How does the WSOP make money

With 1 € to the WSOP: Become a poker world champion without money?

The number of poker players participating in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas increases every year. The main event with a buy-in of US $ 10,000 is the most important poker event of the year and the winner can call himself the poker world champion. Chris Moneymaker, who landed at the main event after an online qualification - and became the winner, is often cited as the reason for the continuing worldwide boom in the card game. Will one euro still be enough to Las Vegas today in 2021? We take a look at the opportunities to compete in the WSOP as an amateur.

This is how qualifying for the WSOP Main Event works

The Main Event of the World Series of Poker will be played as No Limit Texas Hold'em with a buy-in of $ 10,000. Registration is possible on site or online with an appropriate lead time. So if you really want to participate for the price of just one euro, you would first have to convert this entry fee into a $ 10,000 buy-in. Even for a seasoned grinder, this is a fair amount of work. There are various ways of qualification that are quicker, but perhaps not necessarily easy. These usually take place in several stages: In an online poker room you can qualify for participation in a satellite tournament, where you can in turn win a ticket for the main event. After the 2006 WSOP, online qualification options were limited for the first time, leading to an increase in qualifications in card rooms and casinos.

How do I get cheap WSOP tickets?

There are many ways to get there if you want to get hold of a coveted Main Event ticket for the World Series of Poker. The options for Europeans and Americans differ: The WSOP in Las Vegas is and will remain an American event, so that residents have a certain advantage.

Opportunities for Europeans

Europeans and poker players who are not US citizens can qualify for a Main Event ticket online. Usually a poker site is a WSOP sponsor and offers opportunities to win tickets. In 2021 the online provider 888Poker is sponsoring the WSOP, which is offering several packages. These have a total value of $ 12,500 and include the buy-in and money for flights and hotels. The qualification takes place in a total of 6 levels for 1 cent, 10 cent, $ 1, $ 50, $ 50 and $ 525 with several live events, including in Barcelona. Players can start at level one or buy in at a higher level. This gives you the theoretical possibility of becoming a poker world champion for just one cent!

Opportunities for Americans

US citizens can choose between various card rooms and poker networks that offer qualification options. Here, too, there are packages worth $ 12,500, including buy-in, travel and accommodation. The tournaments differ in size and style of play and in some cases there are tickets to be won as jackpots in Sit'n'Go tournaments. In the USA, a distinction is made between poker sites outside of the national territory and providers in the regulated states of New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. This way everyone has a chance of getting a ticket regardless of where they live.

WSOP Europe

The World Series of Poker Europe or WSOPE has been taking place since 2007 and the main events are currently being held at King's Casino in Rozvadov. At the WSOPE there are bracelets to be won outside of Las Vegas, but with a win you cannot call yourself poker world champion. In return, you save on travel and accommodation. Numerous poker sites and conventional casinos regularly offer satellite events where you can win tickets for the WSOPE.

Further possibilities for WSOP qualification

Whether it's a main event or a side tournament, in addition to the well-known ways of winning a World Series of Poker ticket, there are also unconventional methods. On the WSOP website you will find advertised events where you can qualify as a career changer. The poker rooms and card rooms in Nevada have local tournaments that host satellites for the World Cup. There are also raffles, tenders and other promotions from various gambling providers or casinos. Here, too, the Americans usually have an advantage.

How to save money on a WSOP buy-in

If you couldn't get a ticket for a qualification and still want to leave for the WSOP in Las Vegas, the buy-in is only half the battle: the flight, hotel and food cost a lot. Use flight search engines and price comparisons to save on every opportunity. You can easily save $ 1,500 on travel, accommodation, food, transportation and entertainment for a week in Las Vegas compared to full price. That's not quite enough for the main event, but for one of the numerous other bracelet tournaments. If you get into the money there, you have earned the buy-in for the following year.

Known Unknown Poker Players: Amateurs at the WSOP

Chris Moneymaker is considered to be the founder of the poker boom of the 2000s, as he was the first amateur to qualify for the World Series of Poker via an Internet site. In 2003, less than $ 40 in a PokerStars satellite and third place in another tournament was enough to win the Main Event ticket. The then accountant promptly left the competition of more than 800 other players behind and won 2.5 million US dollars and the poker world champion title. This success of a hitherto unknown amateur sparked a real run on the main event, as more than 2,500 players started just one year later. In the history of the WSOP, other amateurs have achieved similar performances. We remember those "known unknown" players who achieved the World Series of Poker miracle.

Hal Fowler

Hal Fowler became the first amateur to win the WSOP Main Event, and his 1979 win was one of the most sensational in the history of the poker tournament. As the only amateur against 54 professionals, he landed at the final table with famous players like Johnny Moss, Chip Reese, Bobby Hoff and Sam Moon. There his stack was reduced dramatically, but he made a comeback with less than 2,000 chips and went heads-up against chip leader Bobby Hoff. After two lucky hands, Hal Fowler took the lead and was lucky again when he called a gutshot hand on the turn and beat Bobby Hoff with his aces and all-in.

Noel Furlong

According to Hal Fowler, it was not until 1999 that another amateur poker world champion was won. The owner of a carpet cleaning company had reached the final table in 1989 and finished sixth. In 1999 he met Huck Seed, Erik Seidel, Alan Goehring and Padraig Parkinson, among others. Luck stayed with the Irishman and he reached the heads-up against Goehring as the chip leader. With a pair of five he flopped a full house and took all the chips from his opponent.

Tom McEvoy

Known as a poker writer, the player is the first to take part in the main event via a satellite tournament in 1983. McEvoy took chips from pro Rod Peate for hours until he took the lead. Peate made a mistake and moved all-in before the flop, so McEvoy beat king and jack of diamonds with two queens.

Robert Varkonyi

A year before Chris Moneymaker would make poker history, this amateur won the main event and became world champion as a hitherto unknown player. Robert Varkonyi was also the first to take home more than $ 2 million in prize money at the Main Event. When he took his seat at the final table, although he had the fourth largest stack, John Shipley was clearly in the lead. Professional Phil Hellmuth had to shave his head after the tournament due to a losing bet on Varkonyi's victory. After an up and down, Varkonyi managed to get Shipley off the table. In an unlikely run, Robert Varkonyi also prevailed against Julian Gardner from Great Britain and became world champion with two million dollars. In the absence of the boom, the world beyond the poker scene took little notice of Robert Varkonyi.