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Strategy for satellites with multiple tickets

If you want to play a tournament with a buy-in that is higher than you can afford to pay out of pocket, then playing satellites is the way to go. But you need to look for satellites that actually gives you a chance of winning a seat. Competing against 500 or more players for one seat at the big event is a very, very long shot, so unless your bankroll is extremely small or you have a lot of time on your hand those tourneys make very little sense.

The kind of satellite tournament you should be searching for would have a buy-in of no less that 5% of the main event buy-in, meaning that at least one player in 20 will win a ticket. With a structure like that, a buy-in of $25 for the satellite can win you a seat in a $500 event. In this example, if there were 200 players playing the satellite, then 10 seats would be given - maybe even more, if there were an option to rebuy or add on chips.

Very often, the poker website will give a guarantee as to how many tickets can be won, sometimes as many as ten tickets. In this case, you could sometimes end up competing with only 100 players for ten seats, while the buy-in could be $50 for a $1000 main events - this is a clear advantage, since the online poker room has to add money to pay for the 10 tickets (they would need $10.000 to break even, but 100 x $50 equals $5.000 only!)

How to play multi-ticket satellites

The correct strategy for those tournaments would be to play even tighter than normal. While in a normal tournament you would try to build your chipstack early on if you want to make the final table with a decent shot at first place, here it does not matter how many chips you have when the bubble bursts. Place 1 to 10 get the same payout - namely a seat at the main event.

As a goal, try this: keep your chipstack level with the average chipcount, and you will never be in any trouble. Avoid difficult situations involving more than 25% of your stack.

There is one situation where you should loosen up a little, and that is just before the bubble bursts. For example: There are 13 players left, with 10 tickets to be won. You have an above average chipstack. Now you should be looking at your opponent's chipstacks more than your own hand - anyone with a chipstack lower than your own is a potential target. Play those guys aggressively, because at this point of the game, they will not want to risk their entire stack in one hand, unless they have a monster. 3-bets and pushes will work surprisingly often now, especially against players who have shown that they will raise with a wide range of hands, which means they try to steal often with cards like QTo etc.