How to Win Super Satellite Tournaments

A satellite tournament is considered a "super satellite" if there are over 500 players in the field, and about 15% of the field receives entry to the bigger tournament. Super satellites are often an easy way to qualify for a big poker tournament, because the player field is less skilled than most tournaments' fields.

How to Advance

As soon as you enter a super satellite tournament, you should be calculating how many chips you need to obtain to cruise into the top 15% of the field. If you can get a big stack early on, you should have an easy time making the money. Remember that you don't have to play for the win, because the super satellite tournament is technically over as soon as the bubble bursts. In most super satellites you only need to obtain a stack about 6-8x larger than your initial starting stack to cruise into the money and advance to the next tournament.

Start of the Super Satellite

You should play the start of the super satellite with a tight-aggressive strategy, with the hopes of doubling up fairly early on in the tournament. Wait for premium hands like big pocket pairs, AK, or AQ, and make a large preflop raise (4-5x the big blind should do). You never want to slow play a major hand at the start of a tournament, because other players will get to see a cheap flop and probably will end up busting you. You want to see a flop with one other player, and hopefully get all-in if you flop is safe.

Another good way to double up is by seeing cheap flops with suited connectors, small pairs, and connected face cards where you can try to hit a huge hand or even make the nuts on the flop. Make sure you know what your goal is with these hands though - if you don't hit a huge flop, simply fold.

In the early stages of the satellite you shouldn't bother stealing blinds simply because the blinds are so small in relation to the average stack size - wait until later for that.

The Middle of the Super Satellite Until the Money

We consider the "middle" of the super satellite to be when about half of the field has been eliminated. Now it is time to evaluate your stack and see if you have enough chips to cruise to the money, if you are an average stack that needs to win a few pots, or if you are a short stack fighting for survival.

Big Stack

If you have a big stack, take it easy and tighten up. You can cruise into the money by folding most of your hands, and raising when you have a big hand. Don't get into any trouble though - if someone attempts to push you around and you have a mediocre hand like TT or AJ, go ahead and fold. Enjoy the next tournament.

Short Stack

If you are a short stack, it is time to take advantage of the big stacks' tight play. Your goal is like everyone else's which is to acquire enough chips to make the money. As the blinds begin to increase, it will become necessary for you to make all-in plays from the button as well as the small blind in order to accumulate chips.

A small stack player cannot just sit back in the hopes of making the money as the blinds will just become too over bearing causing their stack to diminish quickly. Many players will be trying to just sit back and make the money which is why playing aggressive is very easy and will allow you to not be in a situation where you need to stall or get blinded out right before the money. Pound the blinds and antes to pad your stack.

Mid Stack

A mid stack player should also be making plays like the small stack, but they should not be risking too many of their chips with hands like AJ, KJ, and other face card hands. Instead try to double up with big hands against other medium sized stacks. If you can get your money in preflop with a big pair or AK, go ahead and do so.

The key to super satellites is knowing everyone's chip stacks, and using that info to your advantage. Your stack is very important and knowing how many chips you need to money is a must. Do not risk too many chips after you reach that given amount and maintain your status at the table.

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