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LATEST NEWS: Freeroll your way to Vegas! Every Monday at 22:30 Ladbrokes will be holding a freeroll where 10 players will guarantee their seat into Tuesday’s daily final at 19:30. Register your place now! Go to Tournaments/Special in the Ladbrokes lobby.

For 2009, Ladbrokes Poker is taking a fresh approach to the traditional WSOP package.
This year, our aim is to give as many poker players as possible the opportunity to go to Las Vegas, be part of the World’s biggest poker event, compete in at least 3 Main Event satellites, enjoy the Vegas nightlife in true Ladbrokes style and hopefully deliver a Ladbrokes Poker winner for a second consecutive year.

To achieve this we have created the $5,000 Vegas Dream Package:

7 nights accommodation for two in Las Vegas in the week the Main Event commences
Staying on the Strip at the luxurious Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino
Free extension for all Vegas Dream satellite winners who make Day 2
$2,000 travel expenses
$1,050 Buy-In to Vegas Dream Satellite
Top 10% win $10,000 Main Event Buy-In
$ 220 Second Chance Satellite
Two added Main Event Buy-In’s
$110 Last Chance Satellite
Added Main Event Buy-In for highest Team Ladbrokes finisher
Exclusive Ladbrokes social events, including 2 tickets to the Ladbrokes Vegas Dream Party at the spectacular roof top VooDoo Lounge.
Coaching from Team Captains:
Jon “Skalie” Kalmar – 2007 Final Table
Steve “fivek” Davis – 2008 & 2006 Money Winner
Vegas Dream Team merchandise
Full details of the Vegas Dream Package, including how you can qualify for the Main Event, are contained in Q and A on the Ladbrokes website.

Vegas Dream Package winners will also enjoy the normal support of the Ladbrokes Event Team to help them make all the arrangements required to have a trip of a lifetime. This support will continue in Vegas, where you can draw on our contacts to get those exclusive show tickets or dinner reservations.

So what are you waiting for? Qualify today for just $6!
All details can be found on the Ladbrokes Poker website.

WSOP – Main Event… – By Jon “skalie” Kalmar (UK Sponsored Pro)

The WSOP is just about upon us and the online poker world will go bananas with satellites. Almost every site out there from Ladbrokes to Pokerstars will want you to wear their badge for the few days leading to the Main Event final table. So how is it best to qualify?

Ok, PokerStars and Full Tilt are likely to be sending huge numbers to the World Series and without doubt their weekly finals will guarantee plenty of packages. The fields will be packed with fish and there is obviously great value to be had by playing these. The downside is they will be expensive. Why?

Well the $US is considerably stronger than this time last year. A $14,000 package this year equates to around £10,000. The same package 12 months ago would have been £7000, some £3,000 less. This means the same satellites will be that much dearer. Also some of these packages can be short with the expenses. With drinks, food and rooms all feeling more expensive this year, you may find yourself over stretching if you win one. We are in recession and we are all feeling the pinch.

Yes you can get in through daily sats but failure can be pricey. Go for them by all means but don’t risk too much chasing them. Maybe wait for the big guarantees nearer the time.

Ladbrokes this year are offering a light package. This basically includes hotel expenses and some satellites to the main event. If your purse strings are tight this is a more realistic thing to chase. OK, the main event seat is not included but once you have your expenses sorted you can then chase the seat on Stars or Tilt.

There are now massive incentives for making the latter stages of the main event. Sites are offering huge deals for players to wear their merchandise. However they are also being more aggressive with their terms and conditions for online qualifiers. How enforceable these terms are I don’t know, but do you really want to risk it or even have to argue about it if you are going deep? You will have enough pressure on your shoulders without the need to add this. If you qualify through one of the many live satellites at the Rio prior to the main event you will be free to choose or even negotiate with these sites should you be lucky enough to have that problem. Ladbrokes are not forcing their qualifiers to wear their logos. Check the sites terms and conditions before you try to qualify.

In 2007 I qualified via a live satellite. I tried 3 x $1000 in the afternoons and 1 $500 of an evening. It was the $500 event where I won my seat. This was on day 1B. Satellites should again be running right up until the last minute, so make sure you get to Vegas and you give yourself a chance to play.

This year I am extending my Vegas trip for the WSOP. I am going from the 3rd of June till the 16th of July, a good 6 weeks. My hope is to take advantage of the poker tourists passing through town playing the cash tables. Brutal thought I know, but lets face it we are all in the game to try and have someone over but fairly and with a clear conscience. Also with plenty of smaller buy in events I want to give myself a good chance of winning a bracelet by playing as many events as my bankroll will permit, ideally paid for by the cash games. If the cash does not go as well as expected, I play less events, simple. I am basically hoping to play every no limit/pot limit event below $5000 between the 3rd of June and the start of the main event. We will see.

