Many talented poker players are facing the problem of lacking a substantial bankroll, meaning they are forced to play small stakes, far away from the opportunity of a life changing result. The common mantra is that you should build up slowly, take care of your bankroll and aim to get to higher stakes this way. Unfortunately though, recreational and semi-recreational players will never have enough time to climb this ladder step-by-step. Here are some alternative routes they can take...
One of poker's most appealingc features is that you can potentially win a lot of money in a short space of time. You will likely be familiar with stories where a low stakes player gets famous or starts playing the highest stakes because they won one big tournament.
Opportunities like this are what give us all hope and, for some, keep us playing. Knowledge, self-awareness, a positive outlook and simply just keeping going are all important, but maybe you don't have to be one of the very best in the world to achieve big success at poker. Let's look at the opportunities!
The Sunday majors
Since the first ever Sunday Million in 2006, winning this tournament has been the dream of millions of poker players. The nearly $200k first prize is available for everyone sitting at home playing poker from their couch. You need a good game and lots of luck but, browsing the results you'll see that amateur players have won the top prize many, many times.
Those who find it expensive can try out smaller Sunday tournaments with a similarly large field, such as the Bigger $11, Bigger $55, Mini Sunday Million or the popular Sunday Storm, my personal favorite. The Sunday Storm is available for almost everyone as the buy-in is just $11. Because of this, the field is juicy and full of weaker players, so with a good run you can build up a healthy stack as you approach the cash places.
Live tournaments probably offer the biggest break-out opportunities. The downside is that live events typically have more expensive buy-ins than online tournaments, which results in fat prize pools. Placing anywhere in the top 5 can give your bankroll a tremendous kickstart.
Another piece of good news is that there aren't as many entrants in live tournaments as you will find on PokerStars, where 5,000-20,000 player fields are not uncommon. In general we can say that the higher buy-in online tournaments, like Super Tuesday or the WCOOP events, have a strong field while live tournaments with the same entry fee are traditionally pretty soft with less professional players. You also can't forget to mention that these live tournaments are usually hosted in attractive places that help soothe your woes after a brutal bustout. There's nothing better than playing a large poker tourney and being on holiday at the same time!
The solution: Satellites
Happily, you don't have to buy-in directly to the events above. PokerStars is constantly offering great satellites to the bigger buy-in tournaments all around the world. Former WSOP champion Chris Moneymaker's case is the timeless example. Moneymaker famously won the WSOP Main Event, and the $2.5m first prize, after qualifying for the $10,000 event by winning an $88 satellite on PokerStars. Or then there is the player who won his PCA Main Event package via a PokerStars freeroll, and went on to win the tournament for over $1m!
If you want to qualify for bigger online tournaments, it's even easier. To all major tournaments you can find direct or steps satellites. The steps system is great, offering you the opportunity to buy-in at the level that suits you and work your way up until you play one final satellite to win a seat in the tournament. With only a few StarsCoin you could get a ticket to the Sunday Million if you are good (and lucky) enough. It wasn't long ago that a recreational Russian player won the $5,300 buy-in WCOOP Main Event after qualifying for it in a steps satellite.
It might be a cliche, but you can only win if you play! Don't just look at the news to see who won the larger tournaments, start playing satellites and take your shot as soon as you can. Good luck!