For professional poker players who make a living playing the game online, the WSOP is always the bread and butter of the live tournament year. There is nothing bigger than the WSOP, and for the poker professional who knows the true value of a WSOP bracelet, the Series are indeed like the Olympics: it is something that one prepares for all year long. It is therefore safe to say that considering WSOP qualification as early as the winter isn't a stretch. In fact, a good player knows that he has to give himself plenty of time and plenty of opportunities to make the best of the various qualifying deals offered by the various online poker rooms.
Of course, there are players out there who simply cannot afford to waste time playing such qualifiers, and for players of this caliber, buying into WSOP events directly is the most straightforward solution to securing a spot on live poker's biggest scene. The true appeal of the World Series of Poker however lies in rags-to-riches stories like that of Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer who earned their seats online for a few bucks, only to go all the way and win the Main Event, the Big Dance, the biggest poker tournament of the year.For the average online poker player, online qualifiers such as the ones offered by PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker carry a tremendous amount of value. Besides the opportunity that they give them buy-in wise, the price packages given to the winners of these online qualifiers also cover travel expenses and accommodation, and they sometimes even give players a little bit of spending money to sweeten the time they spend in Sin City.
Like the actual organizers of the World Series of Poker itself, individual online poker operators are keen on sharpening and enriching their online qualifiers each year. While in the beginning online qualifiers were only available to the most important events of the Series, nowadays there are qualifiers for just about every side event (except the casino employees one, which is of course not an open event). WSOP officials have gone to great lengths this year not only to improve the actual schedule of the 2013-2014 Series, but also to make the schedule available as soon as possible in order to give online poker operators plenty of time to set up and to advertise their online qualifiers.