Satellite Tournament Strategy

Satellite Tournament Strategy

UBThis article will discuss general satellite tournament strategy for various types of satellite tournaments you are likely to enter. The aim of this article is to improve your play and hence results in these tournaments.

It is assumed that you are playing in a satellite tournament with 50 players or more, and all of the tables are 9 handed. Each player starts with 1500 chips and the blinds raise every 15 minutes. The tournament has no rebuys or addons. This satellite is offering multiple seats to the satellite event.

So what are satellite tournaments you might ask?

Well, quite simply they are a smaller buy in tournament a certain number of people who enter can win there way into a larger tournament. For example, every year numerous satellites run to get you into the main event at the WSOP. The buy in to the WSOP of is $10,000, however there might be a $500 super satellite tournament for it, were 1 person gets a seat in the main event of the WSOP for each 20 entrants in the satellite. Did you think every WSOP entrant bought their way into the main event? Definitely not! In fact, some of the WSOP ME winners won a satellite tournament to gain entry.

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In a satellite tournament the objective is not to win, but simply to make it to one of the places where seats in the target tournament are being given away. So for example, if 20 seats are being given away your object is simply to be one of those top 20 people. The tournament will end when there are 20 people left so your chip count and that point is irrelevant. This is different from traditional tournaments were you want to win it or come as high as you can. This difference means some strategy differences which  will be discussed below.

The thing to remember is that you do not have to win the tournament. This means that if you do get a large stack at any point during the satellite tournament the main aim should be to protect it. This means that you should not risk your chips on 50/50 shots like coin flips when for example you raise with 33 and some short stack at the table shoves all-in. You expect them to be doing this with two high cards as the worst case scenario, and in other tournaments you would take the risk, but not in satellite tournaments you need to make these adjustments. You should also be less aggressive in bullying short stacks with marginal hands.

That being said if you do get chips one of your objectives is to eliminate the short stacks. Since the satellite will not end until there are only seat winners left, you must attempt to take out the small stacks. While you should not over do it, if you think you are ahead you should set them all in, in an attempt to eliminate them.

One thing you should definitely avoid is if you do have chips getting tangled up with another large stack. There is no benefit to this. Sure, if you win a big pot you will have a lot of chips, but if you lose you throw a good chip position for no real gain, as all of the seats are the same. It is much better to pick on the medium and short stacks then on other large stacks. This can mean that if a large stack raises and you are close to the bubble with say KK you might be better to muck then to get involved.

The satellite will also get very tight when you are close to the bubble. For example if 20 seats are available and 25 players are left, expect the game to become very tight especially as the short stacks attempt to out last each other. The short stacks are even likely to let themselves get very low just to force the other player to have to go all in before they do. This tightness increases as the players reduce so it will be even tighter with 24 players then it was with 25 players. It should also be noted that this part of the game can become long winded as the short stacks attempt to survive and the medium stacks attempt to stay out of trouble. The game length can be increased if the large stacks are playing very defensively and not putting any pressure on the short stacks.

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