Playing in the Main Event of poker is a dream for almost every poker player. Whether you’re just a casual player of the game or someone who takes poker seriously, the idea of entering the biggest poker tournament of the year and having a chance at truly life-changing money is very appealing.
On top of the possibility of winning the big prize, the main event also offers a great experience to rub elbows with the best of the best and potentially play a few pots with those players you’ve watched and admired for years.
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But, as you’re probably aware, this experience doesn’t come cheap.
The buy-in alone is $10,000, then you’ve got all the other expenses connected to traveling to Las Vegas and staying there for a week or so.
So, what’s the best and cheapest way to get yourself into the Main Event?
Here are a few viable options in this article, and depending on your particular situation, you can figure out which one works best for you.
See also – Popular Places to Play Poker in New Zealand
5 Easiest Ways To Enter The Main Poker Event
1: WSOP Main Event Satellites
The easiest and the most accessible option for most players wanting to get their seat in the Main Event at a discount is playing satellites.
With this being the biggest and the most popular poker event of the year, you’ll have no problems finding plenty of satellite events, both online and at various live venues.
Of course, depending on where you live, online might be your only option.
But, if you’re looking to save money, online satellites are possibly the best option as well, just because you can start your quest for the Main Event seat with a fairly small bankroll.
Many poker rooms have step satellites that start with buy-ins as low as $1.
If you finish in the money, you’ll step into the next tournament, and so forth. Eventually, you’ll get to the main satellite, where a certain number of players will receive the Main Event entry.
To make things even better, rooms will often cover travel and accommodation expenses for their qualifiers.
If you have a bit of extra cash, but not exactly the 10 grand you need, you can always find more expensive satellites online or at live venues.
For example, in a $500 Main Event satellite, one in every 20 players will get a seat, which isn’t that unrealistic at all. If you’re already a decent player, you have decent odds of qualifying in two or three attempts, saving a lot of money.
If you’re serious about playing in the Main Event and have plans to do it, there is no downside to playing satellites.
Even if you have the money to pay the buy-in in full, jumping in a few satellite events to try and get in for cheaper is a good idea.
This is particularly true for more experienced players as you’ll come across many amateurs who don’t really know how to play these types of tournaments, and you’ll be able to get the benefits of their mistakes.
Even Chris Moneymaker got his seat through an online satellite, and if that didn’t happen, he most certainly wouldn’t have entered the Main Event and won a couple of million, which changed the poker landscape forever.
If you are an experienced player, it’s probably a good idea to read up or watch some strategy videos for satellite tournaments before you set off on your journey.
Understanding how these events differ from conventional events and what kind of adjustments you need to make will be invaluable.
2: Set Up a Home Game Qualifier
If you have a group of poker friends with whom you play in home games regularly; all of you probably share the dream of playing in the Main Event. If you put your money and your imagination together; you might be able to send one person from the group to “represent” you at the big event. This is one of the 5 Easiest Ways To Enter The Main Poker Event.
The $10,000 amount may seem expensive; but if there are seven or eight people working together towards that goal and if you start early enough, it’s not impossible.
For instance, you could set up a weekly league with a buy-in of $50. All funds are collected and put aside, while all players are rewarded points for their performance in the tournaments.
The person with the best score at the end of the league would be the one traveling to Vegas and playing for all the marbles.
You must agree on all the terms upfront. Since you’re all putting in money and effort, everyone should get a slice of any potential Main Event winnings.
You must get it all in writing. On the off-chance that the person going to Vegas ends up playing for millions; it’s probably best to have all the details written down and signed. You don’t want your buddy to have a change of heart when they realize they’re supposed to part with two or three million.
One small problem with this approach is that you’ll need someone to handle the organization: creating tournaments, keeping track of the score, and, of course, managing the money.
The effort will pay off in the end; as even if you don’t end up winning; the experience of sweating your buddy in the Main Event and knowing you would be up for a handsome payday if they manage to make a deep run will make it well worth it.
3: Secure WSOP Main Event Staking
Another very common way to play in the Main Event for cheap or even for free is through a staking deal. This is one of the 5 Easiest Ways To Enter The Main Poker Event.
This means that someone else will pay your buy-in; and in exchange, you’ll agree to give them a share of whatever you win.
Staking is a very practical and viable option for established players; and many pros have regular backers who trust their skills and cover many of their tournament entries.
Although they give away some of their profits; these players agree to such deals because they decrease variance and can play their best game not worrying about money.
If you’re an amateur with no profile to show; though, it will probably be hard to get someone to stake you for $10,000.
But, if you’re really eager to play, there’s no harm in asking around.
If you have a wealthy relative or a friend who knows you’re a decent poker player; you can ask them if they’ would like to back you for the Main Event.
Ideally, they must know at least a bit about poker; or else it will feel like you’re asking them to blow their money on a roulette spin.
If this isn’t an option, you can also get engaged with poker forums and communities and look for some possibilities.
As you’re not a poker pro; and this is your one-off shot; even if you get to keep only 25 percent of your winnings, it’s a great deal.
4: Sell Main Event Shares
If you can’t get a full staking deal; you might be able to sell a percentage of your Main Event performance. In the poker world, this is “selling shares.”
You can keep half of your winnings. The other half is distributed to those who bought shares depending on how much they invested at the start.
This is something you can do even if you’re a real amateur; so long as you have a nice group of friends who believe in your skills.
As the Main Event is a bit like a lottery in that it can potentially produce a great return on even a small investment, of the essence.
An alternative way to go about this is to sell your Main Event package on one of the poker shares sites.
You will find a few around these days, so you’ll have no problem finding a place to do it.
The problem is, much like staking; you probably won’t have much luck with selling shares online if you’re not a well-known player; and don’t have outcomes displaying that you actually have an edge in the tournament.
You can sell shares for the same tournament live and online. Just keep the log of all the money you receive and all the reservations someone asks you to keep.
5: Freeroll Your Way In
There are different ways to participate in the Main Event without spending a single cent; and without asking for money from anyone. Of course, these aren’t guaranteed.
Many large online rooms organize freeroll tournaments that can result in the Main Event package where all your expenses will be paid.
However, to win such a prize, you’ll have to compete against tens of thousands of others with the same goal. You’ll need some crazy luck to emerge winner.
Similarly, there are other free competitions and raffles giving away Main Event seats or Main Event satellite tickets.
Follow big poker operators on Twitter and keep a close eye on Twitch streams from their sponsored pros; and you’ll get to come across quite a few interesting opportunities.
These competitions often cost nothing but a few minutes of your time, so it’s a good deal.
But, just like freerolls, there’ll be many others trying to do the same thing, so it is very little you can do to improve your winning chances.
The best thing is to stay persistent and not give up.
Hopefully, the tips in this post have provided you with some ideas on how you could make your dream come true; and play in the Main Event without spending $10,000+.
All of these options come with their pros and cons; and whatever way you choose will have a set of its own obstacles. But, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it.
The key takeaway is that it is definitely possible to get your Main Event seat for much less than it actually costs.