For the first year ever this whole trip will be strictly business till my exit from the main event. There will be no partying between my arrival until 25th June when I will be joined by my wife Kila and the rest of the Ladbrokes team, even then I will be reserved compared to previous years. Vegas is a tempting place, if you can avoid such temptations there is money to be made. No temptation is worse for me than the side tables. Mainly Craps. I will be having no gambling sessions outside of poker till my wife arrives. Even then, I may just stay away. Padraig Parkinson spoke many a home truth to me recently. He pointed out that I will never beat the casinos but I can beat the poker. However it takes money to play poker and if I blow it elsewhere the game is over. Ok he may not have said it that clearly. More in a slurred drunken accent but it didn’t make any less sense. It is he who has convinced me to get my head down this year.

The WSOP has evolved well beyond the walls of the Rio. Yes all eyes are on that but attention will still be diverted elsewhere. Both the Venetian and Bellagio are holding their own series of events. Both with more affordable buyins (except the Bellagio main event) and with much smaller fields.  These won’t set you up for life but you can still win a significant amount of money.

If this is your first Vegas poker trip – plan what to do. Have a separate party pocket to keep your spending money, well away from your bankroll. Trust me Mr Vegas is a genius at extracting every last penny from you. Fall into this trap and you will be maxing out your debit cards and wondering where it all went wrong.

Know what you bankroll is and set targets of what you plan to play. If you are only going for the main event fine, play that. Don’t get giddy and start taking the scandi’s on at cash or smashing the craps and blackjack. Don’t give yourself bad poker vibes before you play, your confidence needs to be high. Enjoy the company of fellow players at the bars and prepare for the main event. If things go pear shaped you will still have plenty do after.

Get support from fellow players and friends around you. You don’t need to take anyone’s advice but it will cost you nothing to listen. The support of my friends and wife in 2007 played no small part in my deep finish.

From what I am led to believe you will start will 30,000 chips this year with a 2 hour clock. Plenty of time. Be selective what hands you play and more importantly who you play them against. Maybe take level 1 just to watch so you can assess you opponents. Do not get complacent however. In the recent Bellagio 5 stars main event we started with 100k and I stated it must be almost impossible to get knocked out day 1. Clever clogs that I am I struggled to make level 2 and exited very early level 3. DOH!

Unlike the 5 Stars, no event with such a big buy in will offer more value than the WSOP main event. Firstly, at least half the field are clueless. Either blindly qualifying or simply have more money than sense. At least half of what is left vastly over value their ability. If you can simply avoid a bit of bad luck or at least unnecessary all in situations, your chances of making the money will be much much shorter than the 1 in 10 who will get paid. Bear this in mind. Swap percentages with competent friends. I almost guarantee someone you know will make the money, 3% of 10 mill is still a lot of money. If your chances of making the money is say 1 in 5 then swapping a piece with 4 equally skilled players will most likely get you a small result if nothing else.

Although Harrah’s don’t add money directly to the main event there is still plenty of added value. This may either be from the online site you qualify with (look around for free hotels or incentives) or by potential sponsorship for feature table appearances.

If you go deep the pressure will only build if you allow it. Day1 and day 2 will be irrelevant. Enjoy your day you aint worth nothing yet. Day 3 the bubble will be ready to burst. I will forgive you for feeling it today. Just for making the money you will probably make around $20,000. As most people reading this will no doubt get in via satellites for a few hundred bucks this is a significant amount of money. Crikey! It’s significant to most of us mere mortals. In fact if someone offered me 20k not to play I’d probably take it. If you have enough chips ride the storm, take a leaf from Steve Davis’s book who last year stayed in the poker lounge avoiding getting involved. It may save you having to tell me a horrendous bad beat story in the bar later.

After that, enjoy the ride. Whatever happens now you have cashed in the biggest event in the world. Play your game and try to relax. Whatever happens now you’re a winner.

As the field thins out you may get approached by media for interviews or agents trying to offer you deals. Remember you are just a poker player not a Hollywood star. Enjoy it but don’t let it go to your head, if will affect your game. Don’t let these people bog you down, politely tell them you will speak later if you don’t feel up to it.

The agents will try to lock everyone up early, but they will give you nothing until you are very deep maybe even a finalist. Should you make the final the deals won’t go away I assure you. In fact I suspect you will get an even better one.

Wherever you finish the WSOP is by default the biggest social event on the poker calendar, everyone who is anyone goes. If you qualify though Ladbrokes then you will find me and many others at the various events they organise. I assure you the hospitality needs to be experienced to be appreciated.