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So, you want to get into the World Series of Poker, the poker tournament of all poker tournaments. Well, the traditional way is to be well known and successful enough in the poker world to be invited. Once the domain of those who spent their lives traveling the poker circuit from casino to casino, the advent of the Internet and online gambling has opened up this exclusive club to a worldwide audience. Still, it’s not as easy as just signing up and logging on.
It is possible, however. Take Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer, the winners of the 2003 and 2004 World Series of Poker tournaments. The aptly named Moneymaker had never really played the game seriously when he decided to pony up $39 to sign up for an online poker tournament at PokerStars.com. He blew away the competition and won the top prize, which just happened to include a seat on the famed World Series of Poker. As if that weren’t enough of an honor, Moneymaker dominated here as well, beating out several more experienced poker players and taking home the grand prize: $2.5 million. It was quite a splashy way to kick off a professional poker career.
Following in Moneymaker’s footsteps just one year later, patent lawyer Greg Raymer became the second World Series of Poker winner to get there thanks to an online tournament, another event at PokerStars.com. Unlike Moneymaker, Raymer had actually played in the World Series of Poker before, meeting with limited success. He’s gone on to translate his success into a lucrative poker career, and he continues to make a more than decent living from the game he loves.
While Moneymaker and Raymer may have gone on to actually win the tournament, they’re far from the only players to win a seat by winning an online tournament. Their victories helped fuel an explosion in the game’s popularity, attracting a new wave of hopeful players with dreams of huge jackpots to the table. Several online casinos offer periodic tournaments giving players a chance to advance to the Holy Grail of poker. Keep your eyes open and search around.
Perhaps the biggest requirement to get into the World Series of Poker, you have to have the skills to hang with the big boys. Just making it to the tournament is hard enough, but if you should happen to make it, be ready to take your game to a whole new level. You’ll be playing against professionals who take no quarter, and if you falter, they’ll be more than happy to take all of your chips on their rise through the ranks.
|Tom Shannahan has been playing poker since he was 16. He grew up watching his father play with friends once a week. He currently writes part time for Pokerlistings.com where you can find more great information about Texas Holdem and the popular World Series of Poker.