $100,000. Of course that's in addition to the WSOP prize money.
You can win your seat using frequent player points (FPPs) or going the cash route. There are three ways to win a cash qualifier to the WSOP: Cash Direct Path, Cash Satellite Path, and Cash Shootout Path.
There are two ways to win daily entries. The direct path starts as low as $2 where you can win your way into a $30 + $3 rebuy satellite that pays out $12,000 prize packages. The double-shootouts start as low as $5 where you can win your way into a $150 shootout. The winners of that event pick up a seat into the main event.
There's a weekly $615 + $35 satellite that gives away prize packages depending on the amount of money in the prize pool. There are daily qualifiers to the weekly $615 tournament which range from $3 rebuy events to $73 + $7 super-satellites. You also have the opportunity to qualify to the WSOP for free using your FPPs. There are two weekly options to win your seat by going the 1,000 FPP path or the 4,000 FPP path. The best part is that you don't need a ton of points to win a free seat. There are daily tournaments set up that cost as little as 40 FPP, 100 FPP and 400 FPP where you can qualify for the weekly satellites.
Spring is here, but so is WSOP fever. Satellites are running around the clock at PokerStars. Last year PokerStars qualifiers represented almost 20% of the total field. I wonder how many players they are going to send this year, even with the UIGEA money wrench thrown into the mix?
Regardless, I know that I'll be spending a large amount of time chasing the ubiquitous dream that every online poker player has... winning a seat to the World Series of Poker.
Sr. Pauly covers the World Series of Poker every year on his poker blog