WSOP, on the cheap

Apr 20, 2004 4:00 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 35th year at Binion’s Horseshoe.

Even though the 2004 World Series of Poker doesn’t start until April 22, the road to the WSOP’s No Limit Hold ”˜Em Championship Event began in earnest last month.

In dozens of poker rooms and casinos from Canada to California, players can compete in Binion’s huge network of satellites that will eventually send hundreds of players to the event.

By the time the World Series championship event gets under way on May 22, more than 100 satellites will be participating in the network.

Moreover, over the next few weeks, players can try to win a seat in satellites offered at the Horseshoe. For just a $125 buy-in, players can vie for a seat in the $10,000 buy-in championship event in the Horseshoe’s Double Shootouts, now through Wednesday.

After that, players can try to turn a $50 buy-in into a $225 seat in a Super Satellite (April 22 through May 20), which will award a $10,000 seat in the championship event.

Super Satellites, a multi-table format with rebuys, are offered nightly with winners gaining entry into the big event. Typical fields of over a hundred players produce up to five seats in the main event.

Single Table satellites send participants to the next day’s tournament with minimal investment and are responsible for more than a third of all entries. Single table satellites will be held April 21 through May 19.

Last year, 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 poker promotion.

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," a WSOP official 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 Foxwoods 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.

In addition to the $10,000 No Limit Hold ”˜Em Championship Event, players will compete for coveted gold bracelets 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.