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Did you set yourself any New Year resolutions when the clock struck midnight on January 1? Was one of those resolutions to play in a World Poker Tour event? If so, you’re in luck because the WPT National UK returns to Aspers in February and partypoker is running a whole host of satellite tournaments into it.

What Are Satellite Tournaments?

Satellite tournaments are a superb way to play in a major live event for a fraction of the cost. While satellites play much like a standard multi-table tournament, there is a major difference in that the winners don’t usually walk away with a cash prize, instead they win a seat into the target tournament.

For example, the WPT National UK Main Event in London has three starting days, each costing £200 to enter, but you can win your way to one of those £200 seats for as little as $1. Can you imagine sitting there at Aspers casino in Stratford, riffling chips and playing for a WPT title after spending only $1 getting there. It’s the thing dreams are made of.

How Should You Play Satellite Tournaments?

At the recent WPT500 UK and the WPT UK Main Event in Nottingham, we caught up with some of the lucky souls who had qualified for the events via partypoker and asked them for their best tips for qualifying for a WPT event online.

Any More Satellite Tournament Tips?

Of course we have more tips for players wanting to try satellite tournaments. Here are five satellite tournament tips just for you.

1.) Survival Is Key

Unlike in a standard cash tournament where you should be trying to constantly accumulate chips, the aim of the game in a satellite tournament is survival. This is because if a satellite pays out five seats to an event, finishing in first place has the same prize as finishing fifth so there is no extra reward for coming first.

Also, as long as you have a single chip in your stack when the prizes are awarded you win one!

2.) One Prize = Aggressive Poker

If there is only one prize up for grabs, a winner-takes-all if you will, you need to forget about our first tip and go hell for leather to try and win. With no prizes outside the top position, the tournament is no longer about survival, it is about pulling out all of the stops and going for the win.

3.) Keep An Eye On The Prizes

When you first sit down in a satellite tournament you should work out what the average chip stack will be when the prizes are awarded. You can do this by taking the number of chips in play and dividing them by the number of prizes available.

For example, there are 50 players in a satellite tournament each starting with 3,000 chips. This means there are 150,000 chips in play. Three seats to WPT National UK are the prizes so dividing 150,000 by three you get 50,000. This is the size of the average stack when the prizes are distributed.

Look out for players who are way over average stack as the prizes draw near because they could start playing aggressively and use their big stacks to bully you and others. The best stack size to attack is one that is around average because these players are more likely to try and fold their way to the prizes, which gives you plenty of opportunities to chip up by raising or re-raising them.

4.) Be Prepared to Make Big Folds

It is in a satellite where it is sometimes correct to fold pocket aces preflop, yes that is true and not something we have just made up for laughs! Aces are usually an 80% favourite over any other hand, but if you’re almost guaranteed to lock up a seat – say if there is a player with a tiny stack who is likely to bust in the next hand or two – it can be correct to fold a very strong hand preflop and fold your way to the prizes.

5.) Hand Ranges Are Usually Tighter

Those of you who regularly head over to our how to play section should be well-versed in poker hand ranges and other such nuances of the game of poker. Be aware that players tend to have tighter ranges in satellites, a fact that is especially true near the money bubble. If a player with an average sized (or thereabouts) begins three-betting or four-betting you or even moves all-in you can bet your bottom dollar that they are the top of their range and have a monster of a hand.

What are your tips for online satellite tournaments? We’d love to hear them. Feel free to share them in the comments box below and we hope to see you in London for the first WPT National UK of 2015.

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