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Poker "Satellites and Super-Satellites"

Discussion in 'Poker Forum' started by TEACH (AlSpath), Feb 15, 2015.

  1. TEACH (AlSpath)

    TEACH (AlSpath) Active Member Founding Member

    Dec 29, 2014
    Poker Instructor
    Maryland USA
    Satellites and Super-Satellites

    When you have the opportunity to take part in live casino play, you might find yourself wondering what all the poker room commotion is about, as repeated satellite announcements are heard bellowing throughout the day.

    There are one (1) table satellites starting very often (usually as soon as they fill one and another dealer becomes available), and there will be at least one super-satellites scheduled and announced. After factoring in your personal preferences, time limitations, and the cost to enter the satellites, you may chose to play either or both.

    A one table satellite is exactly that, one table, usually 10 players, each paying a set amount, to compete against each other, with the winner being awarded either a "chit" (a token used to represent a certain amount of money), or cash. Players use these lower entry events to win enough "chits," or cash money to enter the larger priced featured tournaments. On occasion, the remaining two players may cut a deal and split the smaller one table prize purse. These one-table tournaments usually last between one and two hours (similar to an online sit-n-go), allowing players that bust out early (or repeatedly), to reenter satellite after satellite in search of a much needed win. Note: Be aware, the "house" usually takes a sizeable cut (from each table satellite), called the "vig," when running these tables, so don't be surprised when 10 players pay $50 each and the winner is awarded only $400. The vig can vary in size, and for this example, the house took a healthy 20%.

    Super-satellites tend to have a much larger field, which can, and does vary in size (example: 40-100 players). Depending on the number of entrants, a certain number of seats (entries), into a bigger tournament will be up for grabs. For example: The entry into a super satellite may be $40 and there may be optional rebuys or add-ons available for players to purchase during play. Based on the total amount of money collected (less the vig), the casino will announce how many seats (top finishers); will earn a much-coveted golden chit (thus securing them a seat and entry into the larger priced tournament event).

    Again, towards the end of the super-satellite, the value of winning and finishing in those designated top seats may spark some wheeling and dealing (to chop the purse), by the remaining players. Although not that common to see this deal struck, some players will still probe for a deal knowing those "chits" have monetary value.

    As a tactic, players will pose the question just to see how committed/confident their opponents are, so as a ploy, they just throw the question on the table. Be fully aware that you are not under any obligation to do such a deal and usually it's the low chip stack player(s) initiating any conversation about a potential chop (deal). They may feel the competition is to stiff, or that they don't have the time, or have the ability to make a run at the top spots, so they want to negotiate a smaller proportional award (in cash), for them to accept finishing out of the "chit" winning spots.

    In doing so, they are conceding the top spots to the remaining few players. In essence, they are asking (some see it as begging), the chip leaders to each give up a portion of their anticipated purse (in cash), and end the contest right there. Generally, once the top spots are awarded the seats, there is no other prize money or trophy to be won, so the event terminates and is halted under an agreement witnessed by the floor person. Some may wish to play it out just for the practice, however, in many casinos, once a deal is struck, or the final winners are identified, the play is halted.
    1. A rebuy - when a player drops below a certain pre-determined amount of chips, or if they bust out completely, they are afforded the opportunity to re-purchase (rebuy) more chips. Usually it is an amount of chips less than the original starting amount players receive at the beginning of the tournament, but none-the-less, ample enough chips to enter play again. Some tournaments limit the amount of rebuys and yet others have unlimited rebuys, until a certain time period or betting level is reached. But the one thing that remains constant is that players must drop below a certain level (chip stack count), before they can purchase more chips (reload as they say).
    2. An add-on - At the end of the rebuy period a final announcement is made and all players have the option to add-on to their current stack, no matter if the player is over or under the once pre-set chip count used earlier for rebuys. The amount of chips is also usually the same as the earlier rebuy amount, however, in some casinos the add-on can be more (an incentive to purchase), or possibly less chips (usually not), depending on the tournament guidelines advertised and posted. When calculating how much your return of investment (ROI) was, make sure you add up the original entry fee, the number of rebuys taken and whether you purchased an add-on.
    Example: $50 to enter, 3 rebuys @ $50 each, on 1 add-on @ $50, cost you $250 to play the event. If you finished in the money, deduct that "total" amount from the cash you received to calculate your ROI.

    satellite.jpg Here's a strategy from an online source:

    Super Satellite Tournament Strategy

    Super satellite tournaments are multi table tournaments (MTTs) with hundreds or thousands of players with the top 100 or so advancing to the next tournament. The correct strategy in satellite MTTs differs from the correct strategy in regular MTTs, especially near the bubble.

    The Goal in Satellites

    The goal in a satellite MTT is to build a large enough stack early on so that you can slow down on the bubble and sneak into the money. In regular MTTs, playing to sneak into the money is a losing proposition because the payout is heavily skewed towards the top three or four finishers. In satellite MTTs this is different because the payout is the same for all of the top finishers. It doesn’t matter if you finish 1st or 20th in a satellite that gives out 20 entrees into the big tournament. Every place in the money is first place.

    Satellite Strategy

    The beginning rounds of a super satellite MTT aren’t a whole lot different from those in a regular MTT. You want to play smart and build a large stack so that when the blinds get bigger, you can steal them easily with your big, intimidating stack. The difference is that you don’t need to focus on stealing in satellite MTTs as much as in regular MTTs.

    The whole point of stealing in regular MTTs is to build as large a stack as possible, which means stealing as often as you can get away with. The point of stealing blinds in satellites is to pad your stack just enough to coast into the money. This works the best if you managed to build up a large stack early in the tournament.
    If you’ve made it to the late stages of a satellite with a small stack, it’s going to take some work and luck to finish in the money. As the small stack, you’re going to have to start throwing that little stack around. The most difficult part of playing the small stack is finding the right balance between stealing the blinds and waiting for decent hands.

    Playing the Bubble

    As you near the bubble, the correct strategy in a satellite MTT deviates significantly from that of regular MTTs. The whole point near the bubble is to cash, not build up a big stack. This goes back to the above point about stealing the blinds. In a regular MTT, it’s great to get active and start building that stack as everyone tightens up. That strategy does not make sense for satellite MTTs though because once you break through the bubble, stack size means nothing – you’ve already won.

    The point is, it is vital to base your all of your decisions on the goal of cashing, not on building a big stack. For an extreme example, let’s say you’re playing a 1,000 person event with the top 50 getting an entry to the next event and there are 51 people left. A small stack in front of you pushes all in, another small stack calls, and a big stack to your right pushes all in on top of them.

    You look down at your hole cards and see AA. What do you do? This is an easy fold. With at least one person almost guaranteed to get knocked out, there’s no point in calling and taking even a small chance of getting knocked out by the big stack. The whole point of the tournament is to make it to the money, and with there only being one person left on the bubble, you have nothing to gain by calling. Calling with AA here would be massively –EV.

    So remember, play the early stages of a super satellite in chip accumulation mode and play the late stages in survival mode. Don’t play survival mode like a weak-tight rock, but do make sure to base all of your decisions on the goal of ending up somewhere in the money. If you can place in this tournament and make it deep in to the next event, all the hard work will pay off with a very nice payday.

    Source: CoinFlipPoker
    PHC, Brian T CLVR and Leon Macfayden like this.
  2. ronald spaner

    ronald spaner New Member Founding Member

    Jan 27, 2015
    New City NY
    great article Al it spells it all out .
  3. PHC

    PHC New Member Founding Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Clear, understandable advice - as always - well done Al.

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