M0NGY plays pokerHI, I am M0NGY, if you play MTTs on PartyPoker over the last couple of years then it is quite likely we have played together. I play any highstakes and midstakes MTTs.

PartyPoker also offers a lot of different satellites, these range from the very low stakes sub sub qualifiers all the way up to 5-10% of the field directly satt’ing into massive live events such as the World Series of Poker.

Every year I go to a few different events and inevitably I meet someone who has qualified for something silly like $1.

Personally I will play the 1in10 sats to the larger buy in ‘direct sats’, if the tournament is say $750 then I will play $80 sat, or for the Spring Million I will try to play the $70 sats.

The reason is not always to try to get in for cheap though, there’s more to it than that. Sats are a whole different animal to regular MTTs.

I would like to go through some tips about multi seat satellites that I feel have benefited me over time to help tweak my game to become more profitable.

  1. You don’t need all the chips
  2. Showdowns=Variance
  3. You are not the only one wanting to fold
  4. ICM FTW
  5. Practice makes Perfect

1. You don’t need all the chips

Firstly you are not there to win it. In a regular MTT it is all about accumulating as many chips as possible as soon as possible to try to win the tournament. In a sat with 6 seats you are only trying to get into the last 6, if you get to that magic last 6 then it doesn’t matter if you have 90% of chips or just one chip, you end up with the same prize. The aim is to get to about 1/6th of the chips in play then to sustain rather than accumulate.

2. Showdowns=Variance

Secondly is survival. It’s not very often you get to the situation where you can just sit around and fold to the gold, which means you are going to have to play hands. Generally the best way to play these multi seat satellites is small ball poker, i.e. just trying to steal the blinds, or by exercising pot control to keep pots small. By not risking too many chips in one hand stops you from accidentally undoing all of the hard work that you have already done.

3. You are not the only one wanting to fold

On the other hand though you aren’t the only one there wanting to fold. Often the chip leader will take a relaxed approach around the bubble, opting to fold even very big pre flop holdings rather than jeopardize their stack.

This means that if you aren’t yet at a point where you are comfortable with your stack (I aim for what the average stack directly after the bubble bursting to be comfortable) then there are great opportunities to be had. The bigger the satellite the bigger the nerves around the bubble, this means people tend to play a lot tighter which enables you to open up your ranges a little more.

4. ICM FTW

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If you haven’t come across ICM than I would definitely recommend spending some time on Google looking for articles, as it will vastly improve your game once you have learnt how it works, and more importantly how to use it to your advantage.

It is the age-old question, is it ever correct to fold aces preflop? The answer is of course yes, and satellites are the most commonly used situation to apply this theory. Lets take for example a satellite with 5 seats available and 6 people remaining, you have 30 big blinds, along with one other with 40bbs, the other 4 have around 5bbs each.

The player with 40bbs moves allin under the gun and you have red aces second to act, what do you do? It seems like an auto call to some people ‘well I have the best hand, how can I fold?’, but when you consider the situation, if you were to call with the aces you are putting yourself at risk unnecessarily.

The correct play is to fold and see what happens. This is due to the 4 players being very short, it is more likely that one of them will go out in the next couple of orbits than your aces holding up against the other big stack. The most profitable play is to fold.

5. Practice makes perfect

The best part about sub qualifiers is the practice. It’s hard to just buyin to your first sat and win seats. Very often around the bubble it takes a lot of finesse to play each hand correctly.

Personally I try to play sats all year round. In the modern game it is a great way of getting to play big live tournaments, keeping practiced at them is going to give you a potentially winning edge over less experienced players at final table.

So what about me? I tend to play the $70 Spring Million sats every night, trying to win multiple seats to get the tournament $’s. I was lucky enough to win several seats before the last Monthly Million, the first of which you are required to play (not a problem as if I wasn’t to win a seat then I would have played the tournament regardless) and any further seats will be credited in tournaments dollars to your account.

The last MM I managed a result that I have desired for a little while, I got to the last four people upon where we agreed on a deal. As second in chips I took $106,000, not bad from a $70 investment!

To follow it up the next Sunday I got to the last three in a $750 sat to the WSOP along with two other talented regulars where we each received a $14,000 package. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, but one thing I know is the practice that I have put in over however long has helped me feel more and more confident in the crunch situations.

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