Poker Satellite Strategy

Satellite poker tournaments can prove quite profitable for many poker players. Certainly if you find yourself seated at a big event like the WSOP main event it can pay enormous dividends. Satellite tournaments aren’t only for those big events though, you can find online poker satellites for nearly any event, regardless of buy-in, both at live casinos and at online poker rooms allowing US players. If you already have a good understanding of satellites but would still like to be more successful, here are some ideas to consider.

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In most satellites, the blinds go up pretty quickly, every fifteen minutes or so. This means you really need to step up the aggressiveness. You shouldn’t be entering any pots unless you are prepared to go all the way with them, putting in all your chips if you feel you have a good chance to win.

Bluffing will probably not be too effective in a satellite. Players know they need to amass chips quickly, and since it’s winner take all, there are no rewards for surviving to make second place. Therefore even if an opponent thinks he might be beat, he is likely to call. Conversely, there is little point to slow playing. It does not take much for players to feel pot committed in a satellite, so if you have a hand that you want action with, go ahead and bet it.

Hands like suited connectors, that are often popular in the middle stages of tournaments when you have a deep chip stack, are not all that useful in a satellite. In a satellite, there are no middle stages and there are no deep stacks. You need to use your chips to maximum efficiency, which means getting them in with the best hand you can. The major benefit of playing speculative hands like suited connectors is that you will get paid off big when you hit them. In a satellite, you will probably get paid off big even when you hit a premium hand.

When you get down to a few players, consider making a deal if the tournament organizers allow it. Anything can happen when there are only two or three players left, especially since at this point the blinds probably represent a good portion of everybody’s stack. Even if you are leading in chips, one or two unfortunate hands could leave you with nothing, even if you don’t make a mistake. Give yourself the best chance to profit from your good play.

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