Buying into World Series of Poker (WSOP) is expensive, even if one skips the $10,000 Main Event and go for one of the cheaper side events. It is therefore not surprising that loads of people try to qualify for WSOP instead, online or offline.
Travel package or buy-in only?
Some contests will only award the winner with buy-in for a certain WSOP event, while others hand out travel packages that include not only buy-in but travel money, hotel accommodation, breakfasts and dinners, pocket money, party invitations, promotional material, and more. It is therefore always a good idea to read the fine print for a contest and make sure you know exactly what’s up for grabs. If you were to qualify for WSOP and win buy-in only, would you be willing and able to foot the bill for travel expenses, accommodation, etc? If not, it is best to stick to the contests that will provide the winner with a comprehensive travel package.
To make sure everyone has a chance of qualifying for WSOP regardless of the size of their bankroll, most online poker rooms that offer WSOP satellites employ a multi-tier system. You can either pay quite a lot of money to buy-in directly to the tournament where a WSOP package is guaranteed in the prize pot, or you can chose to start at one of the lower tiers where the buy-in is less expensive. From a lower tier, you can advance step by step to the higher tiers.
The bottom tier of these qualifying structures normally consists of freerolls and tournaments with a really low buy in (e.g. €1). Tournaments where you can use points from the poker sites’ loyalty program to buy in are also common.
Qualifying for WSOP online
This list contains examples of poker rooms online that normally offer satellites where you can qualify for WSOP. The largest abundance of satellites and other contests where you can qualify for WSOP is found in the months leading up to the next World Series of Poker. WSOP is traditionally played in early summer (starting in late May or early June).
Full Tilt Poker
William Hill Poker
Qualifying for WSOP offline
Although the internet is where you’ll find the vast majority of all opportunities to qualify to WSOP, it is actually possible to qualify to WSOP offline as well. Quite a few poker rooms and casinos around the world have contests where first prize is a WSOP package.
The most famous of the offline satellites are the ones held at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. WSOP has been played at The Rio since 2005, so it is only natural for this huge casino to offer plenty of satellites. The Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino is owned by Caesars Entertainment, who also owns the rights to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) brand.
At The Rio, satellites are found in the Pavillion Ballroom in the Rio Convention Center area. Satellites are available not only for the famous WSOP $10,000 Main Event but for side events as well. You win tournament chips good for use in any of the gold bracelet events. The schedule includes single-table satellites, mega-satellites and turbo-mega satellites.
Since WSOP is so large nowadays, with over 60 different tournaments, the satellites at The Rio will continue running long after WSOP Event #1 has kicked-off. It is not unusual for people who has been eliminated from one of the WSOP side events to seek out the satellites to see if they can find their way to another side event without spending a fortune. After all – they’re already in Vegas so why not give it another try!