Check out this hand I played well and then let's talk about satellites




It is not often I get to fold kings pre-flop, let alone with 5 big blinds  Basically there are 34 players left in a turbo SCOOP FPP satellite and 31 progress to the next round. Although I have a small stack there are several players who will be forced all in when they are next on the big blind. That and the fact that these players aren't adjusting to the satellite bubble well and I am confident we can fold our way into the next round ... which I did.


You have probably heard the advice that satellites are about surviving not winning. If 31 players all get the same prize I just need to make it further than the guy who finishes 32nd. But what does this really mean. There is some mediocre and poor advice out there, what follows is just a little advice on the basis of at least 10 successful satellites to live tourneys that were certainly out of my bankroll - meaning high pressure bubbles - and countless sats into high buy in online tourneys.


1. Even if say 20% of players are going to 'win' the satellite the early stages play like any other tourney - your tourney life is valuable in a sat and any MTT, but you need to accumulate chips to survive and have a shot at winning either type of tournament.


2. If you gain a big stack early in a satellite use it wisely, mainly by not using it for anything fancy. In a regular MTT if I get a big stack I want to accumulate more chips because I am greedy and eventually I want all the chips. In a satellite though I am more than happy to maintain a healthy stack, so far less bluffing pre or desire to be the table captain.


3. One adjustment you can make when the bubble is still a distance away is to ensure you are tight and aggressive with a bigger stack, with the added caveat that you want to be uber positionally aware. So tighter from early position and more stealing from late positions, we want control of the pots that we enter and we want to try and maintain a decent stack rather than try and flop the world in a multi way pot.


4. Bubble on the horizon! When bubble play starts varies between satellites. Sometimes it comes along without much change in play. Sometimes you can tell short stacks are stalling some distance from the bubble. It will be this stalling and a noticeable decline in the rate of bust outs that tells you it is bubble time. You have to be aware of when others are adapting and adapt yourself.


4a Big stack on the bubble. If I am top ten in chips and there are 100 seats awarded with 110 left then I can essentially put my feet up. Some players will even sit out, although I do not recommend this. You may find a spot where a tiny stack shoves and losing this pot will not make much difference to your survival chances but your eg AJ is likely ahead of what he is shoving and you can help everyone get closer to the promised land. Here I am folding something like  if someone has shoved a decent proportion (even a third) of my stack ahead of me. There is no need to take the risk.


4b Medium stack on the bubble. I have made the mistake a couple of times of assuming that a reasonable stack close to the bubble was enough to see me fold my way to success. Only to find myself very short with a few players to go half an hour later. If I cannot put my feet up yet then I am going to be using my fold equity that I still have to shove decent hands from late position versus stacks behind that do not have any reason to risk their tournament life, normally other medium stacks (large stacks might be able to afford calling off and short stacks might think they need one more double). In higher buy in sats there are a lot of medium sized stacks shoving or reshoving, just knowing that it is often a mistake for their opponent to call with any cards. However, if it is a cheap sat with players who are not adjusting I am probably keeping my head down and stalling a bit, just waiting for others to make mistakes.


4c Short stack near the bubble. It happens, but again there are some differences between when you are short and only a few spots from the bubble and when you are short and some distance. Calling off your short stack is generally bad without a very good hand. Assuming we have some fold equity we want to be shoving and picking up blinds and antes as a few of these uncontested can normally make the difference between feeling like we are the walking dead and having some breathing room. Again good to target the medium stacks that just want to preserve. When you as a short stack have been stalling and folding a lot, your shove of 6bb is likely going to look quite strong! If we think we need a double up (normally when down to a few big blinds), then other shorties and big stacks are the only stacks I would want to consider calling with anything bar top of range. Some big stacks are mean and shove versus us as a small stack, if we think we are unlikely to survive then taking our chances with a good hand seems sensible.



5. Stalling near the bubble is so annoying, but if others are doing it then so am I, until poker sites can work out a way of stopping it then why not use the time on each hand to preserve a stack. When it goes hand for hand and there is no reason to stall you have my permission to berate those who still are stalling!


Hopefully that helps a few people, I will be playing a few more sats than normal given it is SCOOP time and I am sure others will too. Good luck!