I’m always intrigued by the ways that sites find to get people in the WSOP. It’s probably the only live tournament where online poker sites want players to win seats as badly as the players want to win those seats. That year-round exposure on ESPN is worth millions to the sites, so obviously the more horses they have, the better.
One of the interesting things to come out of the whole thing is that there are always a multitude of options for winning your WSOP seat. I’ve come across a few interesting ones lately, but I’m sure this only really scratches the surface of available options.
The top 30% of players in each tournament will receive points according to finish which at the end of the qualifying tournaments will ultimately determine who will move on to the Final Event. At the end of the 18 qualifying tournaments, the top 18 points earners on the Tournament Leader Board will receive an invitation to participate in the Final Tournament on June 10th, 2008.
I believe that the winner of that June 10th tournament will win a WSOP seat. That’s huge. It’s a lot of added money for a site to put up when a good player, should, in theory, have a positive expectation just for playing the tournament series anyway.
Second, PocketFives is in the process of running a Bodog WSOP seat freeroll that will be decided on May 17th via some sort of SNG. Like any of these seat giveaways, there are a series of elimination tournaments that will eventually give away a WSOP seat (or sometimes a few) at the end.
Third, PocketFives is also running a “private” WSOP freeroll on UltimateBet. Of course, the term private is relative because so many people read P5s, but still, it isn’t open to anyone who is just browsing through UB. Keep in mind that this is a normal $20 MTT, but with a WSOP package overlay! I really think anyone with any interest in playing the WSOP should be playing these special events. It’s a terrific way to get into the WSOP for a relatively small investment (mind you that I hate it when people say that about taking a $2 super sat path through the normal channels, but in this case it really is “cheap” because of the overlay). Whatever you think about UB with the whole NioNio thing going on, they ARE giving away a seat and it’s a cheap tournament to enter, so it’s still worth playing even if that’s the only thing you play on the site all year. Of course if you feel strongly enough about UB/AP to never play there again, that’s fine, but I’m just saying that there’s a lot of value in events like this.
Lastly, BLUFF has been running a league for a few months now on Carbon Poker with a bunch of WSOP seats (one in the Main Event, a couple in smaller events). All added for free! Even considering the rake you pay over the course of the league or whatever event you’re playing, you’re still getting a huge overlay when you consider the added expectation offered by the seat.
Anyway, I’m sure I only covered like 3% of the available way to get seats for cheap. And when I say cheap, I don’t mean PokerStars FPP seats. A 10,000 FPP tournament is like a $160 tournament (10,000 FPPs ~= $160) and the seats are paid out roughly on that basis. The seats are not “free” nor are they “added” in any manner. While PokerStars does run truly free seats as well, the vast majority of their “free” seats are raked and paid for in full by the players. So keep your eye out for cheaper methods and good luck to everyone getting in the WSOP Main Event this year!