It's every poker player's dream to take down the $1 million bracelet at the WSOP, but not everyone has $10,000 just lying around to buy-in to the event. If you've ever found yourself in a similar situation -missing out on a tournament with juicy cash prizes because your bankroll didn’t permit it - then you're not alone.
While we would all like to be playing high stakes and crushing the country's biggest tournaments, the opportunity to take down poker's biggest cash prizes are simply limited by the bankroll you have on you.
But does it have to be that way?
Chris Moneymaker's legendary win at the 2003 WSOP, where he converted $86 into $2.5 million, is a self-explanatory story for how poker satellites (or sattys) can help players scale their earnings with a relatively limited bankroll.
If you haven't heard of his win and are reading this in disbelief, then let's quickly go over what a satellite is and how it helps you make big money with a relatively small bankroll.
What is a poker satellite?
Let's say you want to take part in a tournament offering a 20 LAC Guarantee, but the buy-in is ₹5,500 and you only have a bankroll of ₹20,000. Obviously, it's madness to spend more than a quarter of your entire bankroll on just one tournament so, even though you’d love to take part, you decide to sit this one out.
You then notice a tournament for ₹275, which, instead of offering cash as the prize, offers a seat to the 20 LAC tourney. To get a seat to the bigger tournament, all you have to do is win (haha)!
This qualifying tournament that offers you a chance to the bigger tournament at a discounted price, is called the satellite tournament or satty, for short.
Now, you might be asking yourself: "Why should I spend money for shot at a ticket when I can just play a smaller tournament with cash prizes?"
If you're skeptical about the chance of winning through sattys, then you're a smart poker player. The average player's chance of winning a satty are 1-in-12, but there are many ways you can improve those odds. At the end of the day, satellites offer immense returns on you investment, so making them a part of your game is definitely worth your while.
Looking for tips on how to make the most of sattys? Read on for some essential nuggets of wisdom:
Play multi-seat satellites
PokerBaazi regularly offers 2, 5 and 10 seat sattys to its various mega-events. When more seats are on offer, then your chances of winning a ticket are exponentially higher.
It's important to remember that in such sattys, everyone who places is an equal winner. That means that coming 10th in a 10-seat satty offers more value than if you placed 10th in a low-stakes tourney with a similar buy-in.
If you see such opportunities that are within your bankroll limit, then it might be in your interest to give it a shot.
Play sattys for tournaments you are already going to enter
This may seem counter-intuitive, but it's actually one of the principles of good bankroll management. If you know you have the bankroll to play the 20 LAC GTD, then it's worth trying to get into the same tournament at a cheaper price.
Since it’s already within your budget, you are basically risking a fraction of your bankroll to earn exponential rewards. As you are already planning to enter this tournament, you're also likely to be more focused when playing.
Play against softer fields
Sattys offer recreational players a chance to play in the big league with the pros. This means that satty fields, as a general rule of thumb, are softer than the fields for regular tournaments. Players tend to have very clear play-styles and weaknesses that are easy to exploit in the different stages of the game.
While most tournaments have either a hyper or turbo structure which force shove-or-fold play, smart players can take advantage of the many openings that appear to build a stack and coast through the bubble.
Play to survive
As mentioned earlier, all satellite winners are equal. If you have a comfortable chip stack and are likely to make it through the bubble with others busting before you, then even pocket Aces are a candidate for a fold (yes, you read that right). With blinds going up fast, aggressive play early can give you the lead over surprised opponents, and keep you in the game till the end. Once the late game kicks in, the idea is to outlast the field and make it through the bubble, so tighten up!
Satellites do come with a lot of variance, but when made proper use of, they are a powerful way to make it to the poker big league. Start adding them to your game and go for the massive win!