So who's got WSOP fever? I do, for one.
All the major sites have finally kicked off their promotions for the 2006 WSOP. FTP and Party both look pretty serious about increasing the number of players they qualify this year, with Party literally giving away close to $2m in absolutely free seats (no real money play of any kind required). Stars, which is the behemoth in WSOP Main Event (herein now and forever referred to as ME) qualifiers, doesn't appear to be doing anything special so far, though they will still be the site to beat in terms of qualifying numbers.
The question for any semi-serious recreational player is: How much time and money should be invested in WSOP satellites?
From the purely professional, cold hard EV calculating mentality, it can be strongly argued that the time can be better spent in playing MTTs (or ring games) strictly for cash. If you have the desire, skill and bankroll to play in a WSOP event, then just buy in for cash. This seems to make a lot of sense, especially if you factor in potential issues like: discounting the value of the package based on some probability that you will not bee able to attend for unforseen reasons, the possibility of unintentionally qualifying for an event twice at two different online sites (this is not as ridiculous as it sounds if a great deal of effort is put in without a great deal of care), the fact that playing in a $10k MTT may be ridiculously outside of your bankroll (which is the case for virtually all players), etc...
What? You say that you really have your heart set on playing in the WSOP, and you don't care about all of the above. I completely understand. I'm a WSOP virgin myself, and I fully intend to change that this year even if I have to creep into one of the el-cheapo $1-$1.5k events at the end (Events 40-45) because even a small fry like me is bankrolled for these puppies. (In fact, I would even argue that the fields for some of these events might be on the soft side since such a large percentage of the playing pool will be pretty burned out from the preceeding 6 weeks)
So what should your game plan be? It all depends on your skill, bankroll, and time available.
I don't know what my plans are yet. I do know that I was not satisfied with my execution last year.
In 2005, I spent approximately $800 and < 25 net hours in failed qualification attempts. (I use the term "net" hours, because I would proportionally discount the time when I was multitabling some ring games into the mix). $-wise the efforts were spent on $30+3 nightly Stars rebuys, and disproportionately $-wise, but proportionally time-wise, the remainder of the efforts were through Party's qualifiers and subqualifiers (not the STEPS).
The Vanity-smurf side of me wants to qualify for the ME, though the Brainy-smurf side pipes in about how ridiculous this is. At this point, Vanity-smurf is speaking with the louder voice.