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Satellite Poker Tournament Strategy

By: Lise Larsen, Mon Sep 4th, 2006

Satellite poker tournaments are becoming increasingly popular. Many people are using satellites to work their way to the prestigious and expensive tournaments like the World Series of Poker. What are satellite tournaments? They are generally small tournaments that award a seat (or seats) at a larger tournament as the prize.

Since many of the large poker tournaments are very costly to enter, satellites can be a good entr?e for a less experienced or cash-poor player. For example, it can cost as much $10,000 to buy a seat at a tournament like WSOP. This is prohibitive for some, however they have a chance by winning a satellite tournaments that can have a buy-in as low as a much more affordable $100.

There are different types of satellites and good players adjust their poker strategies based on the type of tournament they are playing.

Satellite Strategy for Single Winner Tournaments

Some tournaments have only a single winner; these are also known as winner-take-all tournaments. The only way to win one of these satellites is to get all of the chips, so this type of tournament is not well-suited to those with conservative strategies. Of course, luck plays a part, but bold and gutsy play is required to take it all.

Satellite Strategy for Multi-Winner Tournaments

Satellite strategy needs to vary when you play a tournament with multiple winners. Some satellites offer only a winning spots, but tend to have low buy-ins. Others have higher buy-ins but offer more advancement seats to winners. Make sure you look at the number of entrants that will be allowed and figure out how many seats there are per entrant to choose the best satellite.

Once you are in the game, your satellite strategy needs to be based in part on the part of the game you are in. While you need to earn the most chips possible, conservative play in early stages is often rewarded since it will allow you to stay in the game. Since the goal in this style of satellite isn't to be the winner, but to be one of the last players standing, it is important to play for longevity; hence, a strategy that risks you going broke in early hands s not a good idea.

As the stakes rise, you need to get a little more aggressive. You need to start taking pots. In addition, you do not want to risk your stack getting too small compared to other players, because that will attract aggressive players to attack in order to knock you out of the game. You need to get to the latest stage of the game, but you also need to get there with enough chips to finish the game.

If you manage to enter the final rounds of the game with an ample stack, you need to capitalize on your lead. Since other players may start to be conservative at this point, fearing getting knocked out, you have the opportunity to play more aggressively and scoop up the pots. Consider playing a hand that you might have folded on in the early stages of the game.

Always remember where the money is (or the satellite seats are) and keep your eye on the number of players remaining when implementing your satellite strategy. In addition, it is important to make your play while you have enough chips to make a difference. It is better to get knocked out with a bold play on a nothing hand than to fizzle out when you finally do not have enough chips to ante.

About the author: Article by Lise Larsen. She teaches you how to play poker at Please feel free to use this article on your website, newsletter or blog as long as this resource box is left intact and there's a live link to the site.

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