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The recent news of tournament dollars returning to partypoker from October 27th has caused a stir in the online poker community with the vast majority believing this is another step in the right direction.

One player who is from the school of thought that tournament dollars are a good thing is Barry Carter, the editor of and co-author of The Mental Game of Poker I and II, plus the recently launched Poker Satellite Strategy.

Carter was so happy about T$ returning that he moved his bankroll to partypoker. After turning a $5.50 satellite ticket into a $530 ticker for a High Roller Bounty Hunter tournament on October 20th, Carter managed to navigate his way to a second-place finish worth a combined $14,481.24, which is an incredible return on his investment.

It is fair to say Carter knows a thing or two about poker satellites, so we were delighted when he said he’d write a guest blog about the return of tournament dollars. Check it out below.

Barry Carter’s Thoughts on T$

T$ strategy is covered in the book Barry Carter co-wrote

Last week Rob Yong announced partypoker would be returning to the T$ system for satellites, much to the delight of a lot of satellite grinders. The best way to award satellite winners has been a long-running debate among operators and there is no clear cut answer to what to do.

Many operators now employ a ‘must play’ system whereby the person who wins a satellite is forced into playing the target event and is unable to unregister, convert the seat to cash or use it for another similar event. This system is good because it largely makes the satellites themselves softer (we will explore why shortly) and it guarantees numbers for the target event. In an ideal world, this would be the only system, but the reality is that ‘must play’ often results in smaller fields for the satellites themselves. They struggle to get started and as such the number of guaranteed seats is much lower.

partypoker have been experimenting with the ticket system for a while, which I quite liked, whereby you win a ticket to a specific buy-in MTT and are forced to play a tournament of that buy-in level, but you can choose which one. So if you win a $109 ticket you can play any $109 event in the partypoker schedule. This was a reasonable mix of the ‘must play’ system and the T$ system we are about to look at.

Returning to the T$ system is a risk for partypoker (Rob Yong said as much himself) but there are a lot of benefits to it. It will be structured just like the ticket system where you are playing for specific amounts, say $109 in T$. The difference is that when you win that $109 in T$ you can use it for a $109 event, or you can use it for three $33 events with a bit left over, or you can put it towards a $215 event and make the rest up with regular cash. T$ work exactly like cash, you just have to use it for tournaments. Because the T$ system is so flexible it also means the guarantees will be much better than ‘must play’ satellites.

“I’m Very Biased About This System”

I am very biased about this system, I think ‘must play’ might be the best long term system for an operator but if you are a fan of satellites, T$ is the best by a mile. I am biased because I am the co-author of Poker Satellite Strategy, a new book on beating this profitable, counter-intuitive and misunderstood format. Back when T$ were the common form of satellite currency on all sites, I did quite well building my bankroll with T$ and my co-author Dara O’Kearney became widely regarded as the best satellite player in the world playing T$ games.

At some point you have to use T$ for regular tournaments, but what they allow satellite grinders to do is reinvest their winnings back into satellites, including the same buy-in level they just played. So if you are particularly good at satellites, you can spend more time playing them. The reintroduction of T$ has literally meant I will be playing more on partypoker for this very reason.

But before you rush into T$ games thinking they will be a piece of cake, you need to know what to expect and how they differ from other satellites. In Poker Satellite Strategy we outline the complete strategy needed to beat satellites and game selection is surprisingly a huge element.

If you are good at satellites, you should be playing in the T$ games, because they give you a chance to play more of them at your own pace without being forced to play the target event. However, it is important to note that T$ games will feature a lot more grinders who have the same attitude. They will attract plenty of recreational players too (more than most games still, this is why satellites are profitable) but compared to ‘must play’ satellites and normal MTTs you will see the same screen names a lot of the time.

So ‘must play’ satellites will be softer and maybe the biggest single adjustment you should make in T$ games is to make more notes on your opponents. Tag the players who look happy to fold their way to the money as well as the ones who are calling way too wide for a satellite. In a game with more regs in than usual, the key is adapting better to them than they do to you.

Unexploitable Shoves

Barry turned a $5 satellite into a $14.5K score online at partypoker

In satellites, there are often times where you can make unexploitable shoves with 100% of your range on or near the bubble. This is because when an opponent has a seat locked up they should often be folding 100% of their range, even Pocket Aces. It is much easier to make these moves with confidence when you know you are against a satellite regular than if you are against a complete unknown in a ‘must play’ satellites. This is not to say that this makes T$ satellites easier, it doesn’t, you still win more per satellite playing against a weaker field, but one advantage is you often know exactly what the good opponents are likely to do in late game spots. We explore GTO in great detail in Poker Satellite Strategy and there is often a very clear ‘correct’ way to play in these all-or-nothing bubble scenarios.

T$ satellites will be slightly tougher than ticket satellites, which are slightly tougher than ‘must play’ satellites, but make no mistake, satellites remain the softest form of tournament poker. Even very good players make massive mistakes in them because they don’t know how to adjust their ranges. So if you are good at satellites, the flexibility of the T$ system will more than make up for the fact that a few more regs will be joining the party.

Barry Carter is the editor of and the co-author of Poker Satellite Strategy.

Win a Copy of the Poker Satellite Strategy Book

We have five electronic copies of Barry Carter and Dara O’Kearney’s excellent book, Poker Satellite Strategy, for Apple Books. All you need to do to be in the running for winning one is to take a screenshot of you playing in a partypoker MILLION, MILLIONS Online, or Caribbean Poker Party satellite online at partypoker at tweet it to us on Twitter and we’ll put all entries into a random draw. The draw will be made at around 19:00 CET on Friday 25th October. Good luck!

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