The PokerStars Player’s Championships is back from August 20 th -24 th in sunny Barcelona. Winning your seat at this prestigious event has never been easier or cheaper with the Mega Path Step program. The journey looks like this.
- Step 1 – Stars Coin or Chest Reward Spin and Go. Winner gets a Step 2 ticket.
- Step 2 – A $2.00 buy-in 27 player three-handed turbo sit and go with a top prize of entry into step 3.
- Step 3 – A $50.00 turbo deep MTT that runs on Sundays and offers a guaranteed 15 tickets to Step 4.
- Step 4 – A $1000 regular MTT qualifier to win your Platinum Pass to the PSPC. Here are some strategic tips for battling your way through each step of the process.
Step 1 – Spin and Go
You can get yourself on the road to glory either by finding one of these tickets in a rewards chest, or by purchasing on with your Stars Coins.
Spin and Gos are all about small button raises; wide blind defence; and shallow- stacked post-flop play. For players who are used to playing deeper than the starting 25BB stack of the spin and go, it is crucial to adjust your rules about which hands are strong enough to stack off with. For example, top pair in a single raised pot becomes an extremely strong hand with which it is often mandatory to raise a continuation bet and get your stack in. The blinds ramp up very quickly in these events so make sure that you stay alive by opening a wide range. Since stacks are short, players will be open-raising smaller, which boosts your pot odds in the big blind. Defending the big blind wide and learning how to deal with continuation bets is a vital skill to master. The successful spin and go player must be comfortable calling some dubious looking hands pre-flop in the big blind.
Step 2 – $2.00 Hyper Turbo 3x Shootout
The structure of these events is fast and frantic. There is absolutely no time to hang around as beating 26 other players is the only way to progress to Step 3. In the early stages, stealing blinds to survive is key as each player only begins with 10 big blinds. Shove a wide range on the button and small blind and be prepared to call off aggressively against players who are aware of the urgency to invest. An early double up is key to success so do not be afraid to take risks. Against passive opponents, it might also be possible to develop a limping range. The benefit of this is striking a compromise between making a very large risky shove and having to min-raise and then fold, which is very undesirable.
To score your ticket to Step 3, you are going to need to amass a lot of chips early on so do not be afraid to gamble. Playing a survival strategy in these events is a very sure way to bust empty handed.
When stacks start to get a bit deeper due to the first 10-15 players being eliminated you might have room for a little more post-flop action and could consider developing a min-raising strategy pre-flop provided that the effective stack is more than 14-15 big blinds.
Step 3 – $50.00 Turbo Deep Satellite
This is an event with far more play. Your knowledge of deep stacked play is going to come in handy. Players who are versed in cash games will prosper here as the 100BB+ play there is very good preparation for this stage of the journey. Early on look to get involved with some strong implied odds hands such as 22-66 and good suited connectors. The chance to win big pots for a cheap investment before the blinds have shot up is well worth pursuing.
Position also goes up in importance with stacks being deeper so be sure to play a wider range from late position and be prepared to call more 3-bets than normal in position with hands that play well with deeper stacks such as suited broadways, suited aces, and connectors. An example of a hand that goes down in value when stacks get deeper would be AQo. This hand can normally defend vs. 3-bets if the 3-bettor is not too tight, but when stacks get deeper, you might want to swap this sort of holding out for something with a bit more nut making potential.
Winning is not a concept that makes sense in a satellite – instead, surviving is the key. It is true that you need to accumulate enough chips to last the distance, but once you approach the last fifteen players where the Step 4 tickets reside, it’s time to enter super-tight mode as long as you have enough chips to out last the others. If you’re short stacked, however, then you’ll need to take risks in order to stay healthy. With a massive stack on the bubble, it is correct to fold AA pre-flop, for example, when 3-betting or 4-betting risks a huge proportion of your chips. With a short stack, it might be correct to shove 99 in the very same spot. Ability to outlast is everything in a satellite so do not jeopardise your huge stack for the sake of accumulating extra chips that you do not need.
Step 4 – $1000 Qualifier to the PSPC
This event has a more regular structure and stack-size that most players will be more accustomed to. There will be a lot of nerves in this tournament as players have come so far and so much is now at stake. This is something you can use to your advantage. In events with scared fields it becomes more correct to steal and 3-bet lighter pre-flop to accumulate chips and to run bigger bluffs than normal. These plays might feel dicey given your own anxiety about busting, but you will need to beat a large field size to get a ticket. You simply must be the aggressive one, no matter how risky that might feel.
Like Step 3, this tournament is also a satellite and there may be multiple tickets up for grabs depending on field size. One seat is awarded per $30,000 in the prize pool. Again, the goal here is to assess your ability to make it into the top places. Nearing the bubble, again the goal is to take necessary risks with a short stack. With the medium stack, you should only take the most favourable risks and look to build your stack by stealing from those who cannot afford to defend their blinds with frequent cheap stealing. With the big stack, you should stay out of harms way but use frequent aggression to bully the medium stacks who have much more to lose by playing a sizable pot. Being the big stack does not entail going into your shell but rather, using your leverage to increase your chips in a slow and steady way instead of taking major risks against those who can hurt you.
The successful qualifiers will no doubt be versatile players, capable of adjusting their game to suit the ever-changing situation of the Mega Path. Good luck on your quest!
February 2-16, the PokerStars Bounty Builder Series returns, find out how if you have a chance to win a ticket.
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