BY RUSS SCOTT
RELEASE: MAY 31, 2011
Money Tight? Shoot for WSOP Fame and Fortune on the Cheap
Your first stop at this year’s World Series of Poker in Las Vegas probably should be the satellite section of the Rio Casino’s Pavilion Room.
Here’s why: That’s where you can turn a modest investment into a chance at poker fame and life-changing money. This year, in particular, you’ll have lots of company trying to do the same thing.
With online poker mostly sidelined by federal indictments April 15 against the three largest Internet sites, far fewer players will qualify for WSOP events on their computers.
Unless you have unlimited cash for expensive buy-ins, you should be part of the huge satellite crowd, too. (See wsop.com/2011 for details.)
Never tried a satellite, you say?
Well, the concept is easy: For a comparatively low fee, you play in a smallish tournament that awards seats into gold bracelet events with multi-million-dollar prize pools.
The most dramatic example is the no-limit hold’em mega-satellite daily at 4 p.m. now through July 4. The buy-in is $330 and, based on the number of entries, multiple players win a seat in the $10,200 buy-in Main Event on July 7.
Be one of those lucky finishers and you advance into poker’s most prestigious tournament for about 3.2 percent of the normal cost.
This particular mega-satellite is the one I recommend for most amateurs trying to achieve poker glory on a tight budget. Betting levels last 30 minutes, and one Main Event seat is awarded for every 31 players in the satellite.
So if there are, say, 155 players on the day you play, you just have to finish in the final five to win a $10,200 seat.
The cheapest satellite is the $75 turbo no-limit hold’em event at 9 a.m. daily, but I don’t recommend this one unless you’re a morning person, really short on time, or just looking for some fast-paced action at a low cost.
To me, 10-minute betting levels make this satellite less desirable. Yes, you get 3,000 chips to start, but you’ll need every one of them because the action heats up quickly. However, if you’re an aggressive player, this event might be a perfect fit.
Turbo winners receive a $500 tournament buy-in chip plus $50 cash. Win two of these special chips and you’ve got enough to enter one of several WSOP $1,000 gold bracelet events.
The other daily mega-satellite is at 8 p.m. It costs $550, has 30-minute levels, 4,000-chip starting stacks, and awards $10,200 seats just like the 4 p.m. event.
A key difference is that on certain days, the satellite game is something other than no-limit hold’em — stud or Omaha, for example — and the winners get a $10,200 seat into the championship event for that particular poker discipline.
So, what’s the trick to winning a satellite?
In a turbo, the answer is easy: Be ready to gamble early and often until you’ve built a chip stack big enough to carry you to the finish.
In a standard satellite with longer betting levels, you’ll have more time to wait for good spots to make your moves. Patience and smart aggression are keys.
In all mega-satellites, pay close attention to everyone’s chip levels toward the end. Remember, you don’t have to finish first to win. Alter your endgame strategy accordingly.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2011 RUSS SCOTT
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