When I was asked if I could write an article about playing online satellites to live events, my first thought was, why? The strategies involved that are specific to a satellite are the same regardless of whether the target event is an online tournament or a live one. So, having won online satellites to the WSOP Main Event, and the LSOP Millions before, I thought about what I might share from my personal experience. While the actual gameplay of the satellite is no different from any other satellites, there are some things to be considered in terms of the logistics before you embark on your satellite quest towards a live event.
Many of you will also be familiar with the story of PokerStars School member John ‘MacDaddy19830’ McCarthy won the trip of a lifetime to the PSPC in the Bahamas via an online qualifier. If you’d like to read how he got on you can do so here. Now let’s look at some of the things to consider…
Can you travel on the necessary dates?
This should be obvious, but people fail to consider it. Unlike an online target event, which is typically a less than a one day affair from the comfort of your home, larger live events usually run for several days and will require you to travel to the venue. Are you physically able to make the trip? Can you take these dates off from work or school? Make arrangements for your children or pets to be cared for? If the dates are prohibitive, or there are other obstacles in the way, that might not be the right satellite to invest your time and money in.
Are you prepared to travel?
If you are traveling across borders, is your passport valid and in order? Is there anything else you might need, documents wise, to be able to make the trip?
When must you be there?
Many large buy-in live events have multiple day-1 flights to accommodate the larger fields they will attract. In some cases, you’ll be afforded the choice of what flight you want to play, while in others you may not have a choice. This speaks to the first point, can you travel on the necessary dates, in terms of being clear on what those dates actually are and if you have any flexibility in the starting date.
Do you agree to the terms?
“What terms, what does he mean?” I hear you saying. I, like many others, often do a poor job of reviewing the T&C’s (terms and conditions) of a promotion. I would encourage you to take the time to read the T&C’s of the promotion before entering the satellite, however, and make sure you’re ok agreeing to them, because by playing you will be doing so.
Some things to look for include:
Is the prize or package transferrable?
Sometimes they are, which would enable you to sell the package at a modest discount if you couldn’t play the target event. Others are not if you don’t use the package yourself, you forfeit the prize.
Are you required to comply with any special rules?
A common example would be that you wear a hat or patch from the sponsoring site, you submit to interviews if asked, the use of our likeness, etc. You will probably also be prohibited from wearing anything that might advertise a competing vendor. Are you agreeing to the use of your image, the right to have it televised, webcast, recorded, or photographed? Are there any other restrictions on what you can wear or do during the event?
These are all fairly common and standard types of terms, and there are others that vary from promotion to promotion. While they may not be an issue for most players, it’s always wise to go into the game with your eyes open and know what you’re signing on for.
By being prepared and knowing what to expect, you’ll be better positioned to focus on your satellite to the live event you wish to play in, and be ready to enjoy the full experience of the prize package you win without any surprises or problems along the way.