What do Dr. Vic Fey, an obstetrician from Clinton, Oklahoma, and
Erick Brenes, a farmer from Costa Rica have in common? They both
made it to the final table of The World Poker Tour's Aruba Poker
Classic. And what makes it more remarkable is they won their $6,000
buy-in and the trip to Aruba by playing a $27 satellite tournament
at the online poker room, Ultimate Bet. Neither of these men are
professional poker players but at the end of the tournament Vic Fey
finished in 6th place and won $105,000 and Erick Brenes finished in
first and went home to Costa Rica $1,417,000 richer. Not bad for a
What are satellites and how do they work?
Basically a satellite is a way to enter a major tournament and play
for big money without having to pay the large buy-in required. For
example, the buy-in for the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is $10,000.
An on-line poker room could sponsor a tournament with a $1,350
buy-in (they will also charge somewhere around 9-10% for a
registration fee). For every 10 players in the tournament there
would be a prize pool of $13,500, enough for the single buy-in to
the WSOP and some extra for spending money. So for a $1,350 you
could win your entry to the major tournament. If there are 100
players then the players who finish in one of the top 10 positions
would be on their way to Las Vegas and a chance at $10,000,000, the
estimated top prize in this years tournament.
dollars is still a little steep if you ask me but you're dying to
play in the WSOP. So you go to an online poker site like Royal Vegas
Poker. There, they have a way for you to make it to the World Series
for as little as $1. It takes six steps and works like this:
Step 1: You pay a $1 buy-in and a $.10 registration fee. You play
against ten other players. If you come in first or second you've
made it to step two.
Step 2: You enter this tournament by
either coming in first or second in step 1 or by directly buying in
for $5 + $0.50. Come in first or second and you move on to step
three. Come in third and you get to play level 2 again free.
Step 3: Same deal. Enter by placing 1st or 2nd in the previous step
or buy-in for $22.50 + $2.25. The final 2 players get free entry to
step four and third place lets you repeat step 3 and pays you $2.75.
Step 4: The buy-in for this level is $100 + $10. Come in first or
second and go to step 5. Come in third and play step 4 over again.
Step 5: If you happen to have $450 + $45 you can buy-in to this
level. If you've were lucky enough to come in 1st or 2nd the
previous step, it costs you nothing. The first two finishers go to
the final step, third place gets to play step 5 again.
You've made it to the final step. Of course you can just cough up
the $1,350 + $135 to play in this game or you might have gotten here
all the way from step one for $1. In either case, finish 1st in this
ten player table and you're on your way to the WSOP. Come in 2nd and
you win $1,000.
This is just one example of an on-line poker
site's roadmap to the WSOP. At FullTilt poker you can get there for
as little as $4. And they have a promotion in which if you gain
entry to the tournament through their site and win the $10 Million
at the WSOP, they will match it with an additional $10 Million.
Party Poker has satellites starting at $9,InterPoker can get you
there for $10, and UltimateBet has games for as little as $3.
There are even some sites where you can gain entry through freerolls
(tournaments with no entry fees).
There are all sorts of
tournaments like this at many different online poker sites and they
all follow the same basic pattern. You buy-in at a low level to win
entry into a higher level tournament. I narrowly missed making it to
the PartyPoker millions tournament with a $10,000 buy-in and a prize
pool of $7.5 Million. For $6 I worked my way up to the finals where
I needed to come in one of the top 4 positions. Unfortunately I
finished 9th, but there's always next year. And boy, did I get a lot
of entertainment and excitement for my $6.
So if you're
looking to be the next poker star and you don't want to put down
$10,000 to get in the game, check out the different online sites and
see if you can turn $1 into a million.
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Everyone's Catching Poker Fever
Big blind with my jack-three off suit, I found myself
able to see a free flop as the action was checked back
to me. Typically, jack-three off suit is a hand I, or
any other poker player with the slightest knowledge of
the game would not even look twice at.
Why Play Texas Holdem?
Ah, yes-the Texas hold 'em explosion. Seven years ago, when I first started playing, the Texas hold 'em community was comprised almost entirely of the collection of retirees who haunted the local 1-4-8-8 games, a sprinkling of mild mannered pros who played for a living, and a healthy percentage of truly degenerate gamblers who would now and then stagger into the card room after a blistering run at the craps table.