Let me ask you something, how many years does it take to become a professional poker player vs a Professional pool player? Do you honestly think the two requirements take the same amount of years of practice, dedication, and sacrifice?I think you are creating a higher barrier to enter an already decreasing market of professionals. Creating a higher cost (time in local tournaments) does nothing to increase demand. This can be modeled in mathematical terms but it is easy to see with just thinking about it.
The fully open satellite model (at least for the US Open) would generate much more local interest and much more paid into the prize pool. Look at the World Series of Poker, they have 8,000 plus people paying $10,000 a piece to get to play for millions. What is more inspiring, a Chris Moneymaker or Carlos Biado? Moneymaker went from an amateur playing with friends to a millionaire and somewhat a pro overnight.
Poker achieves this high number of players because many of them can play local satellite tourneys and win their way into the big show or they can just pay their way in. Imagine the impact on the World Series of Poker if you were prohibited from just signing up?
I would set up a US Open Model that tied into state and local tourneys. (I'm making numbers up after this, they can be adjusted...) Make the US Open a $5,000 entry fee. The pros and the sponsors and the rich wannabees can pay this amount. Feed players into the tourney from wins in state opens. Each state has a "US Open-State" tourney. This can be $1,000 entry. The top 10 from each state get paid some money and an entry into the US Open with travel and expenses. Each city or district in the state will have a smaller tournament that feeds the state tourney. You buy into the district tourney for say $250. Your playing for some cash and an entry into the state tourney. Local pool halls can license a US Open-Local tourney to win your way into the district tourney. These can happen throughout the year. Local buy in could be as little as $25 a person with a minimum number of participants required or the pool hall can kick in an automatic district buy in (Win the local cash and $250 district buy in paid for by owner added funds). Heck, at $25 if you had 20 entrants, you could have a $250 payout AND a district buy-in.
The US Open licensing would generate name brand recognition to these events. Any pool hall that wants to host small, local satellites, would have to register with the US Open group. They could have a website that shows if a tourney is sponsored or not. Players would be encouraged to ONLY enter US Open licensed tourneys.
Adjust the dollar figures above for what the market will actually accept. You could have a US Open tourney with the absolute best players in the country. Some could buy in for as little as a $25 satellite. The payouts could start to look like life changing money to the players rather than the barely break even amounts after expenses and taxes we have now.