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Jan 28, 2003 6:15 AM

Ever dreamed of entering the championship game at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), but don’t have the $10,000 buy-in?

Well, playing in a Super Satellite tournament could provide a ticket to poker’s grand event, now in its 34th year at Binion’s Horseshoe.

Even though the 2003 World Series of Poker doesn’t start until April 15, the road to the WSOP’s No Limit Hold ”˜Em Championship Event began in earnest last month.

So far, nearly 40 poker rooms and casinos from Canada to California have joined Binion’s huge network of satellites to stage tournaments and other promotions that will send hundreds of players to the event.

"By the time the World Series gets under way, we’ll have more than 100 satellites in the network," said George Fisher, Binion’s Director of Poker Operations.

Beginning this week, GamingToday will provide exclusive coverage of the Super Satellite network leading up to the World Series of Poker.

The coverage will include weekly updates of the numerous and varied promotions conducted by the Super Satellites, profiles of participating card rooms and casinos, and other information intrinsic to the Road to the World Series of Poker.

Fisher said of the hundreds of players sent to the WSOP by Super Satellites, many gained entry into the Championship Event by winning a tourney that required a minimal buy-in.

"Some card rooms even give entries away for free through some type of promotion," Fisher said.

Regardless of the type of tournament or promotion, the Super Satellite invariably benefits through its association with the World Series of Poker.

"It’s always an automatic and instant success for them," Fisher said. "Their card rooms are usually filled to capacity."

Those card rooms include major casinos such as Greektown in Detroit, Tropicana in Atlantic City and Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, as well as intimate little rooms such as the Gold Dust Casino in Deadwood, South Dakota, the Garlic City Club in Gilroy, California, and the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.

For a complete list of the Super Satellite casinos, see page 11.

The first World Series of Poker was held at Binion’s Horseshoe in 1970. Since then, the event has grown to become the premier poker tournament in the country.

Last year, the 2002 World Series of Poker drew a total of 7,595 entries and paid out a grand total of $19,599,230 in prize money.

In addition to the $10,000 No Limit Hold ”˜Em Championship Event, players competed in 34 other tournaments, including Seven Card Stud, Limit Hold ”˜Em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Pot Limit Omaha and Ace to Five Draw Lowball, to name a few.