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Tony Dunst, the reigning World Poker Tour Caribbean champion, knows a thing or two about qualifying for major live poker events, and here he shares a couple of handy hints to help you qualify for the upcoming WPT National UK Newcastle Main Event.

The cheapest way to gain entry into a World Poker Tour live event is through winning a satellite. Currently, there are two places you can play satellites for live WPT events: partypoker and the casino running the event. Although there are obvious differences to these two formats, both have one thing in common: satellites are often winner-take-all, requiring you modify your usual strategy.

Let’s discuss how to alter your strategy for each format separately.

Online satellites at partypoker

The satellites on partypoker are ‘packages’, which combine a buy-in to the tournament, a hotel stay during the event, and money for flights and travel costs. There are also some satellites pay out a seat only.

Online there are tiers of satellites. You can play much smaller tournaments to gain entry into the package qualifier such as the WPT National Newcastle package and its $50 buy-in. You can start these steps for as little as $1 the daily, or buy into the $2, $5, $10 or $20 tier of qualifier, the latter usually awards a seat only.

The $50 satellite awards one package per 16 entries and typically awards one package with the runner-up cashing in on any remaining money, although it is not uncommon for multiple packages to be awarded due to increased popularity. Most of the tournament carries on as usual, but winner-take-all formats change the end-game strategy.

It pays, in many poker tournaments, to be somewhat risk-averse at the final table, especially when there are short-stacks that might soon bust. But since satellites pay 100% (or nearly 100%) to the winner, it’s important to pursue any situation that will win you chips in the long-term. Even if it increases the likelihood of busting, taking more risks is beneficial as it’s necessary to accumulate every chip on the table.

The strategy, however, changes again if the satellite pays multiple packages. You can play a more aggressive style, attempting to accumulate chips through the early and middle stages. But unless you have a massive stack and no opposition, you should err on the side of caution when approaching the bubble. Folding 100% of hands pre-flop, in some situations, is the best move as there is no benefit in risking any of your chips.

As you can see in this short video, some of our recent partypoker qualifiers won their WPT seats for tiny outlays.

Live tournaments at the casino

The type strategy you should use at a casino depends on whether you’re playing a mega-satellite, where many players compete for multiple seats, or a sit-and-go, where players at one table compete for one seat.

Approach the mega-satellite format the same way you would an online satellite paying multiple seats. Your goal, through the early and middle rounds, is to deplete weak players’ chips, even gambling cautiously to accumulate a big stack. When the bubble approaches, however, be extremely weary of raising pre-flop. Most of your strategy will be pre-flop min raises, or pre-flop all-ins.

You’re back in the world of winner-take-all when it comes to the sit-and-go format. You should be willing to gamble at every stage, even if it requires risking your large stack against the chip-leader’s stack. Call raises comfortably and play post-flop during the late levels. If you fancy yourself the most skilful player on the table, your top priority will be raising and playing post-flop during the latter stages.

However, if you’re the least skilful player on the table, try your utmost get the money in pre-flop, avoiding the post-flop play. Deal-making is another factor to consider at casinos: splitting the prize-pool is common in sit-and-go satellites, some players being more aggressive when it comes to deal-making. Don’t rely on your opponents willingness to make a deal and but don’t fear offering it, if you feel confident, either.

What are your satellite tournament tips? Feel free to share them with your fellow partypoker players in the comments box below.

More WPT Satellite Tips

If you want to learn more about satellite tournament strategy or pick up some more helpful hints then head to our Tips For Qualifying For WPT National UK article and your needs will be fulfilled!

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