WSOP Online Satellites

You’ll find it difficult to come across a poker player the wouldn’t like the opportunity to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event if they got the chance, but for most of us the $10,000 buy-in is a little on the steep side for our bankrolls. This is the case for many of the people that you see playing in the event on ESPN every year, but many of them are there after paying a lot less than $10,000. WSOP online satellites give players with the tiniest bankrolls that chance to play at The Big Dance.

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How do I qualify for the WSOP Online?

To qualify for the WSOP online, you need to win one or more smaller tournaments at the site which you’ve decided to qualify at. There are WSOP satellites which range from $1 to about $500 in buy-in and they’ll be running round the clock on most sites, particularly during the spring and early summer, as the WSOP approaches. Obviously if you want to try to qualify for $1 you’ll have a lot of work to do! Typically if you went this route, winning the $1 tournament might get you into a qualifier with a value of perhaps $35. If you happen to win a seat through this one, you might be entered into a tournament of about $100 in value, and finally if you make it through the $100 tourney, you’ll be entered into a $500 super satellite, which typically take place on Sunday evenings on most sites. Depending on the number of players in the super satellite, 2-3 people will be awarded a seat at the WSOP as well as money to cover their flights and accomodation in Las Vegas for the duration of the tournament.

The point at which you enter the satellite system of course depends on your bankroll. Higher stakes players might just enter the $500 satellite directly on a Sunday evening and hope to win a seat. Whereas lower stakes, or recreational players would typically start at one of the early levels and try to work their way up.

Another type of satellite is a direct entry rebuy satellite. These tournaments typically have a $100 buy-in with rebuys allowed for the first hour or two. Typically the rebuys put enough money in the prize pool to generate a seat or two, meaning that if you get lucky, you can win your seat for a single $100 investment.

Online WSOP Satellite Strategy

Satellite tournaments have a few key differences from typical freeze out tournaments. The main reason for this is the huge bubble factor. In a typical $500 tournament, the player who bubbles misses out on a prize of maybe $1,000. In a WSOP satellite, the same player will miss out on a prize worth more than $10,000 when expenses are factored in. This has a huge effect on peoples’ strategy at the end of the tournament and it should also have an affect on yours.

In the early stages, you should play just as you would in a regular freeze out. Tight aggressive is usually the way to go. As you approach the money, its all about surviving. Remember there’s no point in going for the chip lead, because if 5 seats are on offer, the players who finish from 1st to 5th all get the same prize. Every decision you make should take into account your opponents’ stack sizes as well as your own, and you should stay out of all situations you don’t need to be involved in. If you have a big chip lead, you have no business getting involved at all. Just fold every hand and let the short stacks go to war.

Imagine the following scenario in a WSOP satellite with 5 seats on offer and with blinds of 500/1000 with an ante of 100, and stack sizes:

Player 1 (SB): 10k
You (BB): 23k
Player 3: 7k
Player 4: 16k
Player 5: 10k
Player 6: 11k
Player 7: 11k

Player 6 goes all-in, player 7 calls and you have pocket Kings. In this spot, you should always fold. Whoever loses the hand is out and winning the hand gains you very little in equity. If you call and lose, you’re back scrapping for that last seat, in a much worse spot than you were before the hand. Understanding this type of situation is key to doing well in satellites and good solid MTT play combined with an understanding of how to play around the bubble will give you a good shot at winning your own seat at the WSOP.

It’s not as unlikely as you might think. 2003 World Champion, and the player credited with starting the poker boom, Chris Moneymaker won his seat at the WSOP for just $39.