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Online poker rooms are hosting many satellites to the WSOP. Generally, the typical entry to satellite tournaments is between $100 and $1,000, which is above many people's bankrolls. Therefore, the poker rooms often hold satellites to these satellites. For example, if the buy-in of a WSOP satellite is $100+$10, the poker room might hold a satellite to this tournament where the buy-in is $11+$1. One out of every ten people who enters the satellite would get an entry into the $100+$10 WSOP satellite.
There are three major types of satellites that qualify people for the World Series of Poker: standard satellites, money-added satellites, and freerolls. First, there are standard satellite tournaments: for these satellites, the players' buy-ins are used to buy a certain amount of WSOP seats, and the poker room also charges all players an entry fee to enter the satellites. An example of this would be a single-table satellite that costs $1,000+$100. If ten people entered this tournament, $10,000 would be available for the seat, but the house would take an extra $1,000. So essentially, you and nine other people would have paid $11,000 total for a $10,000 seat.
Examples of these tournaments online include:
- $150+$10 double shootouts at PokerStars
- $200+$15 WSOP satellite tournaments at Party Poker
Many people qualify for the World Series of Poker through these types of satellites. In fact, standard satellites are probably the most popular type of satellite entered.
However, realize that there are better values out there. When you enter a standard satellite tournament, you not only fork over money towards the WSOP seat, but you also pay money to the poker room. There will be some satellite tournaments where the poker room does not charge a fee, and sometimes the poker room even contributes money towards the WSOP seats! Every poker room wants the winner of the WSOP to qualify through them, because then that poker room would receive a lot of publicity. Because of this, there are often some values to be found out there for WSOP satellites.
The second type of satellites would be the ones that are partially discounted satellite tournamentes. For these seats, the house will either not charge an entry fee (they just charge the buy-in), or they may even pay for part of the seat to the WSOP. There will be quite a few of these online, so check around for them!
Most often, these types of tournaments will occur online if the poker room guarantees a certain number of seats. Sometimes, not enough people will pay the buy-in for the tournament, so the poker room will have to put up more money to match the guarantee.
For example, suppose the buy-in is $100+$1 and the poker room guarantees 5 seats, with each package worth $11,000 (online poker rooms generally give you spending money and a hotel room along with the seat). The tournament will need 550 people to enter the tournament, or else the poker room will have to add money to the prize pool. If only 480 people entered the tourney, it means that the poker room would be contributing $7,000 of its own money towards the WSOP seats.
An example would be the tournament I qualified through at Caribbean Sun Poker in 2005. The buy-in was $150+$10, and they awarded a $12,000 package for every 80 players. For this tournament, they guaranteed six packages. Since only 419 people entered, Caribbean Sun's network ended up ponying up $9,150 to the prize pool (otherwise, there would only be enough money for 5 packages). This ended up being of critical importance to me because I placed sixth in that tournament.
The third type of satellite is the freeroll. These are obviously the best satellites to enter because they are free and because you might even win a seat to the WSOP! However, this sort of tournaments most often comes with a catch. Usually you will need to qualify through some sort of promotion to get a seat at a freeroll for the WSOP. Also, the odds of winning one of these freerolls is fairly low because generally one seat is given for every 300 or so entrants. Examples of this sort of freeroll include the FPP freerolls at PokerStars and Party Poker's WSOP Freeroll Satellites.
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