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Online Qualifers to WSOP Main Event

Turn a Small Online Tournament Entry into Millions this Summer


Moneymaker after his victory in 2003In 2003, an online qualifier shocked the poker world and started a poker boom that redefined the game and brought the allure of card playing to millions of new people. The man was a 27-year-old accountant from Tennessee named Chris Moneymaker. The newcomer to the game topped a field of 839 players in the World Series of Poker main event to take home a mammoth $2.5 million.

Moneymaker went from sitting at home clicking a mouse, to busting poker great Phil Ivey on the final table bubble and eventually competing against veteran Sam Farha for the prestigious title, as well as loads of cash. While the online-qualifying amateur winning was a turning point in poker history, it also was a life-altering moment for Moneymaker. You might not start your own poker boom, but you could be the next one to win an obscure online tournament en route to holding the bracelet and millions of dollars come November.

As we near this summer’s WSOP, it’s time to take a look at the numerous ways you can qualify for poker’s richest annual tournament. Card Player has partnered with a number of sites who are currently offering ways to win seats for dirt cheap.

Full Tilt Poker is one of the leaders in 2011 WSOP main event qualifiers, as the online site is offering an obscene variety of ways to satellite into poker’s biggest live event, with a range of buy-ins to suit all bankroll sizes. Those interested in competing at the pinnacle of the tournament year can register for $1 main event seat tournaments, step tournaments starting as low as $3, freeroll satellites, a massive 150 seat main event guarantee tournament, shootouts, and direct qualifiers.

If you qualify for your main event seat at Full Tilt Poker and go on to win, the company will give you $10 million on top of first-place prize money. In addition to the biggest bonus in poker, if you make the money in the main event, Full Tilt will give you a free seat at the 2012 main event.

Over at the CERUS Network, which is home to UB and Absolute Poker, players can qualify in weekly satellites ($500+$30) that have their own satellites starting as low as $11, step tournaments beginning at the $0.10 level, and two 25-seat guarantee events in June with a buy-in of $530. The sites are also offering a King of Satellites contest for extra tournament dollars, and will award a potential $1 million bonus for an online qualifier who makes the main event final table.

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Bodog is also giving its players a plethora of opportunities to make their way to the main event. The online site is running qualifiers starting as low as $1.10 for the $10,000 buy-in main event. The site’s prize package includes the buy-in, $2,000 for travel, access to a Bodog Poker party, and much more. Bodog is also offering up a second chance tournament and an once-in-a-lifetime Vegas experience prize package for those who try to qualify but fall short.

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PokerStars has yet to announce a schedule of qualifiers for the main event, but in the past the online site has offered a myriad of ways to make the trip to Las Vegas to compete in the “big one.” Look to be able to qualify for the event for as little as VIP Player Points (VIPs). In 2010, PokerStars-sponsored player Jonathan Duhamel took home $8.9 million for his victory.